Almanac: Embracing Winter with Six Health and Healing Preparations for Autism

How to care for someone who cannot tell you where hurts

This has been my most requested post and there seems no better time to write it than as we enter the colder months, amidst the coronavirus pandemic. I am a mother of five and two of my sons have profound non-verbal autism with high sensory sensitivity. Written below, is how we aim to help our little chaps when they are under the weather.

  1. Change the environment around them

Dealing with the environment around my child is easier than trying to change what they wish to do. When they are ill, they can revert to a more fundamental version of their autism and years of progress can temporarily dissolve away until they recover.

Our house lights can be controlled with our phones (and wall switches) to dim and change colour. We also have tilting window shutters. This means that we can change the degree of light or ambience, as well as air flow, to create a peaceful place for them. In this season of shortened days, we have programmed the lights to recreate dawn and dusk, gradually rising and dimming at the times of day that they should wake or feel sleepy.

I use an atomiser with warm water and lavender oil to soothe them, or eucalyptus and tea tree oil to help with decongesting their noses if they catch a cold.

Music can alter the ambience of a room immediately. We keep our music device well out of reach, as autism can create an urge to play the same few seconds of a tune over and over again. There is a great post on how to rig up an old iPhone here: Tip For Playing Music For Children, Particularly Children with Autism.

2. Soothing warm (or cold) blankets to hold

My sons will not abide anyone trying to help blow their noses and I cannot give them tissues, as they both cannot resist shredding them into tiny pieces. Instead, I keep a large stack of soft baby muslin cloths. I warm these in the tumble drier or on radiators and then add Albas oil or my sleep oil mix to them and they will cuddle these happily, and instinctively dab at their noses.

3. A safe place to rest

My older autistic son finds head colds very bothering as if something is stuck there and this can provoke him to make sudden head movements. I have found the best way to help him is to surround him with a giant duvet and cushions in what I call his “get better nest”.

4. Hugging and consoling a sensory-sensitive child

My little sons often do not like to be cuddled or held if they have fevers – their sensory autism means that changes in body temperature can feel extreme and any touch adds to either the heat or the cold. I can help them by spraying them with a perfume atomiser of cooled sterilised water that we always have handy in the fridge if they are hot, or hugging them through warmed blankets if they are cold.

(In summer months I create Aloe Vera Ice Cubes with Added Dinosaurs )

5. Water Therapy

My older autistic son is running a temperature, he likes to spend time in the shower, where the water brings his temperature down and the steam helps clear his sinuses.

My younger son is wary of getting water in his eyes, but does have a fascination with running water in general – so I can usually get him to sit in a bath and play with a running tap, whilst I create a lavender steam for him in the nearby sink or little bowl.

6. Taking Medicine

In preparation for them taking medicine, I have helped my sons get used to the oral syringe included with most child liquid medicines. I fill the syringe with water and a touch of honey for a similar consistency to let them practise. If they ever need to take medicine, at least they are familiar with the process of using the syringe.

Is there anything you can add to this list that helps you and your loved ones? I’d love to read your comments below.

Wishing you and your family a safe and healthy winter time

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I’ve linked below to where you can buy the items mentioned in my post from Amazon. If you click on the picture and buy the item I will get a small commission to help support my art.

Tisserand Aromatherapy – Lavender Essential Oil, 9 ml

ASAKUKI 300ml Essential Oil Diffuser, Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Scented Diffuser Humidifier for Room, Spa, Baby with LED Changing Lights and Waterless Auto Shut-Off, BPA-Free Wood Grain

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Alison Evans says:

    These are the gentlest acts of heroinism.
    I find guided meditation with my daughter to be extremely effective when rest cannot otherwise be found.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Alison, for the lovely words. What a wonderful idea to use guided meditation with your daughter – I do this with my older children but will most certainly now try it with my youngest two sons when they are poorly x 🤍


  2. Your suggestions and ideas are so marvelous that I posted it on my Facebook for my grown children to follow.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I’m very glad if it can be of help x I hope you are having a lovely start to Christmas 🎄 🌟


  3. Wonderful, thoughtful, gentle ideas that are sure to help many parents.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Laurie 🤍🤍

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such individually insightful care.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much Derrick 🌟

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Katie says:

    Oh my goodness, thank you for this. My five year old son is also non-verbal and profoundly autistic. Sometimes – I’m at a loss (actually, most of the time). I’ve wanted to utilize essential oils, but it’s hard to know if anything is actually *working*. It’s also hard to keep my diffuser in a safe place because he’s so interested in pouring it out! :p

    When you wrote that your children couldn’t resist ripping tissues into tiny pieces, I knew you understand what I’m experiencing. Bug loves to rip paper and watch it fall to the ground. I didn’t know that other children did that!!

    Again – thank you. I’m going to slowly start utilizing some of these tips. And research more about essential oils that could be helpful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Katie 🤍 Thank you so much for your lovely reply x Sometimes having a list of things to try helps me no end …. it stops that feeling of having tried everything and gives me something to calmly work through. If you try putting the essential oil on a cloth it really helps – if you then pop the cloth on a radiator it can diffuse safely, no spillages 🙂 (I’m only just remembering this now – so I’ll edit it into my post ☺️) It also helps me to know that there are so many autism families like mine, all muddling through as best we can – none of us are alone x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Katie says:

        Thanks so much for the essential oil tip! And thank you for reminding me that we’re not alone. – that’s really hard to remember sometimes.


    2. Vicki says:

      It’s important to remember to use pure essential oils, not adulterated ones. I’m in Australia, but studied Aromatherapy around 1992 and now qualified of course, but rarely use more than Lavender, Tea Tree or Eucalyptus due to my acquired MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). Tisserand were highly regarded at that time and I’m sure they are just as good today.

      Keep in mind that ‘less’ (1-2 drops works on the mental and spiritual senses) and ‘more’ (4-5 drops) works on physical ailments.

      More is not necessarily better.

      When I worked as a live-in children’s nanny I would often put one drop on each of my own wrists which would have a flow-on effect for a distraught child.

      Once Aromatherapy become the ‘in’ thing in the late 1990s, there was a lot of synthetic or artificial essential oils coming on the market which may (or may not) have smelled nice, but had no therapeutic effect.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You are very thoughtful to post such wonderful useful points. I believe these small ideas would be a lot helpful!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. This is all good advice, thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I echo all those who appreciate the quality of your caring and your practical ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much Rachel, I’m glad if our experience can be of any help to others x

      Liked by 1 person

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