Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder 101

Education & Support

The Blog

How We Handle Outside Activities- (Part 4)

Posted by fasd101 on August 25, 2013 at 12:40 AM

~Continued from part 3~

Does your child act out after being in a crowded place?

Get a large cardboard box.

Photo Credit

A box that a freezer comes in is ideal. Lay it on its side, put in a nice comfy blanket, pillows and a few other things that are calming to your child, like stuffed animals or a doll. Take care not to put very many things in the box and only put things in there that are quiet and non-electronic.

Put the box in an area where he will be the least distracted and tell your child this is his safe place. If he is feeling overstimulated remind him that he can go in there and take a break.

This is a tool to help your child learn to self regulate.  It is NOT for punishment. If you start using it for punishment, then it will no longer be a therapy tool.

If your child is losing control, becoming to loud, starting to have a melt down, help him to his safe place. Remind him that he can come out anytime after he feels better.  The box method has the same effect that the blanket over the head does, but works better. It will block out the visual stimulation along with muffling the sounds and help your child's brain become calm. Let him stay there as long as he wants, he will know when he feels better.

I have a friend who's daughter was having a very difficult time before and after school. She would get ready to go to school, but would whine and fuss and meltdown everyday. The same thing would happen after school. I suggested the box method to her and she tried it. Her daughter took to it right away and virtually solved all those acting out issues before and after school.

If your chid is having self regulating issues and you give this a try I would be very interested to hear your feedback as to whether this worked for them or not.

Time and space for the box and training how to use the space are the cost. Are you willing to pay it?

Does your child seem to be cranky during or after an event?

Sometimes there is nothing that will prevent the child from having a bad day. This is the life we live with our FASDers. But if you plan ahead with lots of “down time” before and after the event, you should see a difference.

Time and having to plan are the costs.

Are you willing to pay it?

Does he/she show any physical symptoms (stomach ache, vomiting, wetting or soiling their pants or bed, etc...) during or after an activity?

Evan & Daniel are my little model's who are not really in pain

Be sure to provide small amounts of food/snacks (low fat & sugar, high protein) for your child and plenty of water. Sometimes when they are overstimulated they don't realize they are hungry or need something to drink. If you try and keep their blood sugars level, it will help lessen behaviors. Remind them to use the toilet. I have a couple of boys who don't understand that the pain in their tummy is because they need to poop. Mix the lack of recognizing those ques along with over-stimulation and you will have a kid who has a toileting accident or is cranky because he is in pain.

Packing small snacks & drinks, checking if he needs to potty are the costs. Are you willing to pay it?

I know for family functions and activities of that nature, it's unlikely that you can stay away from those things until they are older or more able to “deal” with the situation. So here is what we did and do to cope with those events. We had to think about what would cause the most problems for our children.

One key thing we realized was that the length of time at the activity played a huge role. Our children would get exhausted and then start acting out even more.

You have to understand that for us, in our daily life, our brains take care of so many things and we are unaware of most of those things.

For our FASDers, they are overwhelmed by EVERYTHING. They notice aunt Ruth is wearing perfume and aunt Sophie is wearing another kind of smelling perfume, and the different food smells and textures, and the lights are bright, and the house is warm, and Grandma is talking to Aunt Sophie and dad is talking to Uncle Jon and the baby is crying and the TV is on and your child can't remember where the bathroom is, and the toilet is in a different place than the bathroom at home and he is not sitting in the same place at the table next to his brother like he does at home and on and on.

They are trying to keep track of everything at once and they become overwhelmed.

I once heard it put like this. Its like exercising. For us in our daily lives we are taking a leisurely stroll with occasional short sprints. For them, its like they are running a marathon all the time. The only time they get any reprieve from that is when WE help them to have “down time”.

To help our children not to become to exhausted, we started going to outside functions a little late and leaving a little early.  We helped ease our children into these types of activities.

Another way to help your child to cope with this type of activity is to set up a place where your child can go when he/she is feeling overwhelmed. A quiet room that he/she will be safe in and can self regulate. Provide his/her familiar items from his box or backpack. You can even sit with him in the car for a few minutes if there is no other acceptable place. 

An Example would be at family functions. Sometimes, all we needed to do was try and make sure we were the last ones to arrive. That way eveyone had already come in and greetings done, so my children only had to experince that commotion once when we would arrive.

This helped eliminate the "surprise and excitement" of someone else joining the get together which in turn would be overstimulating and then we would cause behaviors.  If I noticed that behaiors are coming, I have the child sit quietly next to me or take him outside or to the restroom, alone, to help him regroup so that we can stay at the gathering a little longer. 


its OKAY if you arn't willing to pay the price. You know best how your child will handle the activites

and if YOU are willing to pay the price.

I hope these suggestions have been helpful. I would love to hear from you especially if you try any of these techniques and the results.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Comment below, I would love to know what you think. 

Don't miss another posts,  subscribe to our site at in the box to the right.

And Follow me on



Categories: Stategies and Tips

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In