Autism Therapy Without Force and Control

Sliding Scale of Safety

Autism Therapy Without Force and Control

The image at the top of this post is a mini model I use to help those on the autism spectrum get a picture of what the body can access when it is in different states.

For those with anxiety (and more) I find it is very helpful for them to see that this ‘happens to them’, rather than it being a brain aberration or deficit that they are forever stuck with.

It is useful to people to discover, in a way they can easily grasp, that the body finds it difficult to process sensory information when it is in an extreme state.

  • This can inspire curiosity and openness and can provide safety, context and ownership of the sensory- attentional work.
  • People then get to see what it can do when it is not in an extreme state.

Looking at things in this way allows us to be more compassionate to self (and other) and to find doors to open that are new in healing and building resilience.


Resilience, from my perspective, is about the body learning to be in a more parasympathetic state. We are looking to access the DFM (default mode network) and to find ways to let the body find new points of rest and safety.

  • This builds strength at an interstitial level
  • It allows the body to regenerate, neural processes to have time to sort and reorganise and the body/mind to be better connected so that processes like working memory, executive functioning and interoception are more accessible.

It is not outcomes focused, it is a blend of cognition, curiosity, permission and personal authority guided by the therapist.

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