Quiet time and Autism!

For most autism parents the idea of ever have ‘quite time’ again seems like an impossibility.  Yet quiet time is something most children on the spectrum flourish under.  Why is this – you may be wondering?

The answer lies in the fact that autism often involves difficulties in distinguishing and processing sound.  Auditory processing disorder involves how the brain processes sound.  Many children with autism cover their ears; they hum or flap their arm.  This is most often done in response to input from the environment.

Autism and auditory processing disorder tend to overlap so learning how to engage your child in quiet time can be extremely beneficial not just for learning but also for your relationship with your child.

Let’s start by explaining “quiet time” – this is a time when the child gets to play (or just be) without any verbal prompts or external noise.  In fact it is not just a “time to play”.  Quiet time should be allowed for the child to just be surrounded by quiet.  The goal is for the parent to help better connect the child’s inner self to the outer learning process, whilst reducing situational stresses.

Most neurotypical people struggle with the pace at which life runs, the stressful environment we work in, the chaotic traffic and just life in general.

Now think for just a second that a child with autism in many cases also has sensory processing difficulties coupled with auditory processing difficulties.  In a nutshell: “children will autism live with extensive external stresses and they need quiet time” – to regulate and flourish.

Quiet time can be 10 or 15 minutes in each 60 minute cycle or 5 minutes in every 30 minute cycle – depending on your individual child.  As hard as it may be for you to set aside this time in your busy day – consider the fact that a peaceful happy child will in-fact save you time during the day.  Disputes will minimize, your child will become more relaxed and his/her general mood will improve.

Ilse Kilian-Ross
ilse@amazingk.co.za

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, ABA, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.