It is important to understand that autism spectrum disorder or ASD is a complex condition that may challenge parents. So, if a loved one in your life, especially your child, has autism, you will need knowledge and some useful techniques to give the best guide, care, and help to your child.
For instance, it will be helpful to be oriented with what causes their autism meltdowns every now and then and how to be prepared for them. Also, having an intimate knowledge of your kid's personality will improve the way you can handle this situation.
WHAT IS A MELTDOWN IN AUTISM?
It is an intense reaction to overwhelming scenarios by an individual. This means that person can't take in what is happening (with all the sensory overload) at the moment and loses control of themself.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON CAUSES OF MELTDOWNS?
There are specific triggers to meltdowns. They would include the following:
- The lack of ability to deal with boredom or to focus on something can lead to an outburst.
- Learning difficulties. The inability to comprehend a scenario, activity, or issue could lead to frustration.
- Sensory issues. For example, if your kid can't hear well or see well an audio or visual element that others can do without difficulty, they will question themselves and be overwhelming.
- Deal with an uncomfortable or challenging situation can lead to a meltdown.
HOW DO MELTDOWNS LOOK LIKE
They are reflected in a number of ways that your child may exhibits. Look for these signs below:
- Each child is unique. It could be a verbal sign like crying or shouting. It can be a physical gesture like biting or kicking.
- The kid could zone out, withdraw from reality, shut out, stare into space or make repetitive movements.
- The crying a youngster does could be uncontrollable or he/she will even scream and growl and then curl up into a human ball.
- The meltdown could be preceded by stimming. These are repetitive self-stimulatory behaviors such as spinning, shaking, rocking, and hand flapping.
- To make themselves calm, some children may pace around, ask questions repeatedly, rock back and forth, and/or hold their bodies very still.
DEALING WITH MELTDOWNS FOR THE LONG TERM
Meltdowns can occur anytime. You can handle these episodes two ways - through long-term mechanisms and present moment tactics.
These are the long term mechanisms that we recommend:
- Calming Routines. Let your kid be used to relaxing music. Walk with them throughout the neighborhood. Snug them in with a favorite stuffed toy. Make these consistent.
- Use of Calming Devices. Even when not in a panicky situation, make your child get used to calming devices like a fidget toy or a portable massage device.
- Make your home safe. Be sure that safety measures are in place throughout your house. This is because meltdowns can occur anytime and children under the spectrum are prone to accidents in the home because of their unpredictable movements.
- Diary or journal keeping. Keep a record of what happens during a meltdown. Or what you did before to prevent one. We tend to forget some important events that eventually help us in the present when we read them in the journal we keep.
- As much as possible, be physically present for that special person. If you can spend more quality time with your beloved kid, it will minimize the chances of a meltdown because he or she will feel your unconditional concern and love and that is very reassuring.
DEALING WITH THE MELTDOWN AS IT HAPPENS
This is the impromptu part. It unpredictably happens and you should take control of the situation.
- Stay calm all throughout. Do not add to the stress of the situation by being hysterical yourself. Control your emotions.
- This is not the time to be logical. Be patient. You can't reason it out with the person having a meltdown at this very moment. No amount of logical arguments can get through the person. Wait it out.
- Empathy at this time will work. If your child wants to talk, let it all flow out. Don't interrupt. Let your kid be the center of attention of your life at that very moment of the meltdown.
- Never give punishment. It will make your kid more embarrassed and confused.
- The calming devices should always be around. It would help if the fidget toy or anything that symbolizes comfort is brought along all the time, especially in public. It will calm the nerves.
Thank you for the article on meltdown, lock down/covid is making further difficult for a participant to self regulate.