Is meditation the way forward to help people with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder) deal with anxiety?
Sam grabs and holds on to people, Alex shouts and shows his aggressive face, Mary cries, Barry takes it out on parents when he goes home at night and David won’t get in the taxi to go home at the end of a day.
Supporting people with anxiety is all in a day’s work for staff who work with MacIntyre and we as an organisation have Great Interactions to help us interact with the people we support in a person centred way and now we also have PBS (Positive Behaviour Support) for early interventions. But how often do we have strategies that enable people to help themselves? Often we look for triggers and then step in to stop escalation.
Community Learning Facilitator Caroline at Bucks No Limits is trialling meditation with David who is very wary of new people and becomes very anxious in new surroundings. The sessions are based on Caroline’s own experience using Mindfulness and, rather than sitting with legs crossed in a quiet room, Caroline chose walking meditation so that she could work alongside David. In this way David was not instructed to carry out a movement, instead he followed and was given the time to slowly build his confidence until he could carry out the meditation on his own.
Walking meditation involves choosing a short route where you can walk up and back for about ten regular paces. But it’s not just pacing, with each step you connect with feelings in your foot. Is the foot cold or warm, how do the toes feel when they push off the floor, how does the heel feel when placed on the floor? This encourages connection with your body and gives your mind a rest from the constant barrage of thoughts that go round and round. Try it for yourself!
Caroline has reported that David is a lot calmer since she started the sessions and that he is slightly more open with people he doesn’t know.
Early days but I think we may be on to something!!
No limits Buckinghamshire