Autism comes with various kinds of symptoms, one of which making strange sounds and noises is familiar but strange to an inexperienced person. It can be frustrating, especially to an inexperienced parent. Nonetheless, you can always learn to take good care of your child who needs your help and support.
If you are willing to learn the sounds an autistic child makes, how to reduce humming in autism, and how to calm a screaming child, keep reading as answers to the following topics have been carefully illustrated.
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Sounds Autistic Child Makes
Autistic children make sounds in various ways, but all forms of sounds they make are influenced by stimming. Clinically known as stereotypy, stimming is a self-stimulatory behavior that involves the repetition of body movements or the movement of objects.
Stimming occurs in five forms;
The stimming that concerns sound-making is called auditory stimming. Auditory stimming is the form of repetition that involves a child’s sensory organs of hearing and sound. This stimming presents itself in different behaviors such as;
- Snapping fingers, blocking and unblocking the ears repeatedly, tapping or drumming fingers on objects.
- Repeating words; lines from movies, song lyrics, or lines from a book.
- Making vocal sounds like deafening shrieks, humming, and even grunting.
Common Sounds Autistic Child Makes
The sounds an autistic child makes are considered humming. Some of the different types of sounds autistic child makes are;
However, this article focuses on the most common sound autistic children make, which is humming.
What is Humming?
Humming is a sound made from the vocal cord without pronouncing any actual words, with which one’s lips are closed. Humming is a form of auditory stimming in which repetitive vocal sounds are made from the vocal cords.
However, humming in autism is just a way of calming oneself internally or in some way self-regulating emotions. Therefore, any sound is repeated directly from the vocal cords to keep calm or maintain emotional stability under stress, anger, fear, or even boredom. This is called buzzing.
Neurotypicals also practice calming behavior, but it only becomes humming when they are beyond what the neurotypical thinks is normal.
Humming is a perfectly normal human behavior amplified to a certain degree that makes it look strange. It is not considered abnormal when a neurotypical enjoy beautiful music and hums to it. Still, when you start repeatedly humming without music playing, it will be regarded as a form of stimming.
How To Reduce Humming in Autism
Before thinking about ways to reduce humming, it’s essential to ask yourself if you might be too sensitive to noise. This is not offensive, and with this knowledge, you can find ways to make your child “melodious” without driving yourself crazy.
Please also note that some children are obsessed with making sounds and distracting themselves from avoiding things such as worrying thoughts. It’s not a big deal, but when they talk about their ideas, please listen and let them know that everything happening in their heads is fine. If they end up with some “condition,” such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or autism, it would be beneficial to understand them and what they said. In other words, you can know and be considerate without worrying.
However, if your child hums so often that she does it unconsciously, even in public, that it becomes so embarrassing, here are some ways to reduce humming in your autistic child.
1. The use of medication
Medication is the number one remedy that often comes to mind in such situations. According to specialists, particular medications for people with autism can help reduce stimming.
Nonetheless, some of these medications come along with side effects. It would be best if you learn the risks and benefits of these medications with your doctors, then reflect on weighing what’s at stake and the advantages before making a choice.
Presently, one cannot thoroughly understand the functionality of these medications, but specialists say that they can influence self-stimulation in the body.
2. Create a transitional developmental and practice
If you are familiar with the type of stressors your child responds to, you can attempt to avoid it if possible or best practice how to cope with such stressors to decrease the risk of stress and anxiety as they cause humming.
Some children are susceptible to crowds and tend to start humming when they find themselves amid so many people. As a parent, you can help by helping them stay away from less crowded areas as possible. Still, more importantly, you must teach them a coping mechanism so they can take care of themselves when they find themselves in similar situations without you by their side.
If you find out that your child may never stop humming, you can try to teach them to hum in a more publicly acceptable manner. For example, you can get your child an MP3 player and teach them to hum after the song in a lower tone. You can get them used to this by practicing it regularly with them but only at places where they feel safe and happy.
Fortunately, there have been exploits in the study of treatments for autistic patients; hence, you are not alone. It would be best to speak to a health specialist to help assess your child and recommend the best way to reduce humming in autism.
3. Behavioral therapy
Some behavior-related treatments (not initially designed for people with autism) may help autistic children stop stimming. A good example is Applied Behavior Analysis. ABA is a strategy with which specialists treat autism as a rewarding system.
Conversing with a health specialist will help determine the most proper treatment method to follow.
4. RIRD method
Fully known as response interruption and redirection, it is a treatment method that involves making a request or other types of interfering factors to counter a persistent interfering behavior and redirect it to give a desirable answer. It aims to reduce repetitiveness, stereotypes, and self-harm behavior.
