In this video, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) Barbara Lester discusses strategies which parents can employ to help their child with autism get through a meltdown. Lester discusses phases of a meltdown, starting with the trigger. Although it’s best to avoid situations which might trigger a meltdown, it isn’t always possible to do so.
The next phase after a trigger is the buildup, and this is when Lester says there is the best opportunity to prevent or lessen the meltdown. During this phase, it is important for the parent to remember to stay calm. It can be difficult, because a meltdown can also trigger strong emotion in parents, but strong emotions from the parental figure usually don’t help to ease the situation.
It is also important to prevent harm to others or harm to the child themselves during a lash out, and maintain your space if necessary. If you know your child is prone to aggressive meltdowns, Lester says to plan ahead for such behavior.
When the aggressive behavior has settled, Lester stresses the importance of the recovery phase, soothing and comforting the child to the extent possible without reinforcing the behavior. She also suggests returning to the normal routine of the day, and possibly addressing the behavior at a later time.
Manage a Child’s Meltdown Stage by Stage
By: Barbara Lester, LCSW
Initial Air Date: Jun 3, 2012