Autism spectrum disorder severely impacts a child’s life—and it can be pretty challenging. Parents want to make the most of their lives and ease their struggles. That’s why there are different types of therapies that can help an individual with autism live a normal life, such as color therapy.
What Is Color Therapy?
No person in this world doesn’t have a favorite color. That color affects their mood by bringing them joy and peace or reminding them of a fond memory or activity. Many people fill their rooms with their favorite colors, but what effect does color have on children with autism spectrum disorder?
Color therapy, or chromotherapy, is a method that uses a combination of light and primary colors to treat physical ailments and mental health. Color affects our moods and biology; that’s why being in a dark room with fluorescent light can make us anxious.
How Does It Work?
Color therapy is based on the premise that colors evoke different responses. Some colors are stimulating, others soothing—colors impact a person’s energy level, appetite, mood, and even decision-making.
HealthyPlace.com suggested that color therapy positively impacts academic performance, asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, aggressive behavior, dyslexia, epilepsy, insomnia, stress, and lethargy. It can combat various ailments. However, colors can also have negative effects. Photosensitive epilepsy is the exposure to flashing lights at specific intensities that trigger seizures. Certain colors are more likely to cause epileptic fits, studies found.
The Chakra Rainbow of Color Therapy
Color therapy balances the body’s energy centers, also known as chakras. The concept of chakras dates back to ancient Egypt. The people used solarium rooms constructed with colored glass for therapy. Today, many experts acknowledge the potential of art therapy in the autism community, which includes color.
The colors in the chakra rainbow are:
ROOT: It impacts survival instincts, stamina, and passion. Red stimulates circulation.
SACRAL: It’s the optimism chakra that connects pleasure, enthusiasm, and sexuality. Orange is an antibacterial agent and eases digestion.
SOLAR PLEXUS: The willpower chakra is most often associated with happiness. Yellow aids the lymphatic system.
HEART: Tied to balance and love is the acceptance chakra. The color green helps one fight depression.
THROAT: Blue is calming and eliminates toxins. The focus of the expression chakra is communication and knowledge.
THIRD EYE: Intuition is mainly associated with divination; that’s why indigo aids headaches.
CROWN: The head is associated with wisdom, imagination, and spiritual awakening. Violet can calm the nervous system.
Autism and Perception of Color
Children with autism may be more susceptive to specific colors because they react differently than neurotypical peers. People with ASD have abnormalities in the eye structure and chemical imbalances. 85% of children with autism see colors more intensely than others.
As a result, if children with autism spectrum see a primary color that expresses danger, they will stay away from that color as much as possible. The color red, for example, gives a sense of pain and anguish. Because of the way their brains are wired, it will be hard to integrate and process sensory and visual information. Exposure to strong and bright colors can overwhelm the child, so it’s best to surround them with muted or lighter colors.
For example, decorating a child’s room or classroom is more than coordinating colors. You have to pair the right soothing colors to promote focus and learning. While it might vary from child to child, some colors are universal.
The Benefits of Coloring Therapy
- Reduces the severity of autism symptoms. Color therapy helps children with autism stay calm.
- Reduces the discomfort. Your home is one of the few environments where you have control. Select muted colors for furniture and walls to ease your child’s discomfort as much as possible.
- Helps understand your child better. You can find a specialist that can work with your kid and help you understand which color works better. You will know how to make your child feel better through social interaction.
- Boosts self-confidence. Everyone needs self-confidence. If you praise the child while coloring, it will give them a sense of accomplishment, pride, and joy.
- Bond with your child. Coloring is something you can do with your little one. It will help you bond with your child and form a closer relationship.
- Coloring is positive. Coloring is a calming activity and a self-expression tool for many autistic children. Crayons also enhance motor skills and improve hand-eye coordination.
Integrating Colors into Your Child’s Life
If you want to know how your child responds to colors, it’s best to introduce them to crayons early. By doing this, you will find out which colors your child can work with and help them learn to color. Coloring is an immersive and healthy exercise that is also fun for many children.
Color Yoga and Meditation
Color yoga is precisely what it sounds like: a blend of chakra-opening poses and color concentration. The participants can wear color glasses in the color-lit studio. Yoga and meditation focus on the powers of the chakra rainbow, taking intentional breaths, and visualizing yourself surrounded by your favorite colors.
When one looks at art, the brain is stimulated, releasing chemical dopamine that promotes feelings of affection. Art therapy is an effective method to aid emotional and physical health. Repetitive exercise can help a person gain elasticity, strength, and balance. Art therapy helps boost creative expression, relieve stress, and create a calming effect for mental well-being.
Read also Art Therapy Activities for Autistic Children.
Peter Mandel, a German naturopath and acupuncturist, developed colorpuncture. It involves the application of colored light frequencies on the skin. He views the body and mind as a single continuum informed by light. Each color has a different wavelength that stimulates intracellular communication. It helps release psychological stress and trauma.
When creating a sensory room, it’s essential to consider the color. Earthy tones of brown absorb light rather than reflect it, and blues, greens, purples, or gray are soothing. It’s best to avoid patterns and prints that overstimulate and make sure the paint is allergy- and asthma-friendly.
Colors are everywhere, and you have to adapt to your child’s preferences. Colors might even be the reason why your child is drawn to a particular object, cartoon, or video game. While repetition is one of the answers, colors also play a significant role.
Here are some tools you can use:
- Crayola Color Kit
- FunzBo Arts and Crafts Supplies
- 123 things Big Jumbo Coloring Book
- Rainbow Scratch Art
- Washable Neon Paint
- Dot Market Set
What’s important to remember is that you can do color therapy at home. You can color your child’s room, and even the toys they play with can be used as a form of color therapy. Try to find your child’s favorite color and decorate the room with it. Choose pale and dull colors to make the room a safe environment.