For example, you can demand from your child a vocal task she does not like. For instance, your child dislikes responding to questions that begin with ‘what’ once she begins to hum. Contrary to avoiding posing ‘what’ questions, throw her a couple of ‘what’ questions to answer. This is going to get her distracted from humming when she tries to answer the questions.
However, note that the best way to reduce humming in autistic children is by helping them develop their skills. When your child has the right social and interactive skills, she tends to depend less on humming as a counteractive coping strategy. However, if your child is going through any form of stigmatization or poses a threat to herself when she is alone, the methods illustrated are great strategies, to begin with.
How To Calm a Screaming Autistic Child During a Meltdown
When an autistic child goes uncontrollable, it is called a meltdown. Even non-autistic children also have meltdowns. Nonetheless, it is usually more complicated in children with autism.
Calming a screaming autistic child can sometimes be tricky, and in some cases, depending on the severity, some kids may need sensory comfort from extra equipment. Thankfully, these types of equipment are sometimes available in public places like schools and community centers. There are also practical and straightforward ways of calm a screaming autistic child.
Causes of a Meltdown
While it is essential to learn how to calm a screaming autistic child, it is also necessary to understand what could cause meltdowns in autistic children to avoid the situation.
1. Emotional stress
Generally, children with autism find it difficult to control their emotions compared to their non-autistic peers. Often, while people believe they are overreacting, they are only trying to express feelings of anxiety, frustration, and even excitement. Sometimes, they are reacting to sensory assaults.
To avoid them melting down due to emotional stress, it is necessary to keep away things or avoid scenarios that can cause them emotional stress. However, autistic children may react differently to emotional stress. Hence it is essential to study your child’s emotions and take care of them accordingly.
Environmental conditions can also influence meltdown in autistic kids. Stressors come in various forms for autistic kids;
- Loud noises
- The smell of things like paint or even food
- Irregularities in daily routines
Fortunately, these stressors can be predicted, planned, discussed, avoided, and even practiced. However, a stressor that may trigger a child today might be mild on them another day.
How To Calm a Screaming Autistic Child in 5 Ways
1. Show empathy
Showing empathy implies being ready to listen, understand, and acknowledge their battle without being judgmental.
Communicating feelings healthily — tears, tears, crying, playing, or keeping a diary, is suitable for everyone, even if these emotions are hard to resist. Sympathizing with your child will mean validation of their experiences and help them feel heard.
The truth is that everybody needs to be understood to feel heard, particularly those who are usually misconstrued and somewhat conflicted concerning other people.
2. Don’t consider punishments an option
You avoid disciplining your children because you will only make them feel disgrace, tension, dread, and hatred.
Autistic children can’t handle their emotions, so punishing them for trying to express their feelings is an unfair thing to do.
All things being equal, you should give them the chance and freedom to cry, expressing their emotions while sitting with them all through letting them know and feel supported.
3. Pay no attention to passersby; your child should be your utmost concern
Generally, when children meltdown, it can get very boisterous. However, it can get worse in the case of autistic children. Frankly, it can be a very embarrassing moment having your kid meltdown, especially in public spaces where there are so many eyes watching.
Some people may even go on to make judgmental statements like, “learn how to control your child,” “that can never be my child acting that way.”
You may get worse feelings like the thought of validating your greatest fears; having people think that you are a failed parent.
If you ever end up in this scenario, note that there will always be critics; hence, learn to disregard the critical looks, and subdue every doubt in you screaming that you are not good enough to be a parent, and focus on your child who is battling and needs your support. Passersby are only a distraction.
4. Provide sensory tools
Sensory tools can be toys or things your child may be fond of and help him relax when they have an emotional reaction. Do well to offer them such toys and tools.
There is always a special toy or object your child has a penchant for; these objects can serve as sensory tools to help calm them whenever they are feeling overwhelmed. If they don’t have any, you can buy them things like; sunglasses, fidget toys, lap pads, headphones that cancel noise, and other similar tools.
Mind you; you are not to force these objects on them when they are having a meltdown. All you have to do is teach them how to use them to relax.
5. Teach and practice ways to cope during outbursts
There is so little to do to calm a child during a meltdown, but you can teach them ways to cope with their emotions and practice with them when they are in a calm state.
Kids respond positively to techniques like walking, meditation, yoga, and so many other strategies. You can try some of these and find out which helps your child best.
Teaching them these strategies is an excellent step to helping them manage their emotions and can help prevent meltdowns even in your absence.
Meltdown reactions can come and go depending on the situation. Sometimes, as children grow up, they will get better, but they will also get worse in times of stress.
Therefore, this requires patience and understanding, but many people with autism can learn to control themselves to avoid meltdowns.
Later on, a child can build and attain self-control anywhere, be it at school, at work, and in social gatherings.