Tuesday, May 7, 2013

When Wrapping Helps

Whether or not your child has autism, there may be times that you need to comfort your child without words. Many times a child might become stressed from too much stimulation and may even act out when this occurs. Overstimulation can be very upsetting for both the child as well as others if the stress has pushed the child into a meltdown. When overstimulation occurs, it can help your child if they receive comfort and support while their nervous system recovers and has a chance to balance itself.

Wrapping is just one technique that can help to soothe your child and be a safe way to help your child receive comfort and support without the use of words.

What is wrapping? Wrapping is very similar to swaddling a baby. Wrapping is taking a piece of cloth, such as a blanket or sheet, and covering your child with it. As very young children, most of us drew security and comfort from wrapping up and getting to snuggle in a favorite blanket. As a child grows older, they may still find comfort from being swaddled.

To see if this technique might help to calm your child and soothe their worries and frustration you can start by helping them to sit down and then draping them with the material. As you arrange the clothing over their shoulders, draw them close to you, as you would in a big hug and gently begin to rock back and forth with them. Continue to do so for about 10 minutes or so. While you are rocking them, you can try alternating the pressure of your hugs, or you can even give your child their own pillow or blanket to hold as you hug and rock them in the covering.

Since the idea is to help comfort and soothe your child in a nonverbal manner, you will want to practice this method of helping them to feel safe and secure before they are acting out from having too much stimulation. Try this technique during a quiet time when they are not stressed and if they are not resistant to it, you can then use this technique to let them know that everything is going to be okay when they have simply been through too much. In this way you can help them to feel safe and know that they are loved, without using words.

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