Understanding an Autism Meltdown and How To Handle It

Understanding an Autism Meltdown and How To Handle It

For those on the autism spectrum, behaviors, emotions, and many other areas all fall into a different category of the spectrum. While some children with autism may have a meltdown a few times a day, others may only suffer from this frustration just once a month. Either way, when we understand an autism meltdown and how to handle it, we can all be ready to help and empathize with the one going through it.

Practice Empathy

For many, empathy comes naturally and it’s a part of their daily life. For others, it can still happen, but needs to become purposeful and thought out. Practice empathy when you see a family struggling with their autistic child in a public place. They’re most likely trying desperately to calm them, and they don’t need to hear the disappointing sighs of the strangers around them.

As a parent, you must also practice empathy. Understand your autistic child can’t always control their emotions. They have most likely been overstimulated beyond their control and the meltdown is unavoidable. Imagine being in their shoes and that will help you empathize. They don’t want to have a meltdown, it just happens.

Make Them Feel Safe

Feeling out of control is hard for us all, no matter our age. Imagine feeling so out of control as a child? It’s a frightening experience. Meltdowns often transpire from a feeling of not being in control. For a child with autism, it’s easier to have that feeling become overpowering. Your child needs a feeling of safety and security to help them calm down. Quietly speak in a loving voice, letting them know you’re there and you’ll never leave during a meltdown.

Teach Coping Skills

During a meltdown is no time to teach an autistic child, coping skills. However, use times of calmness to practice coping skills with your child, so they’re prepared when the need arises. As we mentioned, the autism spectrum varies. Each child shows different symptoms, requires different therapies, and needs parents who understand their personal struggle with autism.

Sensory Tools

Many children with autism have intense sensory issues, meaning senses become overstimulated, but stimulating some senses could also be helpful. As you discover the different tools that help calm your child through everyday life and possibly your child’s therapies, keep those ready to go and on the go with you at all times. Some children find squeezing a stress ball or having an object that comforts them helps relieve the meltdown or at least helps end it sooner.

Like most things in life, understanding why something happens and how to help change it makes it more bearable. If you have a child with autism, understand an autism meltdown and how to handle it, so you and your child aren’t caught off guard when it happens.


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Detroit Mommies Expert Contributor
Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.
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