Can it be easy to clam down a meltdown in a child with Autism? Well, I think the answer to that will always be no -with the caveat that it depends on the child. Some children, from what I have seen, calm down quicker than others.
For our kids, we have a bit of a mixture. Little Miss. (who is not diagnosed but is going through a process of diagnosis or possible ADHD) can go through angry or meltdown very quickly. One minute she can be having a right meltdown and 1-2 minutes later she is calm.
For little Mr., it can take a little longer. One such example was Friday just gone.
So, this weekend we’ve had family down to stay. My wife’s sister and nephew came down to visit - a big part to say hi and also because Sunday then needed to be down this way. They do stay from time to time and they generally say down in our larger lounge (which is a lounge and dining room combined - you have to take into consideration our house was built in the 1890’s so ceilings are 10 foot high and rooms were big proportions).
So, as I was saying, they stay downstairs. The thing is, little Mr. can sometimes be a little off with change - well I think many children and adults on the spectrum can be. The other issue is that he gets his hair cut by this aunty (one thing we did have planned but didn’t do because of his issues) and of course that is a traumatic thing; so he was weary this would happen.
So, setting the stage for Friday; the room is full and not in its normal state. His aunt and cousin are here, not something that he would see often (then live 80 miles or so away), All this change built up and come 9 pm the meltdown started...
What we normally do when he starts having a meltdown like this in bed is, we bring him downstairs - out of the situation he is in. We put on something he likes to watch, something calming, and we just stay with him until he calms down and comes out of it. This can take a varied amount of time - but generally, it's around 5 - 10 minutes depending on how worked up he is.
As the issue was due to the change downstairs - we couldn’t do that. Our usual technique could not be followed. We had to break the routine, we had to do something similar but in our bedroom. We are lucky that we have a TV in our bedroom with an Amazon Fire Stick - so we can put on the usual calming YouTube nursery rhymes (well for now, just search up Amazon Fire and YouTube at the moment - 11th Dec 2017).
This change of routine though meant that the meltdown wasn’t calming down, wasn’t dispersing so to speak. He kept winding himself up, so it was time to try something different. You can’t just leave it after all.
In the end, I put him back into his bed and stayed in his room. We gave him a little Calpol just in case he had any pain - I think he may have caused himself a headache because of the meltdown and crying (as he can’t tell us). I stayed in the room sitting on the floor for around 30 minutes and he finally rested down and settled.
One meltdown complete so to speak. We often forget about how change can cause meltdowns - probably because he is ok with some change but not others.
All you can do is figure out what the issue is and try and have a repeatable routine to calm them. Something we have to figure out for next years holiday 🙂
If you do then please do share them. I love to study and learn, especially when it comes to difficult situations such as these. Please leave a comment below if you do.