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Soothing the Storm: Massage Strategies for ADHD Sensory Seekers to Find Calm Amidst Overwhelm

What do you do when your ADHD or even Autistic child that craves stimulation has hit the point of no return?

The have lost the ability to self-regulate, they did not listen when you warned that it would end in tears. Now they are screaming, sweating, in complete overwhelm and no logical argument from you as the rational parent will help.

First off you have to remain calm, in control, take a deep breath and remember your child and their brain needs your help to come back down to sanity.

I am sure by now you have realized that corporal punishment, like spanking, threats, time out or removing a beloved toy don't actually work.

Force does not work on a child in full fight or flight, who has no ability or maturity to rationalize their behavior.

Tell well-meaning friends or family, who are uneducated in this area, and like to offer their two lovingly mind their own business. This is tough enough for you and you need to be the hero of your child's tragedy.

These types of kids have hyposensitive brains, they lack dopamine and seek input to give them that hit they are missing. Unfortunately, many do not know when to stop and become so overstimulated, that it's overwhelming and they have hit crisis point.

In my experience, with my own kids, and former clients they do not like, at least not when in overwhelm, gentle light soothing pressure, it's annoying and irritating.

I found a firmer technique, a type of tapotement used in Chinese Qi gong massage to be very effective for these children. Dr. Luisa Silva wrote a book many years ago called Qigong massage for your child with Autism, she even runs a sensory institute where parents and therapists alike can learn more.

I found that using her techniques and adding a few alterations really helped calm these kids down quickly.

The trick is to meet them where they are at, there energy is high, so my delivery is fast and brisk. As they calm down, so to do my hands begin to slow down, to eventually I can firmly stroke down the back.


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