Need help with meltdowns

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-20-2010
Need help with meltdowns
3
Thu, 08-26-2010 - 10:57pm

I've already gotten several good general ideas on here, so I thought I'd throw this one out.

Rachel, single mom to

Ingrid
Kale
Daniel
Reagan

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 12:33am

In true meltdown mode, even if you can figure out/know the problem, he may not be able to respond to solutions when in meltdown. He probably has gone into total sensory overload and is unresponsive to punishment or problem solving in that mode.

A great GREAT book I would HIGHLY recomdend is called "Asperger syndrome and Difficult Moments" by (I believe) Brenda Smith-Myles. It discusses the "Rage cycle" and what to do. It can really aide in understanding asperger meltdowns and how to deal with them better than I can in a short post.

For now, however, I would suggest using sensory strategies to calm him and as he calms and gets near to calm set small expectations he can be successful with and praise him for those. For instance, in my class I have a sensory area. If a child is in meltdown they take a break there with heavy toys and fidgets until they can demonstrate some calm. Then we bring simple, independent tasks into that area to work on until the child is back to "baseline" and calm then we get them back into the classroom schedule for the day.

Also, I would not discuss the issue or the behavior with the child until they are cognitively in a place where that can be a positive learning experience. Sometimes that takes a day or so depending on the child. It is good to deal with things right away if you can but I know for my son at that age, discussing it within a day or so (or sometimes at all) sent him STRAIGHT back into meltdown. Now he is much better (he is 14) but I still have to be careful and wait until he is ready. Though sometimes he is just beeing a poopoo head and needs a firm reminder to knock it off.

OH that reminds me of an important point. A meltdown doesn't mean he gets out of work. Don't allow him to become "spoiled" or learn that behavior is a way to escape work or what he doesn't want to do. This can happen often. If it is too much we can modify, adjust, accomodate what the expectations are but still have expectations. "Ok, so you don't want to do X but you still need to do a chore. It can be Y or Z. Your choice". KWIM? Make is successful but meltdown and calm down doesn't mean we get TV instead of work because we threw a fit.

Hope that helps.

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Photobucket
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-28-2008
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 4:33pm

Renee has excellent advice.

I just thought I'd share what specifically works with our DS when he's heading towards or is in a meltdown. It's better if you can get to him in it's early stages before it comes full blown, but it works even if he's already there.

We literally send him to the showers. Honestly, there is something about running a warm bath or taking a hot shower that resets him internally. We've even had an occasional success where he's stomped off telling us he's headed for a bath when he got frustrated. This is just one sensory strategy, but it works for us.

Other sensory ideas are rocking chairs, tents, hitting pillows, yoga poses , a sensory box with beans or rice in it, even just a drink of water can work, etc.

Obviously, it's hard to do the shower idea if you're out in public, but it's gives you some idea of what kind of calming sensory experiences work with ASD kids.

HTH

Andrea, mom to

Graham
Miles
Anson

Andrea, mom to

Graham
Miles
Anson
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-17-2007
Fri, 08-27-2010 - 4:51pm

"Close your eyes and go to neutral and go to your neutral place"

This is a strategy we use with some success. It has to be taught during a time when they are NOT acting up. Eventually, they learn to do it when they feel the initial surge. They need to come up with a place where they feel safe and calm and learn to imagine it. We go over what neutral is- not upset, not happy, not excited- clam and stationary.

Closing of the eyes, shuts down the brain that is producing the chemicals that contribute to a meltdown. The chemicals are very short lived and dissipate quickly. After eyes close, the behavior is chosen, not chemically driven. This works for parents too :)

If he is still mad -with is eyes closed, I let him know that he is choosing this behavior and he needs to make the choice to go to neutral.

It takes some time to get the child to understand that it works and there is an alternative. This is a learned strategy.

In cases where ODS snaps back with an angry answer, I say, "Could you try that again?". Then he checks himself and usually answers back with a calmer tone and more polite language. There have been a few times when I have asked him to "try it again" three or four times. Then I praise him for the correction. This has prevented many meltdowns as it makes him down shift before he gets out of control.