Parents of children with special needs are like treasure-hunters, adept at discovering the newest ways to help their kids thrive. But not all methods for improving our children’s lives are new. In fact, some of them are extremely old. Aromatherapy, for instance, has been used for thousands of years cosmetically and medicinally. Today, holistic health care providers have continued to discover its benefits. The benefits of essential oils for kids with disabilities are certainly noteworthy.
Essential Oils Reduce Anxiety
When you walk into a house filled with familiar scents, it can be a soothing experience. But some scents—such as lavender, bergamot, vanilla, and jasmine—are naturally soothing even if they aren’t familiar. Because of this, these types of essential oils are often used to calm the nerves and reduce anxiety.
If your child is coming down after an anxiety attack or a meltdown, taking them to a quiet area with a diffuser gently filling the air with a calming scent may be helpful. Or, if your child has trouble sleeping at night, consider using a diffuser with lavender, frankincense, or chamomile to relax their mind and soothe your child to sleep.
They Improve Focus
For kids with autism and ADHD, focus can be a challenge. Fortunately, some scents are associated with improving energy, motivation, and focus. Such scents include lemon, rosemary, and peppermint. Besides helping kids stay focused on the information you’re communicating to them, essential oils can also help kids retain the information. One 2016 study even confirmed that school-age kids exposed to rosemary essential oil had an easier time remembering numbers.
They Help Those with Sensory Sensitivities
Children with sensory sensitivities take in too much stimuli, such as sight, sound, touch, and especially smell, at once. For these kids, certain scents can become overstimulating or distressing. Cloths soaked in an essential oil and sealed in a bag can help them cope when they run into uncomfortable scents. And for kids who are under-sensitive to smell, aromatherapy can help them build sensory awareness.
Should I Use Essential Oils for My Kids?
Despite the numerous benefits of essential oils for kids with disabilities, oils aren’t the answer for every child. There are a few points to consider before you try essential oils with your kids:
Essential oils can be incredibly beneficial for kids with sensory sensitivities, but they can also have the opposite effect if a child decides they don’t like the scent or if the scent is too strong. Start with a more diluted oil to get your child used to the smell.
Not all essential oils are created equal, and many may have additives that you don’t want to use with your children. Do your research on a brand before buying from them. You can also start a sensory garden for your child and create your own essential oils. You can buy ethanol recovery systems that fit on your kitchen counter and that are relatively simple to use for this purpose.