Sometimes over the course of reading many blogs and Autism resources the stars align, maybe just before or after a full moon, and multiple bloggers and others write about the same topic.
That is a wonderful thing because it means learning about many perspectives and ideas on a subject all at the same time, which gives me a rounder and more thorough understanding.
The alignment that took place recently was on the topic of Autistic meltdowns. Meltdowns are different than temper tantrums because they are generally triggered by something – sensory, transitions, or anxiety, for example – and reflect an emotional overload response rather than being a power and control tactic (like a tantrum).
They can appear to take place without warning (because others are not aware of the emotional build-up prior to the meltdown), and can be violent, and long-lasting, which makes meltdowns a common topic of discussion in the Autism community.
There were four perspectives shared about meltdowns recently:
The Mighty – What a Meltdown Feels Like for Someone on the Autism Spectrum – This is a wonderful article describing the meltdown experience from the perspective of someone on the Autism spectrum. My favorite line was A cool drink and dark room, as well as clear, short sentences, will all help.
Ellen Notbohm – Autism parenting: Taming those public meltdowns. Yes, you can. – A comprehensive article offering steps parents can use to build a child’s tolerance to situations that trigger meltdowns, including not surprising the child, considering the time of day for outings, and keeping outings short in time.
The last component of the meltdown alignment came from a question asked on Facebook:
Meltdowns…. how do you survive them? and how do you stop them? Some pretty terrible ones lately….and coming more frequently- and he is getting stronger. Share your advice ….. —-Mrs. Bacon 🙁 Posted by Bacon and Juice Boxes on Saturday, 11 April 2015
Several people offered suggestions and comments in response, including ideas such as a visual schedule so there are no surprises, and distractions like chocolate (we used cold apple juice).
Here are three videos from a much larger video library available on Autistic Genius’ YouTube Channel.
The 8 Second Rule – Waiting 8 seconds to allow a person on the spectrum to formulate a response to your question.
Echolalia Explained! – Understanding echolalia as a form of communication.
Look This Way – A better way to get my son’s attention!
Originally published on Autism Mom April 2015.