Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Handle an Autism Meltdown

Having an autistic child can be quite challenging sometimes. My child will sometimes have what we call "nuclear" meltdowns. Sometimes when he does this, he can scream non stop for hours at a time and it's so hard to figure out if he's screaming because he is in pain or he's just not happy. I have done a few things that seems to calm him when this happens, so it might help some of you.

1. The first thing I do when he's having a screaming fit is I will give him some pain reliever like Motrin to see if it's a pain thing, or him being frustrated. If he calms down after 20 or so minutes, I know he must be hurting, like an ear infection.

2. If he continues to scream, I get a blow dryer and put it on the cool setting and blow it on his back. For some reason, this calms him.

3. If you have them, blow bubbles

4. Give them a newspaper or magazine to shread

5. Give the child a warm bath.(this method usually doesn't work on my son when he is screaming, as he will not sit still)

6. Take them outside to swing on the swing set if you have one.

The most frustrating part is trying to figure out what makes him so upset. There have been many times when I've had to take him out at 2am to swing. Sometimes if none of the above help, try and find something to distract the child. Usually the blow dryer method works best for us. When he does have a meltdown, it usually only last about 40 min. Before, it would last at least 2 hours.

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Shelley Ryan

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