Meltdown: I cant adapt!

“Sometimes  in a busy place, I may need to escape I am not being rude I m helping myself “: Tina J.Richardson

One of the biggest weaknesses a person can have is a loss of self-control.consequense of loose of self-control whole atmosphere air is affected. is  When we push a child, especially one prone to anxiety and rigidity, their natural instinct is to dig their heels in and hold on is much more common with a person with special needs. Maybe the action of expressing might be different from any other kid or a person but the level and the extent are much higher than any other kid or person. This means they may reach plight more quickly. Occasionally, this plight is visible through either “a meltdown or shutdown”.  Each kid will experience differently and act differently.

 What exactly is Meltdown?

 During a meltdown, a child may show extreme behaviors like shouting, self-harm, aggressive behavior and repetitive behaviors, there may be a risk of harm to the person themselves or to others. Meltdowns can be very distressing for the person with autism, as well as the people supporting them. Other behaviors that may appear are less explosive but are equally common, such as refusing to interact, withdrawing from situations they find challenging, or avoiding them altogether. Parents, teachers caregivers need to understand the situation very closely and understand the situation.   A meltdown is ‘fierce response to enormous situations’.  When a child especially a young child is completely fierce in the situation, and their condition is difficult to express that inappropriate way, it is understandable that the result is a meltdown.

What could be the reasons for a meltdown!

Sudden abrupt changes (novel situations), Transitions( going somewhere without telling a child, shifting without telling him ), Sensory overload, Cognitive overload, 5. Being given too many choices at once, Vague or unclear instructions, and/or commands, Being asked open-ended questions that are too broad, Being forced to be in a prolonged stressful environment, Being in a stressful setting or situations without any calming tools, Being given an unrealistic task that exceeds capabilities or limitations, Going to or being the center of a surprise party,  Crowded places and/or events and activities with a high noise level, Being rushed or hurried to do or finish something, sudden change of school, sudden guest arrival.

“Life always finds a way to survive  and transform into harsh environments to live:

 trees manage to grow and thrive on the sheer face of a mountain, the polar bear lives in the uninhabitable arctic region, the bend in the road is not the end of the road”.

 Soo autistic individuals have found ways to “adapt and grow ” into a society that can be a harsh environment by engaging in intuitive   “adaptations and live life,” but when these adaptations are difficult to digest, these inevitably unfavorably resolve itself through a meltdown.

Every meltdown is not a tantrum, tantrum is an alternative !!

Unlike meltdowns, tantrums are an adapted response. These are voluntary choices made by children to fulfill their demands by manipulating another individual through behaviors in order to achieve their desired wish. To truly understand whether the individual is melting down or just behaving badly throwing tantrums one must understand how the autistic mind properly as all children do not behave samely.

Unchecked tantrums can expand into aggressive behaviors towards others where the individual actually targets a specific person and then consciously decides to physically assault them.

In a meltdown, there will be an increase in the intensity of stimming behaviors(rocking, flapping hands, or flicking or snapping fingers, bouncing, jumping, or twirling) and physical manifestations of uncontrollable anxiety. In a tantrum, there may be outward physical movements such as kicking, screaming, flailing arms but they have controlled movements that are easily altered to achieve the desired reaction.

“A tantrum can develop into a meltdown if the individual gets extremely worked up, but a meltdown can never turn into a tantrum”.

Alarming  Signs of Meltdown:

 Crying, yelling,Headbanging and twitching is usually the commonest sign observed in autism.


 It may look like:

  •   Walking in a different pattern
  •  Body posture (head down, head on desk, tense).
  •  Become much more literal
  • Clenching teeth
  •  Change in voice tone.
  •  Increase in wringing of hands/hypersensitivity to touch/picking at skin.
  • Become slower to respond or increase in vagueness.
  •  Other students may become highly distractible.
  •  Become more controlling, asking more questions, and more rigid.
  •  More stock standard answers (I don’t know, I forgot, I’m tired).!

Survival signs

In survival mode, they will use skills to try and keep a meltdown from the beginning :

 More controlling of their environment, Seek sensory input: repetitive actions, flip back on chairs, pacing, jumping on a trampoline Sleepy, stay completely still and become rigid, Unaware of others, crying unnecessarily, involuntary body movements, Runaway, climb, escape, hide (under the table, outside, etc).

Remember, a meltdown is an adapted Response of your child, which have many unanswered questions that you need to understand and answer it by analyzing each crisis of meltdown or tantrums!

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