The current estimate from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that 1 in 68 children have an autism disorder. Handle With Care has been providing specialized crisis intervention training for schools, community services and residential facilities that educate and care for autistic children and adults for over twenty five years. If it is possible to measure HWC’s success by the number of agencies and schools that have continuously depended upon our expertise, year after year, we are very successful.
HWC’s primary duty is to help you protect your most challenging children from experiencing any physical or emotional harm or from inflicting any harm upon another. This necessarily entails mustering all of your faculties and skills to forestall a crisis from taking place by, first, recognizing the usual cycle of escalating tension with the child in question and, second, by interrupting that cycle before anyone is harmed in a way that preserves your relationship with that child.
The Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), the Vagus Nerve and Autism
Children and adults with conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Depression, and Alzheimer’s Dementia, often experience sensory overload, anxiety, restlessness, chronic stress, which result in meltdowns, irregular sleeping patterns and poor attention spans. This is partly due to their difficulty to inhibit or filter non-essential sensory information such as background noises, and their poor ability to calm and self-modulate their arousal level.
Research is showing that insufficient development or damage to the vagus nerve, may also help explain many common symptoms of autism. In autism, individuals who do not receive enough sensory feedback from their extremities (proprioceptive feedback) have difficulty with their sense of identity and how they are oriented in space. This is also a reason why definitive, focused, touch helps with calming and orientation – it stimulates and regulates our nervous system – calms us down and orients us.
How HWC’s de-escalation and holding methods create a calm state of mind faster
There is a difference between “tentative touch” which can excite, overstimulate and further agitate someone and “definitive touch,” which is the quality of touch provided by firm-feeling and secure therapeutic holding method. Definitive touch acts as a calming or focusing agent that increases activity in the parasympathetic division (PNS), and lowers activity in the sympathetic division (SNS) of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) (Hsin-Yung Chen et. al., 2011). The increase in PNS and corresponding decrease SNS functions to 1. increase endorphin levels (happy hormones), 2. release both serotonin and dopamine (“happy” neurotransmitters) in the brain which produce a feeling of calm within our nervous system and 3. decrease heart rate and blood pressure (indicators of anxiety and stress).
This is exactly the biochemical/physiological reaction one would want when using a verbal intervention or physical holding method.
In other words, a firm or definitive physical hold performed by someone with a benign heart produces a more rapid return to a calm state of mind.
HWC OFFERS TWO TRAINING OPTIONS:
- On-Site Training: HWC sends a trainer to you
- Seminar Training: Your facility sends people to one of our seminars