It’s common for everyone to experience anxiety and stress when dealing with new changes or new routines. As adults we know this. However, for children with special needs such as autism/ADHD, changes or new routines can result in significant stress and anxiety. At this point, the child’s ability to communicate may be significantly reduced thus causing him/her to have a “meltdown.”
In addition, children with autism/ADHD can have difficulty regulating their emotions and stress levels. Therefore, these children benefit from specific, tailored strategies to help them cope and regulate their emotional state. The Safe Spot is one such strategy that should be considered by your special needs ministry team. The Safe Spot allows children with autism/ADHD to:
- take a break from a stressful situation
- regain emotional control to avoid a meltdown
- recover after a meltdown
A Safe Spot is any specified location in your church (parent’s can also use this concept at home!) where a child with special needs feels safe, comfortable, and decreases the child’s internal stress so that s/he can calm down.
Here’s a quick 12-minute video for special needs ministry staff on how to develop a Safe Spot:
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Michael Woods, M.A. BCaBA CPI