Autism meltdown (A guide)

autism meltdown

In this brief article, we will be discussing autism meltdown, the symptoms of an autism meltdown, how to deal with an autism meltdown, and more information about autism meltdown.

What is an autism meltdown in affected children?

An autism meltdown in affected children is an extreme response to stressful situations.

This kind of meltdown can occur when someone becomes fully overwhelmed by their current situation and temporarily loses behavioural control. 

This kind of meltdown can be manifested verbally or physically or in both methods.

People who have this kind of psychological disorder will experience these kinds of meltdowns. 

Most people would have difficulty trying to understand the difference between these kinds of meltdowns and temper tantrums.

In this case, it is vital that people are aware of this kind of meltdown and know how to deal with it when it comes.

What is the difference between autism meltdown and a temper tantrum?

The difference between an autism meltdown and a temper tantrum is that it is not a response to bad behaviour when the child is being condemned for this kind of behaviour.

This kind of meltdown only occurs when the situation overwhelms the affected child

This kind of meltdown can be a response to let other people know that the affected child is stressed. 

Autism meltdown (A guide)

How to deal with an autism meltdown?

You can deal with an autism meltdown by doing the following tips below.

Most parents who have an affected child engaging in this kind of meltdown would try their best to comfort their child since they can’t handle it when their child is clearly suffering or they just find this meltdown being annoying in their child.

Whatever the cause, it is important to minimize the occurrence of this meltdown.

This can start by understanding that this kind of meltdown is a physiological response from the affected child and not some tactic to get attention from parents. 

Children with this kind of psychological disorder have different brain formations that can manifest this kind of meltdown.

This is why you should be understanding to calm them down in the best ways.

The following are the best ways for you to deal with your child who is going through this kind of meltdown:

Be empathetic

Empathy allows you to listen to your affected child without judgement.

You need to understand that the expression of emotions is important in children since this can allow them to release their distressing emotions which can avoid the disadvantages of keeping those emotions for a long time.

You should try to make your child understand how to express emotions in a healthy way which can help them be motivated to control this meltdown.

This behaviour can also help your child trust you to talk about some emotions that they might be feeling from some distressing situations.  

Autism meltdown (A guide)

Make your affected child feel safe and loved

When your affected child becomes too overwhelmed about his or her emotions, he or she might not hear you anymore.

You might want to talk down your child to calm him or her down but this only serves to give him or her panic.

You can stay close to your child when he or she is still feeling the overwhelming emotions.

This can help them feel that you are comforting them and that you care about them. 

You only need to do this to make them feel like nothing can hurt them and that they have you to take care of them.

Eliminate punishments

Punishments can make children feel ashamed and afraid of themselves.

Children with this psychological disorder can’t help it when they have these meltdowns so they shouldn’t be punished by them.

In this case, you should focus more on being there for them when they are going through these meltdowns.

Autism meltdown (A guide)

Concentrate on your affected child, not staring bystanders

Your concentration should be your child who is going through the natural sign of a meltdown.

You might feel overwhelmed when the affected child is having a meltdown in public.

You might think that they are judging for having a child who is having a meltdown and question your parenting skills.

You should ignore these thoughts and remember that your affected child is suffering and he or she needs your support.

Bring out your sensory toolkit for your affected child

You should bring some sensory tools that can help calm your child when he or she is having a meltdown.

These tools can be toys whether fidget toys or sunglasses that they can play with.

You shouldn’t force these toys on them but if they give some signals that they want them such as looking at you then you should give the toy to them.

Autism meltdown (A guide)

Teach them coping techniques once they’re calm

You can teach your child some coping techniques to help them know what to do when they are about to experience this meltdown.

You can do this by telling them what occurs when they are about to have the meltdown so that they can warn you when it comes again.

You could teach them how to breathe even when they are experiencing this meltdown so that they can calm down temporarily.

You can help them develop these techniques but make sure that you take note of your child’s discomfort and ask them what is making them uncomfortable so that you can proceed with learning the techniques with their input.

Determining the causes of an autism meltdown

As mentioned before, this kind of meltdown can occur due to a feeling of being overwhelmed in a distressing situation.

You can help your child determine how this kind of meltdown can occur.

You could try bringing a diary with you and observe your child whenever he or she has this kind of meltdown.

You can record the times that this kind of meltdown can occur and know some preceding incidents that could be causes of this meltdown. 

Reducing the triggers of an autism meltdown

When you have a clear idea of what triggers this kind of meltdown in your affected child, you are more likely to control it.

