It can be difficult for children to manage their emotions, but autistic kids have a harder time still. This then leads to the meltdowns, that can make managing the child a big challenge for the parent.
Depending on where your child falls on the autism scale, the meltdowns can be very severe, occurring almost every day. These meltdowns may be reaction to sensory overload, or it may just be an expression of the very many emotions they are feeling.
Unlike children without autism, the meltdowns are not to get attention or a particular thing, they are simply expressing their lack of control over their own emotions.
If managing their meltdowns is becoming too hard for you, you can also consult their doctor over at Kulsum International Hospital for professional opinion. You can also follow the following tips to get through the meltdown:
You never know when and where your child will get distressed. Hence, make sure that you always carry paraphernalia to soothe your child lest you be caught off-guard.
Moreover, calming your child down during a meltdown is probably something that you or those close to your family know. If you’re in public, and someone else tries to step in, even with best of intentions, stop them.
Channel it into heavy work
To help in diverting the energy from the emotions that are leading to the meltdown, channel it out of the body via physical exertion. That’s something not limited to autistic children; we also sometimes punch the wall or the pillow when we are extremely frustrated, and similar is the case with autistic children.
You can ask them to carry something, tell them to push something heavy so their energy gets a safe outlet.
In some cases, the action of chewing can also help the children through an episode of stress-induced meltdown. You can then get them toys or pencils that they can safely chew on.
Talk will not help your child. Arguing, reasoning, yelling etc. are all useless tactics.
Some autistic children respond well to pets. They use the pets for emotional support and thus, if you have a family pet, then usher the pet in during an episode of meltdown.
Recognize the signs
Tedious it may be, but you need to work on identifying the signs that might lead to a meltdown in your child. Avoid these triggers best possible then.
Keep sensory toys handy. Whenever your child is near a meltdown, you can then give them the toys that involve motor skills like squeezing etc. so that the child has a sensory outlet.
Some children might need their space before and during a meltdown. Making them feel crowded might enhance their feeling of distress. However, if they are in the danger of harming themselves, then perhaps stay put instead.
Some swings and trampolines, especially ones that are indoor, can also help your child get through the meltdown. These provide with the requisite sensory outlet, that then helps children in reeling back their emotions to the point where they calm down.
Through the meltdown, your child needs to know they are secure, as otherwise, it will make their condition worse. When you drape them with weighted blanket, you then provide them with the much-needed feelings of security.
Moreover, it may also help them with the sensory overload that led to this situation to begin with.
Word of caution
Autism is a spectrum disease, and the symptoms thus tend to vary. What may work for one child might not be something that your child can relate to. Hence, firstly know which techniques are likely to work for. The rest is trial and error approach for finding the right fit.
If nothing works for calming your child down through the meltdowns, then perhaps ask their Child specialist for help.