Tag Archives: meltdowns

Reblog: ‘Calming a Meltdown…’


Meltdowns are something Autism Parents are quite used to. They’re much different than a normal tantrum, though we autism parents would prefer a tantrum versus having to handle a meltdown, especially in the store. Honestly, I don’t mind a meltdown at home, as I can readily handle them. But I cannot handle one as easily in the store. What’s worse is all the stares and rude comments from all the those lurking around when my daughter has a meltdown.

Anything can start one and it’s mostly from her not being able to handle a situation.

firealarm

For instance, when her school first started practicing fire drills, any time my daughter would see a red fire alarm, anywhere, she would panic. It would lead to screaming and crying, fire, fire, get out, get out. I try to calm her by telling her that the fire alarms aren’t working, rarely does that help, but it’s worth trying. I try to hold her, hug her, use soothing words to try and calm her, all the while moving to another aisle so that the fire alarm is out of sight. Then, point out all the cool things around us, like a neat toy she may like. Distraction works best, most of the time.

Meanwhile, people begin to swarm in, pointing, talking amongst themselves, staring at us. The best way for strangers to handle this situation is to move on. It doesn’t help that parent at all to point and stare. It adds stress to the already embarrassing situation that parent is having to endure at that moment.

I was in the check out lane one day, when my daughter started to heave a meltdown. The checker didn’t hand her a toy fast enough, plus it was in a sack. The checker looked at me awkwardly as I said, “it’s okay, she’s just having a moment, it’s just something children with autism do.” Her reply made me frown, “I thought all kids do that.” Yes, and no. What’s worse, an older gentleman behind me began to giggle at my daughter’s outburst. I did my best to ignore him and held my tongue. When we got outside my daughter’s meltdown grew worse as she started to toss things out of the buggy. I can only pray that we get to the car without being hit by someone speeding through the parking lot….it does happen, even right outside the doors of the store.

At home, her kicking and screaming turns into her jumping up and landing on her knees, to banging her head on the floor or anything that she can hit her head on. Usually I let her kick and scream, but when she starts banging her head, I’ll scoop her up and rock her in the rocking chair. Her meltdown may last from a few minutes, to hours, but I’ve noticed that the rocking does help.

Here’s a blog post from ‘The Autism Site (dot) com’ on ‘Calming A Meltdown Can Be Frustratingly Difficult’

Advertisements

Rewards


 

What does ‘reward’ mean to you?

 

In the autism world, there are many challenges that are faced every single day. Yet some of those challenges can be very rewarding, for both child and parent. I can think of many challenges we’ve both faced, that in the end, we were equally rewarded – her reward was achieving something out of the ordinary, achieving a goal, breaking out of a habit. For me it was seeing her do something and knowing that she knew she did it without having a complete meltdown, or after the meltdown was over, she saw that what she did, was actually okay.

The first rewarding moment that I can remember, was the first time she sat in a barber chair without assistance or without me holding her down while she got her hair cut. Yes, you read that right. For most children with autism, getting a haircut is a HUGE challenge. I had to sit in the chair with her in my lap, hold her legs and arms as still as possible, all the while listening to her scream and cry as the stylist cut her hair. It’s just a part of that sensory/autism area…someone different combing my hair, that isn’t my hairbrush, etc. The stylist having to spray their hair with water isn’t a big hit either. Plus, the scissors aren’t a favorite thing – something sharp and pointed, coming towards me…

I take her to a place where the hair stylist is familiar with children with special needs; she has a special needs child of her own. Not only that, but the place is very welcoming to all children, especially those with special needs. They can play with all kinds of neat and cool toys. Plus, the stylist doesn’t even have to cut their hair while they’re sitting in a chair. I walked in one day and saw her sweeping up hair from around the train table – the child was preoccupied with the train set, that that was all they were going to do. My daughter was the same way, I couldn’t get her away from the train set, or coax her to sit in the chair to get her hair cut, so the stylist proceeded to cut her hair from where my daughter played. No problems, whatsoever!

Maybe there’s a fear of sitting in a barber chair, who knows!

The last time I took my daughter to get her hair cut, she sat in the chair without a fuss. Cartoons was playing on the TV The stylist was able to find a cartoon my daughter liked on the TV, which kept her preoccupied long enough for the stylist to go to work. It was only when the cartoon ended did she realize what was going on and started to squirm, though the stylist quickly finished, yet did an amazing job. The stylist then rewarded my daughter with a toy of her choosing, for her being so brave and not making a fuss.

This little barber shop also has an awesome store where I can buy sensory toys for my daughter. I even purchased a few puzzles and a few dry erase alphabet mats for my daughter to learn tracing her ABC’s on.

My daughter now calls the barber shop, the train place, because of the train set kids can play with while waiting to get their hair cut. There’s also a dollhouse and a few sensory toys around the store where kids can freely play.

Another Morning Meltdown


Every morning, for the past few weeks, my daughter has been having these meltdowns when it’s time to get out the door. Since she has to have one specific toy to take to daycare with her, I already have it sitting with my book bag, all ready for us to grab and go. Now she doesn’t want to just take that one toy, she has to search for more to take, which takes much longer to get out the door. I’m lifting bed sheets, looking under the bed, through the toy box, in the doll house, around the TV, just looking for one specific toy she has to have. You may think this is just too much, that I should just let it be. But how would you handle it? If I didn’t let her take this specific toy she’ll immediately throw herself on the floor and begin hitting herself…yes, these are her meltdowns. I’m not talking just light slaps, she has her hand in a fist and hits herself in the head or on her arms.

It doesn’t stop there. Once we found this toy, she runs outside and tosses it off the porch then sits down hard and begins to cry and hit herself because she wants the toy she tossed. I’m uncertain to how I should handle this but to go pick it up and give it to her. That only makes it worse as she wants to be the one picking it up. If I were to pick it up and hand it to her, her screams get louder and she hits herself harder. I then start to get embarrassed thinking the neighbors are probably thinking I’m hurting this poor child. I’m not physically hurting her and I won’t.

I’m at a lost for how to handle this situation. It makes me late for class each day, no matter how early I get us up and ready. She’s also become resilient in having me change her clothes. She refuses to use the potty anymore, so it’s back to diapers, to which she won’t let me change.

It’s like every month a new thing in her Autism emerges and it tests me to how I can cope or to how I can handle it. Some of the things I can handle and have showed her teachers at daycare how they too can handle the situation. But now it’s getting to a point I’m just stressed and completely worn down to tears and feel like having a meltdown myself. I know that can’t be the option. I have to stay strong and keep trudging and pray that I get through the rest of the day.

My daughter is only 3 1/2 but will she grow out of this? Or will it get worst? Parents with Autistic children I’m seeking your help, direction, tips, encouragement in how to handle situations such as these. What do you do to help your child get ready in the morning? Do you have a special routine? A particular way of going through your morning to insure a meltdown doesn’t happen?