Manage a Child’s Meltdown Stage by Stage

Manage a Child’s Meltdown Stage by Stage

As an autism parent, meltdowns are an unavoidable part of raising your child. Fortunately, there are ways to manage them. Understanding the phases of a meltdown will help you to prevent or lessen the behavior.

Learn from licensed clinical social worker Barbara Lester as she breaks down the process of a meltdown into phases, helping parents and caregivers to understand what to do at each stage of the meltdown.

Manage a Child’s Meltdown Stage by Stage
By: Barbara Lester, LCSW
Initial Air Date: Jun 3, 2012
Source: YouTube

What We Learned from this Video:

  • The build-up phase is what takes place between the trigger and the actual start of the meltdown. This is your best opportunity to prevent, or at least lessen, the meltdown.
  • During build-up, the part of your child’s brain responsible for reasoning is starting to be affected by the strong emotions they are feeling.
  • Don’t engage your child on the specifics of the situation. Your only concern should be calming them down.
  • Tag-teaming with another adult can help both of you maintain your calm when dealing with a meltdown.
  • Tell them what you want them to do, not what you don’t want them to do.
  • Have a plan in place that you’ve gone over with your child beforehand, such as having a place to calm down or having toys or music to help them calm down.
  • If you cannot prevent the actual meltdown from starting, your number one priority should be to maintain safety.
  • Move people away and put any dangerous or fragile objects out of reach.
  • Avoid physical restraint if at all possible. It can result in you or your child being harmed.
  • When the meltdown is over, soothe and comfort your child. 
  • Go back to the regular routine of the day. This is not a good time to try to process what happened.

Dealing with meltdowns requires an understanding of the structure of a meltdown, from its cause to its conclusion. Browse our free videos on everyday tips and behavior management for more advice on managing tantrums and meltdowns.

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