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How Magical U can help autistic children and adults with anxiety and meltdowns

Extreme anxiety is very common in children and adults with autism ( ASD -Autistic Spectrum Disorder).

They will be subject to difficulties in social communication, social interaction and social imagination (the triad of impairments ) all of which contribute to feelings of anxiety which are often extreme and lead to problem behaviors. They may be averse to change and fearful of new situations. Extreme sensitivities, difficulty understanding , an inability to express their wants and needs can lead to feelings of OVERWHELM. Feelings of OVERWHELM can quickly escalate into MELTDOWN which is very distressing and can be harmful. So you can see how a child with autism can quickly become extremely distressed and out of control with no way of expressing what is the matter to an adult who could understand , offer solace and comfort and resolution of the problem. An extremely distressing problem for children and their parents and carers . THIS IS WHERE MAGICAL U can work its magic quickly and easily to resolve troubling situations again and again. All you need is a pack of Magical U cards , some knowledge of how the game works , and an open and caring heart. So let’s imagine a possible scenario ........ Sammy is having a meltdown because his Mum forgot to give him his lunchbox for school. He doesn’t understand his feelings or how to express them ...his Mum has no idea what the problem is . Using the Magical U cards Sammy can be invited to pick the card which shows how he is feeling. Simply connecting to the cards and beginning to understand can be a huge relief and help him to begin to de-escalate. Again using the cards he can be invited to ‘ tell the story ‘ through the cards about who/ where the problem came from. Moving on he can choose the cards that show what he needs to overcome the problem ......all the cards are there. Sammy doesn’t need complicated questions and explanations’s all there in the cards ......they can do the talking . If it all sounds too good to be true , believe me , it isn’t . With a pack of cards , knowledge of how the game works , and a little time you can help the autistic child to feel understood, accepted and comforted . There is nothing else that’s so easy and successful to use. As the adult and child get used to using the cards they will become an essential tool in everyday life. Children love the colorful cards which depict the emotions so graphically . They can learn to understand words for the emotions , but in the beginning the cards will speak for themselves. Children learn to love the cards and appreciate what they can do with them . As well as understanding their own emotions , they can learn to understand those of friends, siblings and even parents ..... Peter is ANGRY because you broke his toy. Sally is SCARED because you tried to hit her. Daddy is MAD because you broke his computer . We use many different words to express the same or similar angry, mad, furious,cross, annoyed .....the child with autism may find this confusing , but the ANGRY card will show that they all mean the same. He will hear the words, but then they will be gone ....the ANGRY card is always there to hand. The parent , carer or teacher of an autistic child may already have a toolkit of useful things to help the child with understanding and communication. Magical U can be an invaluable addition to be used on its own or in conjunction with other schemes. PECS ( Picture Exchange Communication System ) https/ has been in use for autistic children since 1985 and can provide a concrete representation of how communication works especially for children who are non-speaking and in my experience may lead to the child developing some spoken language . The Magical U cards can be added to the PECS picture cards and used in conjunction . Great care has been used to ensure clear depictions that all children can understand and connect with. SOCIAL STORIES .....https/ is another tool in the ASD tool kit and in use since 1991. Social Stories are written to help autistic children to understand social situations and navigate them successfully. Using the Magical U cards as part of a social story will expand the autistic child’s understanding of emotions ...his own and other people’s. Autistic children and their families and teachers will wonder how they managed before the birth of Magical U. It can teach children the words for their feelings ; help them learn about their feelings and those of others. They can be used to resolve conflict and expand their understanding of the world. This world can be a frightening place and hard to navigate. The Magical U game can be used to form a bridge which all children with ASD need to be happy and successful in their lives. I am now retired from my profession as a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist . I wish I had had Magical U when I was working with autistic children. I hope people will share their experiences and encourage others to bring the Magical U game to autistic children around the world . I am proud to have played a small part in the development of this innovative new approach to help children, their parents, educators and more “Elise” Erica Crutchley LCST ret. UK Specialist Speech and Language Therapist Magical U graduate PECS trainer, Autism Specialist

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