Can hypnosis help Aspergers Syndrome?
According to a report in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, mothers of autistic children suffer as much stress on a daily basis, as a combat soldier. The constant fear and worry of caring for someone on the autistic spectrum can be relentless. They face an ongoing struggle to make society understand their child, even though at times they struggle to cope and understand themselves.
Because autism is ‘invisible’ it is difficult for others to understand. And despite the fast-rising numbers of people now being diagnosed (one in 88) there is still much ignorance out there as to how to address autism and the impact it has on those affected.
Research has not come up with answers to the cause of this dramatic increase in numbers (although a genetic vulnerability seems likely due to environmental factors out there). Families assume they will be given answers and help once a diagnosis is finally given, but this is not always the case. Support can be non-existent at worst and sporadic at best.
Medical practitioners understand little of autism; education cannot cope with the demand for specialist units, therefore the child has to muddle through. Often missing out on education as their specific needs go unaddressed. Less than 22% of teachers have had basic autism awareness training according to a National Autistic Society study.
Further down the line colleges offer ‘life skill’ courses which do little to enable them to find employment. There are only 13% of autistic people in employment compared to 50% of learning disabled. This has nothing to do with ability to work but in sustaining employment due to lack of understanding by employers.
For those with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) life can be extremely difficult. AS is a communication and socialisation condition and is not accompanied by a learning disability. Therefore, those with AS are more aware of their difficulties which can lead to depression, low self-esteem and lack of confidence as they struggle to make themselves understood in a society that just thinks they are ‘odd’ or assumes they are learning disabled.
How can hypnosis help Aspergers?
Hypnosis can be used to purposely alter symptoms through physical relaxation and causing a heightened state of awareness. This will narrow and intensify a focus of concentration and perception while diminishing awareness of peripheral stimuli.
Those with AS can find everyday life difficult as they have an overload of senses which others can ‘blank out’, concentrating on only what is immediately important. They often cannot determine what should take priority which causes the ongoing stress and anxiety to manifest.
Anxiety builds up due to external or internal sensory stimuli in the brain which can lead to temper outbursts, irritability, pacing, agitation etc. which then creates tremendous stress. This behaviour can be seen as unacceptable and lead to alienation and enforced solitary preoccupation.
By using hypnosis in this way it will also have a beneficial impact on other areas in their lives. It can increase confidence, raise self-esteem, aid insomnia, banish feelings of low self-worth and deal with depression. This list is by no means exhaustive as each individual will present with their own unique set of challenges which will be dealt with on an individual basis.
Those with AS may have a discrepancy in their language skills. They may have adequate language but can lack conversational skills which impacts on their social–emotional development. This can leads to isolation in their home life and school/work life with no practical real-life ‘hands-on’ experiences.
They may find it difficult to cope with natural, unplanned occurrences which happen in everyday life. They often don’t know how to articulate through speech what is in their mind and require understanding and patience which we can provide using our own personal experiences and skills.
Families of those with AS too can be affected by the challenges. They may feel guilt, stress, worry, anger, inadequacy, despair, helplessness – the list is endless and they too can benefit from hypnosis and stress management. They are often overlooked and expected to manage which can have a detrimental effect on their mental well-being.
The divorce rate is 60% higher than the national average amongst parents with an autistic child and as many as one in three become single-parent families as the stress of living with autism becomes too much to bear and this invariably results in the carer being unable to work or only work part-time around their child’s needs.
National figures show 70% of carers are unemployed and only 11% are able to work full-time. Having a restricted income just adds to the daily stress of living with autism. Siblings are often overlooked but they too are impacted by autism often foregoing holidays and family days out if their autistic sibling cannot cope. This can lead to resentment then guilt and they too would benefit from the therapies we offer.
Giving parents and carers the tools and techniques to manage their stress will improve their mental well-being and enable them to cope better with the daily challenges of living with autism. The person with AS or HFA too will benefit greatly from these therapies as it will address their individual needs and enable them to lead a more fulfilling life.
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