Updated: May 27, 2020
Today is World Autism Awareness Day, a day to recognize and appreciate the rights of people with autism and to raise awareness in order to support a kinder, more accepting world. 💙 Back in the ‘90s, soon after I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Simon Fraser University, I accepted a position as a classroom aide for a little boy who was going through a lot of transitions and who was also on the Autism Spectrum. Some days were great ~ the days when we saw the bright, logical, and funny side of him. And, some days...well, they weren’t so great. During those times his communication skills seemed to disappear and my job became a matter of making sure that no one got hurt...
If you are struggling with a child with ASD, I see you. If you feel at a loss and even at the end of your rope, I see you. If you have feelings of guilt, no matter how undeserved they are, I see you. Managing life with a child on the Spectrum can be tough. Even on the good days.
I won’t make any unfounded claims that essential oils can solve all of the concerns that come along with this particular disorder. Fortunately, there is significant research that indicates that certain essential oils can help with insomnia, restlessness, agitation, non-responsiveness, and anger.
As a general rule, if you’re looking for stimulation, choose ‘bright’ smells; citrus, eucalyptus (away from the face for those under 6), pine, and spearmint, for example. If you’re looking for calm, choose deeper scents, for instance lavender, sweet marjoram, clary sage, or frankincense. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it may give you some ideas to try. How should you incorporate aromatherapy? If your child will accept a massage (even for a minute or two), essential oils can be incorporated into a lotion or massage oil. If that isn’t an option, adding them to a carrier, such as liquid soap or bubble bath, and then mixing it into a bath before bed may be helpful. Using an essential oil diffuser is an option as well.
When it comes to choosing essential oils, it may take some trial and error to find ones that work the way you want them to. For instance, even if lavender is ‘helpful for people with insomnia’, if you don’t like the smell, it won’t help you to fall asleep.
I encourage you to add Aromatherapy to your toolkit of ASD management skills. If you have any suggestions of oils or blends that you’ve used to support yourself, or a loved one, with ASD, please leave a comment below or send me a DM!🌸
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