For individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), excursions are not always easy. In fact, excursions may cause stress and anxiety for everyone involved. However, excursions teach important functional life skills out in the community; such as how to wait patiently at a restaurant, pay for items at a grocery store, and how to remain calm at the dentist or hair salon. These, sometimes stressful, excursions can help individuals with ASD learn to adopt appropriate behaviors and functional skills in a natural environment. Here are some strategies to help make excursions a bit easier and stress-free.
1. Prepare for the Outing
Discuss the excursion ahead of time – provide advice on what to expect before you venture out, and answer any questions about the location or reason for the visit. If you are visiting a place that has an online presence with photos, show your loved one the website so they can visually see what to expect.
2. Redirect Attention
If boredom or restlessness is the issue, try to redirect attention by providing distractions, such as a toy or any object that you know will help to reduce the anxiety. Bring several comfort items such as an iPad, headphones, and a fidget toy to name a few. These are great tools to reduce anxiety and stress during any excursion.
3. Refresh & Reset
One of the best ways to avoid anxiety during your outing is to approach your excursion well rested. Being tired makes everyone feel more anxious, so get enough rest and start out on your excursion early. Give yourself enough time to get where you need to be on time. Make sure that exhaustion is not the underlying factor for your stressful excursion. If lack of sleep is the cause of your stress, take a break and find a safe and quiet place to refresh, reset, and relax.
4. Stay Calm
When stress rears its ugly head, remember to stay calm. Your calm tone of voice and actions will provide a safe zone for you and your loved one. If you remember to remain calm, it may even help to prevent a stressful event from happening.
Eden II Programs help the autism community by providing programs and services combined with lifespan support to improve the quality of life for individuals with ASD and their families. Eden II has the greatest ability to help individuals with ASD reach their highest potential for independent, self-sustained living through high-quality Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services, educational programs, adult day programs, group residential care, family support, respite, and a number of other services. Eden II Programs uses the evidence-based practices of ABA to develop skills, promote independence, and change lives for the better.
For information on Eden II’s programs and services, please visit us online at eden2.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.