A meltdown, a broken door, and the realisation of the progress we have made

autism and meltdowns, reflecting on the progress we have made in reducing the frequency of our son's meltdowns



What do you do when your 6yo kicks in your door, as a result of escalating frustration because they were told they can't have the iPad?

This happened when my Son was with our childminder recently -  I was gutted when I got a photo of our broken door and a voicemail telling me what had just happened. Even so, it reminded me of how far we have come as it has been a couple of months since we last experience a meltdown.

Imagine being in an emotional state that you can't get out of, where you are so worked up that you are no longer in control of your actions. You are beyond listening and your brain is just screaming NO.

This is a meltdown - a state that many children with autism experience, often as a result of anxiety from an underlying trigger.
At its worst we were experiencing meltdowns 3-4 times a week.

Meltdowns have been one of our biggest challenges for the past couple of years, and has often resulted in damage to the house and toys or lashing out at people close by. At its worst we were experiencing meltdowns 3-4 times a week. Every day seemed to be filled with challenging behaviour and I didn't feel like I could cope with looking after our Son.

So what changed?

We are more aware of the situations that are likely to cause anxiety and how to avoid them, he is now in a school where he can get the support he needs, and we have also have got better at  managing his anxiety using several strategies to avoid meltdowns

I am thankful that we can now largely avoid getting to this flashpoint by managing his anxiety 

As for my son, we calmly spoke later about what happened and talked about what he could do differently when he is feeling that way. He is now taking on small jobs in the house to 'pay' for the door.

Now I just need to work with the childminder to help her understand more about what is likely to trigger meltdowns, and what strategies she can try to use to avoid situations like this in the future.
Spectrum Sunday

6 comments

  1. Yes it's all about strategies here too. Good that you could talk to him about it later and that he's understood his wrongdoing. I recently considered anger management classes for our girl - if only they were widely available!

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  2. I was pleased that we were able to talk to him, but still got a way to go before he is able to self-regulate himself when he gets upset. Whilst managing anxiety does work, it is exhausting for us.

    Luckily school are working on this as well, getting him to use his stop button and then reinforcing it through games which are aimed at getting him to stop something he is busy with when they say stop button.

    At home I have considered using a service which offers advice at home. I met one of the ladies who was lovely - just need to find the time in between everything else.

    http://www.harmonycbc.m-b-g.co.uk/services.html

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  3. Meltdowns are pretty scary. As an adult with anxiety, I have had my share as well and feel your little one's pain. I wish you the best. Hugs from Florida

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    1. Thanks for the hugs Mandy. You are right, the meltdowns are so painful, especially since there is little we can do to help until he is calmed down.

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  4. The meltdowns we've had over iPads. Strategies here too and learning to escalate less and come down quicker. We have less damaged materials, I tend to get the brunt of it :-( It's heartbreaking to see but each time he gets over it better it's a relief. Xxx thanks again for joining #spectrumsunday

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    Replies
    1. I agree - it is so heart-breaking. Fingers crossed the meltdowns and damage will get less over time.

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