#Autism: Managing and/or preventing “Meltdowns” within reason!

Originally Posted Monday, July 22, 2013


#Autism Managing and or preventing meltdowns


Jr rarely has a “complete meltdown;” however he still has his “moments of dismay.”

I’ve learned how to “prevent” Jr’s meltdowns because at one point in time, I was ONLY managing them.

Managing them is the only option for some parents. However, for others, there’s room to “prevent” them.

Each parent/advocate/professional “has to discern” which child is applicable to each circumstance.

For the children who are “verbal” you can always attempt to have them communicate how they feel or what they want. Sometimes saying “I’m upset” is impossible. However, they may be able to say “Mommy/Daddy I don’t like or I don’t want that.”

For children who are NOT verbal, this is difficult. As Jr was always “verbal” however his speech was delayed because it was unintelligible. He grunted, screamed or made sounds from his favorite movies or TV shows.

Even with unintelligible speech it made “me feel equal” I’m not saying I was; I’m saying “I felt equal” to parents of children who could not speak.

I’d “make” Jr point to things in order to communicate. I’d refuse to do things for and with him; until he “signaled” to me.

I desperately wanted and needed him to communicate with or without the use of words.

He realized that “he needed to verbally communicate with me” beyond saying Mommy! Thirsty! No! No!” so he began to try to talk and that was hilarious. He’d say all kinds of things, especially repeating what he’d heard.

TV Shows like Handy Manny; The Little Einsteins; Little Bill; Blues Clues; The Backyardigans; Calliou, Hannah Montana; The Wizards of Waverly Place; Spongebob Squarepants; Garfield; Sixteen; The Adventures of Superman; Astroboy; Ironman; Spiderman and a host of others have really helped to “bring him out of his shell.”

In the past and SOMETIMES in the present, I can only manage the meltdowns.

Jr used to have a habit of literally writing on the wall, especially when he “thought” his father and I were oblivious or asleep.

I was at odds with myself as to what to do. I didn’t want to keep spanking his hand or butt; because like me, he seemed unmoved by that.

Yet, when I took away his privileges; that’s where the progress started.

Now that Jr’s older “prevention” IS my best option. In the past, I’d allow Jr to “grunt or ball his fists up” when he became “upset!”

Now Jr is NOT allowed to do that, not in my presence anyway.

I’ve taught Jr how to “cool down” when he get’s upset. Cooling down consists of him: removing himself temporarily from the person or environment; talking it out; sometimes there are small rewards or perks given to assist in the cooling down.

The best thing is “him being able to tell me” how he feels about something. For so long I was always “guessing” and thank God he gave me the wisdom to make such educated guesses.

I know that Jr does not like to be in his  room too long by himself, although he values his private time. So I check on him periodically when he’s home from school, he comes into our room to have movie time as a family ,etc..

I’m also aware that Jr does not like anyone to invade his personal space and can become “physically or verbally aggressive” if it happens and he’s annoyed beyond his capacity of patience and humility.

I also know that IF the authoritative figure is “NOT listening” to Jr he will become frustrated and he CAN walk out! He’s only walked out of his classroom one time. Thank God he didn’t go far and he was only gone approximately 5 minutes per the teacher’s account. Why he was even “out” of the classroom still ruffles my feathers… Now Averting…..

So with that being said, I’ve had to “instruct and teach Jr” how to verbalize “how he feels, before he acts!”

I highly suggest that you as the parent, advocate or professional take heed to their “triggers.”

Knowing the child whose diagnosed with Autism’s triggers are essential in managing and/or preventing meltdowns.