Living Mindfully Autistic – Mindfulness lifestyle tuition for Autistic people and their loved ones.
An easy-going, online mindfulness programme for recovery and counteracting the negative impacts of the modern world and harnessing autism as power.
Our 9 week programme consists of 1 hour sessions in small ‘Zoom’ groups and includes a presentation and a guided meditation on a theme. A facilitated group conversation / Q&A session then follows, in which relevant topics are brought and shared by the participants. Experienced facilitators intuitively address the needs of the group in a semi-structured way, making it a suitable social setting for many autistic people.
As a regular group and solo practice, the benefits of a strengths-focussed mindful lifestyle aims to reduce the impact of stress, isolation and fragmentation in you, as an autistic person (or a family member of autistic persons), and to live a self-aware and more fulfilling, happier life.
We have been delivering this programme since 2020 for people in Scotland via Scottish Autism and from Summer 2022 will be hosting our own programmes.
‘Studies found that a mindfulness-based program of nine weekly sessions for adults with ASD reduced their comorbid symptoms, such as their symptoms of depression, anxiety, rumination, distrust and interpersonal sensitivity, and sleeping problems, and their positive effect increased.’ (Kiep et al. 2015; Spek et al) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968048/
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Examples of mindfulness for autism topics.
Each session is loosely based on a theme, with related information and exercises.
Being Friends with Silence
Self Care & Compassion
Releasing Tension, Stress & Emotion
Observation & Acceptance
Relationships & Unconditional Friendliness
Mindful Body with Vagal Healing
Grounding & Spacing
Emotions of Pain and Love
Talking & Listening Together
Mindful Poetry, Chanting & Music
Mindfulness guide, Jonny attributes regular practicing of meditation since childhood and undertaking many training courses and retreats to using autism as his superpower. Holds BA Fine Art, PG Cert Autism Spectrum, PG Cert Coaching & Mentoring, is a Coach at AT-Autism, a Facilitator at Scottish Autism, a Specialist Autism Mentor and Member of Academy of Professional Dialogue.
Kate is a regular meditator and yogi with MA Autism Spectrum, a coach at AT-Autism and specialist study skills tutor & mentor. Skilled in Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Executive Coaching, Team Building. Training manager and counsellor in the voluntary sector for 20 years.
Background and outcomes
Mindfulness and self-awareness has always been a guiding principle of our dialogue and coaching work, which is why we created these dedicated programmes. It is natural to offer something more for the individual to feel strong membership in a community of mindfulness practitioners. Common challenges typical in autism, such as stress from sensory overload, share a vast common ground between the ethos, language and practice of mindfulness. Dispute, division and violence is because of a deep and pervasive defect in the process of human thought (Bohm, Factor, Garrett, 1991) and traumatised people, which leads to stressful and fragmented social and physical environments. Mindfulness aims to break this negative cycle.
Outcomes for participants include reduced anxiety and stress, better relationships in daily life, and empowerment with developed and claimed identity (masking). Mindfulness practice can also increase sense of community and support and frame the search for belonging and inclusion.
‘The results of the findings show the benefits of mindfulness-based therapies for individuals with autism. The 23 participants engaged in the online therapies demonstrated significant reductions in anxiety. The study found at a 3-month follow up that over 75% of participants ‘demonstrated reliable reductions in at least one of the anxiety measures.’ Over 50% of participants maintained these benefits at a 6-month follow-up.’
Is Autism a Stress Adaptation? L. Hogenkamp (2018)
“When we are stuck in an immobilised (hypo) state it can be hard to feel what is going on in your body because our interoceptive capacity has been turned off. When we are in a hyper- alert state, we can feel too much, or nothing. This skill of interoception is something that comes on and offline depending on what state we are in.” – Holly Bridges, Author, Reframing Autism and expert of the Polyvagal Theory https://zebr.co/
Reference.Bohm D., Factor D & Garrett, P. ‘Dialogue – a proposal’. Burg, London. 1991.