Autism and Emotional Regulation

What is Emotional Regulation?

Emotional regulation is the ability to cope with situations that cause emotions like stress, anxiety or frustration. Sometimes, people with ASD have a harder time regulating their emotions and trying to work them out. They may rely on unique self-soothing strategies to deal with intense emotions, and either seek out or avoid sensory stimuli like bright lights, loud sounds and intense smells. For children and young people, this can be an extremely confusing and different time, as they will not know to navigate through their thoughts and why they feel the way that they do.

Signs that someone with ASD is dysregulated?

Everyone on the spectrum manages their sensory input differently, and you would need to recognise what is out of the ordinary for them. However, some things to look out for is:

  • A change in their normal behaviours
  • Stimming more frequently
  • Anxiety
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Distress
  • Violence/ Self Harm
  • Regression
  • Exhaustion


How to help someone who is dysregulated

The biggest thing you can do for someone going through dysregulation, is to work out the triggers and remove them. You could take the person to a space they consider safe, such as their bedroom, a tent, or even the car! As mentioned above, some people can find dysregulation exhausting, so the person could be fatigued, they could need some alone time and some time to just relax and do things that makes them happy.



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