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Old 02-07-2012, 01:57 PM   #1
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How to stop meltdowns once they have started?

My 8 year old autistic nephew is staying with us this week and I'm not sure how I should deal with his meltdowns. Is there anyone I can stop him once he starts or should I just let it blow over. Right now under my sister's recommendation we are just sending him to his quiet spot and he usually yells and screams, hits the wall and throws things that are in the area there for about 10 minutes until he calms down. Is there anything I can do to intervene to stop him from reaching the peak of his meltdown?

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Old 02-07-2012, 03:40 PM   #2
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Re: How to stop meltdowns once they have started?

When Ben is in full meltdown mode I just try to be reassuring. I want to scream "Stop it" but I don't. Once he starts to calm down at all I will offer a fave toy or a snack and that seems to help. Offering these things before he starts to calm down usually leads to him throwing them. I can tell he prefers to have me there because if I'm near he will wiggle his way to my lap.
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Old 02-07-2012, 04:47 PM   #3
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Re: How to stop meltdowns once they have started?

What does his calm place look like? It needs to be void of stimulating things, kinda small and snug, basically a place where he can chill and feel safe. Maybe wrap him in a heavy blanket and rock him? With my son, if his calm corner doesn't work, we'll go up and in a VERY monotone voice talk VERY calmly to him and flop his ears and rub his head. It calms him down pretty darn quickly!
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:05 PM   #4
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Once they melt down, there's not a ton you can do but provide them a safe sensory space they find comforting. Reasoning and negotiation won't work, as that part of the brain is not active in full meltdown mode for anyone, autistic or not.
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:06 PM   #5
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Re: How to stop meltdowns once they have started?

Once the meltdown has started, I haven't found anything that can stop it. I send Alex to his room, and let it run its course. I have gotten better at finding triggers, and avoiding those things (when possible). Good luck!!
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:45 PM   #6
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Re: How to stop meltdowns once they have started?

DS usually responds to me talking calmly and a little sternly saying that he needs to calm down and work on ____ with some help. He gets aggrivated very easily with things and goes into a fit and this usually works for him. His tantrums used to be worse, but they seem to be doing better. Hope you find something that works for your nephew.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:52 AM   #7
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I have not found anything to stop ds once he is in full meltdown mode. The only thing that works is giving him isolation in his room with a coloring book and crayons and his cat. That being said if you can figure out the trigger sometimes you can avoid full meltdown by taking care of the trigger before he reaches the point of no return. Also with my ds I can usually head off a full blown meltdown if I can catch the cat for him (sensory and comfort for him). I have to get to it quick though. Good luck!
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:11 PM   #8
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Re: How to stop meltdowns once they have started?

Thanks for the suggestions guys. Right now I have his calm down zone as the guest bedroom where is sleeping. So is your general consensus that I should be comforting him when he's going through the meltdowns or should I be stern with him?
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:03 PM   #9
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I think you should get him to his quiet place and let him work through his feelings until you see self control begin to re-emerge, then be firm but understanding. When they melt down they are literally using a primitive part of the brain with very little self control, just like a toddler who is so screaming mad they don't even know why they are upset anymore. That kind of loss of control is frightening, and he needs your help to get back to a place where he's capable of dealing with whatever the issue is. If that makes any sense.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:16 PM   #10
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Sometimes I act silly and it gets him to stop. But that's if I catch it as soon as it starts. I'll wear a bowl on my head walk backwards and meow, I don't care what it is as long as it throws him off...then I tell him knock knock jokes cause he can't resist saying "whose there?"
But he's 13 and I'm not gonna lie, there are a few times I tried to physically restrain him and got the crap beat out of me!
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