The following are typical triggers of this meltdown.

Sensory considerations

Many children with this psychological disorder have different sensory sensitivities.

Some children could be overly sensitive to sensory stimuli while others are under-sensitive to sensory stimuli.

An example of this is hearing a loud announcement in a train situation which can lead to a meltdown to affected children who are overly sensitive to sensory stimuli.

In this case, you can help your affected child by letting him or her wear headphones which can keep him or her safe from sensory stress.

You can also help your child by letting go of sensory stimuli that can distress him or her such as removing bright lights and sounds in his or her bedroom. 

Change in routine in the affected child’s life

A consistency in the affected child’s routine is important in their lives.

These affected children can feel panic rising when they are forced in a sudden change of routine which can trigger this meltdown.

You can help your child get used to a sudden change of routine by making him or her adjust slowly to the change.

You can do this by developing an elaborate plan that can include giving your child a toy when he or she has to face the sudden change or get him or her familiarized by a road route by making some slight changes to the route which can help your child adapt slowly and calm down when routine is changed.

Anxiety

The world is very unpredictable for a child with this psychological disorder and this can only trigger anxiety when they are not ready to face this unpredictability.

You can help your child minimize this feeling by teaching him or her techniques that can help him or her deal with this feeling when it occurs.

There are phone apps that your child can use to help him or her deal with this feeling and cope with life in a calm manner.

You can also teach your child some breathing techniques as mentioned before to help him or her calm down when need to be.

You could also engage in some desensitization techniques where the child will have to get used to a certain stressful situation while staying calm and the parent can support the child when he or she is able to keep calm in a long time.

Communication difficulties

Children with this psychological disorder have difficulty in talking about what they want which means you are going to help them know how to express their needs better.

You can do this by making them hear you speak about your needs and try to let them follow.

You could reward them if they are able to do this so that they will know what to do.

The following are other materials that you can use to help them speak their needs to you:

  • visual supports 
  • social stories 
  • Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) for the child’s communication needs
  • worry books
  • written information
  • modifying your verbal communication for your child’s communication needs
  • using technology such as tablets and voice software, instant messaging etc for your child’s communication needs
  • increasing comprehension of emotions and social skills to let your child know what other people are talking to them about.

Conclusion

In this brief article, we have discussed autism meltdown, the symptoms of an autism meltdown, how to deal with an autism meltdown, and more information about autism meltdown.

If you have any questions about autism meltdown, please let us know and the team will gladly answer your queries.

FAQs: autism meltdown

Do autism meltdowns improve with age?

Yes, autism meltdowns improve with age.

A study has shown that most teens and adults with this kind of psychological disorder have less chronic symptoms and behaviours when they grow up.

Although not every adult with this kind of psychological disorder will get better.

Some people who have mental retardation may have worse symptoms when they get older. 

Can temper tantrums be a sign of autism?

Yes, temper tantrums can be a sign of autism.

This kind of sign is accompanied with other signs such as an excessive resistance to change and over- or under-sensitivity to sights and sounds.

Other signs might be obvious to loved ones such as a child who can read but can’t play the game of peek-a-boo. 

What triggers autism meltdowns?

Sensory differences, changes in routine, anxiety, and communication complications are common triggers of autism meltdowns.

The fact that you know what triggers your affected child’s meltdowns can help you minimize the occurrence of the trigger and minimize the occurrence of these meltdowns. 

What does an autistic meltdown feel like?

An autistic meltdown feels like anxiety where they engage in pacing and seeking reassurance such as repetitive questioning or physical signs of anxiety such as rocking or becoming very still.

This kind of meltdown can be preceded by signs of distress which is sometimes called as the rumble stage. 

Is level 2 autism high functioning?

Yes, level 2 autism is high-functioning. This kind of autism is also called Asperger’s syndrome by doctors.

People who have this kind of autism would need more support such as psychological therapies like speech therapy or social skills training.

Citations

Healthline. When My Son With Autism Melts Down, Here’s What I Do.

National Autistic Society. Meltdowns. 

Autism meltdown (A guide)

Mary Grace B Quitalig

Mary Grace B. Quitalig is a Registered Psychometrician. She has a BA in Psychology. She is experienced in administering, interpreting, and scoring psychological tests in which the results are used to grant admission of students in a school. She is also experienced in interviewing children who have undergone trauma and students who are in need of additional counselling for previous risky behaviours such as self-harming. She is currently working on articles about the different fields of psychology and various topics that surround our modern cultures such as activities during holidays and celebrities.