One of the challenges of raising a child with autism is coping with meltdowns, which can be unexpected. Something as simple as a change in routine or environment or the rubbing of a new shirt can be hard for children to deal with. Meltdowns can happen anytime, anywhere, but there are ways that you can help minimize and cope with these situations more effectively.
Know your child’s triggers: Every child is different. Learn to recognize what might set your child off. It could be sensory issues, too much noise, too many people, not having a specific color item, or having someone disturb their things. You cannot always anticipate what you might encounter, but be alert and try to identify signs your child might be heading toward a meltdown.
Avoid overstimulation: While this is not always possible, try to avoid restaurants or stores at their busiest times. If you think noise may be an issue, have noise reducing headphones on hand. Try to plan shorter trips and take breaks so that your child can decompress. Also, prepare them ahead of time for what to expect.
Use distractions: If your child is on the brink of a meltdown, try to distract them by talking about their favorite book or character. Spend a few minutes playing with their favorite toy, counting red cars, looking out the window, or singing a song. Try to get their mind off of whatever might bother them and onto something more familiar or soothing.
Find a quiet place: Removing them from the situation can help. If they are getting overwhelmed, find a quiet place to sit and relax for a few minutes. Consider using a weighted vest or blanket, or holding them in a tight hug to provide deeper pressure.
Meltdowns happen, and they are a part of life whether your child has autism or not. However, PediaPlex can work with your child on behavior, sensory issues, and more to help them become more independent and overcome challenging situations. ABA therapy can be a great place to start.
Share with us some strategies you’ve found helpful for coping with meltdowns or how ABA therapy has helped!