Over the next few days, the media will be going into overload, as the world sadly remembers the 10 year anniversary of that tragic day in the United States when three planes crashed and the World Trade Centre buildings collapsed.
Already this week, most national television stations have been running tributes and it seems every day we are once again reliving images of that dreadful day.
Today however, there are also warnings of a potential terrorism threat timed to coincide with the anniversary, just to add more concern to an already sad time.
All of these reports can create feelings of anxiety and fear for our children, and particularly for those on the Autism spectrum as they have an uncanny ability to pick up on any stress or emotion in the house. That anxiety may manifest in changes in behaviour.
As adults we are able to make sense of the media and its constant desire to report everything from every possible angle. However, our children do not have the same ‘filtering’ system and all children, in particular our children on the spectrum, may feel more anxious or fearful by hearing these messages over and over….and over again!
Here are a couple of things you can do to help your child put all this into perspective.
1. Be mindful of the television being on in the background, especially around news time. You may be busy preparing dinner, but your child may be watching more than you realize.
2. Be aware of your own conversations and monitor your own reactions. Our children do not need to know that there are other potential threats. There is nothing they can do about it, and that feeling of being helpless can lead to greater fears.
3. Try to put things into perspective if you have concerns that your child may be feeling fearful about the news reports. The problem with many of the news reports is that it can look like this happened yesterday! Help them to understand that while this was a terrible thing, but it happened a long time ago.
4. While its OK to be sad and to remember those who died in 2001, it is also a great opportunity to teach our children to be grateful for what they have.
5. A few more hugs and perhaps some happy family time might also be in order. Just to quell any fears or anxieties and to remind them they are safe.
Any other tips that you can share with others that may help quell anxiety or fear?