Spreading Awareness of the World of Autism- What are Triggers?

In my blog you may hear me refer a lot to J, his Auditory Sensitivity and the Triggers that set it off. When I say Triggers I am referring to the sounds that he is most sensitive to and the outburst that these Triggers tend to cause. An overload of Triggers will usually result in J yelling, screaming, crying and becoming uncontrollably upset. His heart will race, his body temperature will rise and then he will crash moments later from the adrenaline rush that accompanies this fight or flight response since his senses are basically under attack.

J has come a long way with his major trigger, smaller children. It helps that he has lots of cousins that range in age from one to twenty-three, so he frequently gets some safe exposure to the sounds he finds intolerable at family events. This gives me an opportunity to teach him the proper reaction to noises that he has a hard time with, like stating that the room is too loud rather than yelling and screaming and asking for a break from the noise. I usually have a game plan in place, like a quiet room he can take breaks in, his headphones if it gets too loud, and his iPad.  Familiar Triggers are always easier to deal with than unexpected ones but it helps lay the ground work for what is expected and acceptable behavior for J when faced with a Trigger.

J and his younger cousins on an Easter egg hunt this year. He did really well that day, he isn’t even wearing his headphones, thus the fingers to his ears.

For many kids on the spectrum Triggers are an overall word for anything that will set a person on the spectrum off, because it for whatever reason makes them extremely uncomfortable. It could be anything from the color yellow or the feel of denim, to dogs barking or a bright light. It usually is sensory related in some manner.

What are some Triggers you guys are dealing with? How are you trying to help your kids deal?

-JRED

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