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Tantrums & More: Caring for a Child on the Autism Spectrum

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Staying calm and centered when caring for children can be a struggle; even more so with a child on the autism spectrum.
Air Date: 9/24/14
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Aleta St. James, author
Aleta St. James, internationally acclaimed author of Life Shift: Let Go and Live Your Dream, has been described as the Indiana Jones of the soul, traveling the globe in her own spiritual quest, sharing her renowned healing gifts with thousands of people throughout the world in seminars, workshops and private sessions. Aleta has been interviewed by some of the most notable journalists of our time, including Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer and has been featured on The Today Show, NBC's Dateline, Good Morning America and CNN. In recognition of living her "winding up and not down" philosophy, Aleta was recently named one of AARP Magazine's "people who inspire." Perhaps most famously, Aleta made worldwide news in 2004 when she became the oldest woman in America at the time to give birth her twins, Gian and Francesca at age 57. She blew the lid off of society’s perception of aging.
  • Book Title: Life Shift: Let Go and Live Your Dream
  • Guest Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/AletaStJames
  • Guest Twitter Account: @aletastjames
Tantrums & More: Caring for a Child on the Autism Spectrum
Staying calm and centered when caring for children can be a struggle, and even more so with a child on the autism spectrum.

With these kids, a tantrum isn't a "normal" tantrum, because anything can trigger it.

Aleta St. James has firsthand experience with this, as her son has Asperger's syndrome. She joins Andrea and Lisa to share some great tips for addressing this behavior, while still keeping in control.

To start, Aleta says that you should always come from a place of love; not from shame or with the feeling that your child is out of control, and therefore so are you.

Take a deep breath, try not to take what's happening personally... just know that there's a trigger in your child's mind that's affecting him or her.

The result of the trigger can take many forms. Your child might even start swearing or cursing, which is especially hard to deal with because from a very young age, most of us have been taught that's not OK.

Again, take a deep breath, lower your voice and say, "That's not appropriate, and we'll talk about it when you calm down." Then, leave the child alone. Don't try to negotiate with him or her, or threaten punishment,

By leaving the child and letting yourself relax, you're also sending love and relaxation to your child. This will help stabilize the situation much faster than if you start to accelerate and exacerbate what's happening by showing your agitation. Kids are very good at picking up those signals, and if you feel out of control, your child will continue to also feel out of control.

Meditation can also be helpful to calm and center yourself, despite how intense your child's tantrum becomes. Again, take deep breaths, and repeat the mantra, "I am loved, I am love, I am loving." This will help you connect to your own power.

A lot of parents feel guilty... "What did I do to create this in my child?" But you have to remember that love heals -- both yourself and your child -- and guilt cannot be a part of that.

There are also physical and nutritional elements you can use to help your child.

For instance, many children on the autism spectrum are allergic to food products or ingredients. Aleta's son, for example, is allergic to corn. Removing these allergens and introducing probiotics to help reduce candida (which is very often prevalent in kids on the autism spectrum) can also help address behavioral issues.

Listen in for more tips for helping both you and your child get through difficult behavior, while still remaining calm and centered.