Having a child with autism means thinking outside the box. Depending on the severity of the condition, children with autism suffer greatly from situations others handle more easily. Autistic children often respond differently to social stimuli. They may avoid eye contact, not respond to hugs or know how to ask for help, and seem unsure how to relate to others in a way that they’ll be understood.
Autism is defined by a spectrum of conditions. One thing all autistic children have in common is their need to be treated with compassion and understanding, like any child. Feeling constantly overstimulated can be overwhelming for anybody, but is especially necessary for a child’s positive development. Overstimulated autistic children may respond with yelling or become despondent and unresponsive.
Fortunately, there are ways to help autistic children get relief from being overstimulated by day-to-day life. One method that studies have shown to be helpful is REST. REST involves laying suspended in a dark saltwater tank. The tanks were originally called “sensory deprivation” tanks – so it’s easy to see why they may help autistic children who suffer from being overstimulated.
The tank creates a zero-gravity environment. With no stimuli for the brain, participants in REST enter what is called a Theta state. It’s similar to a dream state, except the experiencer has complete control. Even for children, there is no danger associated with REST. The 1,200 pounds of Epsom salt in the tank make floating easy. The tank’s size makes moving nearly impossible. These factors eliminate the risk of drowning.
Participants in REST report extensive benefits. Alleviation of depression, reduced stress, improved sleep, enhanced concentration, higher energy, and reduced pain are just a few of the common effects REST has. Autistic children stand to experience these benefits and more due to their unique physiology. All children feel overwhelmed by the world around them, as they are only beginning to discover it. With autism, this can be a problem.
REST can help autistic children who feel bombarded by constant sights, sounds, and smells on a daily basis. By allowing them to be alone, it can also alleviate the pressure of social interaction, which can lead to more stress than most parents suspect. This rest can be as beneficial as sleep for these children who are constantly exposed to elevated stress levels.
If you have an autistic child who could benefit from REST, contact the Northwest Float Center today.