Parents with children who have Aspergers syndrome and High-Functioning Autism will often tell you about times their child has had a “meltdown” or type of temper tantrum that can disrupt the lives of the whole family.
These types of behaviors can be as rare as once a month or can happen several times per day, leaving parents sometimes frustrated and exhausted. There are, however, things a parent can do to minimize the strength and length of these tantrums.
The first thing to pay attention to is your own response to the tantrum. Are you calm and quiet? Have you taken steps to assure safety? Are you thinking clearly? Take slow, even breaths and reassure yourself that you’ve survived these meltdowns before and it doesn’t have to be the dreadful experience you anticipate it to be.
Speak with a soft, neutral and pleasant voice. This relaxes both you and your child. Stay away from unnecessary words and keep your movements slow and purposeful.
Many meltdowns happen as a result of rushing around or trying to get somewhere. It’s vital to take the time to slow down and rearrange your priorities. Forget that you have a timetable and concentrate on helping your child settle down first.
Keep safety a priority. Children in this stage can be impulsive and can forget every safety rule they were ever taught. If the child is having a meltdown while you’re driving, stop the car and take care of the issue. If your child tends to run away from you, resist the urge to chase them as it can make the situation worse.
Hold your child if necessary or talk with them in an attempt to redirect their behavior. In other situations, let the meltdown run itself down. Bear in mind that the child will often be exhausted after a meltdown so that you may need to give them the time to rest and get their breath back after such an event.
Remember that these types of behaviors represent ways you child is trying to communicate with you. Think about what the behavior represents and make attempts to avoid the behavior the next time.
The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide: A Complete Resource Guide For Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed With Aspergers Syndrome.