There is no universal approach for handling meltdowns. When children with autism experience sensory overload, their reactions can be intense, and knowing how to respond thoughtfully in the moment can be challenging. Unfortunately, there is no magic solution to make meltdowns go away. But there are techniques and strategies to help manage a meltdown when your child feels overwhelmed. It is very important to stay calm and be there to support your child. Keep reading for some more tips on managing meltdowns.
One thing that can help is understanding the reason for the meltdown while recognizing that the triggers can vary significantly from child to child. For instance, your child may not want to do specific tasks. They may be nervous about school or going to an unfamiliar place. Or they may struggle with separation from their parent. Take note of the time and place of the meltdown and any overwhelming factors. Once you identify the trigger, you can see if there is a way to avoid it. Knowing the cause of the behavior isn’t required, but it helps to understand how to address it. In some cases, the trigger can be eliminated.
Make Your Child Feel Safe
Your priority during a meltdown is to ensure your child is physically safe. This may require you to turn off the music or leave a store in search of a quieter, more soothing environment. You want to create a peaceful, relaxing space where your child will feel safe. One way to do this is to build a fort or put a tent in a quiet spot. While this is a great way to reduce stress, it isn’t always an option. When you can’t find a quiet place to soothe your child, you can simply cradle them in your arms until they are. Don’t force them to do anything in this moment; just allow them to breathe and calm down until the meltdown subsides.
Engage in Familiar Routines
Whenever we get anxious, stressed, or angry, we fall back on the things that comfort us. The same is true for children, especially those on the autism spectrum. A solid routine they can fall back on can be a good solution. Having a favorite song on your phone might work, or your child can blow bubbles or sing a song. Remember to stick to things and activities that bring comfort and allow your child to relax.
The Connections Therapy Center
The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (301) 577-4333. Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.