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Autism Meltdown-Management 101: Key Points for Parents and Teachers

A meltdown is a condition where the youngster with Aspergers or High Functioning Autism temporarily loses control due to emotional responses to environmental factors. It generally appears that the youngster has lost control over a single and specific issue, however this is very rarely the case. Usually, the problem is the accumulation of a number of irritations which could span a fairly long period of time, particularly given the strong long-term memory abilities of young people on the autism spectrum.

Why The Problems Seem Hidden—

Aspergers kids don't tend to give a lot of clues that they are very irritated:
  • Often Aspergers child-grievances are aired as part of their normal conversation and may even be interpreted by NTs (i.e., neurotypicals, or people without Aspergers) as part of their standard whining.
  • Some things which annoy Aspergers kids would not be considered annoying to NTs, and this makes NT's less likely to pick up on a potential problem.
  • Their facial expressions very often will not convey the irritation.
  • Their vocal tones will often remain flat even when they are fairly annoyed.

What Happens During A Meltdown—

The meltdown appears to most people as a temper tantrum. There are marked differences between adults and kids. Kids tend to flop onto the ground and shout, scream or cry. Quite often, they will display violent behavior such as hitting or kicking.

In adults, due to social pressures, violent behavior in public is less common. Shouting outbursts or emotional displays can occur though. More often, it leads to depression and the Aspergers man or woman simply retreats into themselves and abandons social contact.

Some Aspergers kids describe the meltdown as a red or grey band across the eyes. There is a loss of control and a feeling of being a powerless observer outside the body. This can be dangerous as the Aspergers youngster may strike out, particularly if the instigator is nearby or if the "Aspie" is taunted during a meltdown.


Sometimes, depression is the only outward visible sign of a meltdown. At other times, depression results when the Aspergers youngster leaves the meltdown state and confronts the results of the meltdown. The depression is a result of guilt over abusive, shouting or violent behavior.

Dealing With Meltdowns—

Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do when a meltdown occurs in a child on the autism spectrum. The best thing you can do is to train yourself to recognize a meltdown before it happens and take steps to avoid it.

Example: Aspergers kids are quite possessive about their food, and my "Aspie" will sometimes decide that he does not want his meat to be cut up for him. When this happens, taking his plate from him and cutting his meat could cause a full-blown meltdown. The best way to deal with this is to avoid touching it for the first part of the meal until he starts to want my involvement. When this occurs, instead of taking his plate from him, it is more effective to lean over and help him to cut the first piece. Once he has cut the first piece with help, he will often allow the remaining pieces to be cut for him.

Once the youngster reaches an age where they can understand (around age 4 or so), you can work on explaining the situation. One way you could do this would be to discreetly videotape a meltdown and allow them to watch it at a later date. You could then discuss the incident, explain why it isn't socially acceptable, and give them some alternatives.

One adult "Aspie" stated the following:

"When I was little, I remember that the single best motivation for keeping control was once when my mother called me in after play and talked about the day. In particular, she highlighted an incident where I had fallen down and hurt myself. She said, 'Did you see how your friend started to go home as soon as you fell down because they were scared that you were going to have a meltdown?' She went on to say, 'When you got up and laughed, they were so happy that they came racing back. I'm proud of you for controlling your emotions.' That was a good moment for me that day. It really gave me some insight into how I tended to respond quickly without much forethought. I carried this with me for years later and would always strive to contain myself. I wouldn't always succeed, but at least I was trying."

Meltdowns And Punishment—

One of the most important things to realize is that meltdowns are part of the Aspergers condition. You can't avoid them; merely try to reduce the damage. Punishing an Aspergers youngster for a meltdown is like punishing someone for swearing when they hit their thumb with a hammer. It won't do any good whatsoever and can only serve to increase the distance between you and your youngster.

In addition, meltdowns aren't wholly caused by the current scenario, but are usually the result of an overwhelming number of other issues. The one which "causes" the meltdown is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Unless you're a mind reader, you won't necessarily know what the other factors are, and your Aspergers youngster may not be able to fully communicate the problem.

Every teacher of Aspergers students and every mom or dad of an Aspergers child can expect to witness some meltdowns. On average, meltdowns are equally common in boys and girls, and more than half of Aspergers kids will have one or more per week.

At home, there are predictable situations that can be expected to trigger meltdowns, for example:
  • bath time
  • bedtime
  • car rides
  • dinner time
  • family activities involving siblings
  • family visiting another house
  • getting dressed
  • getting up
  • interactions with peers
  • mom or dad talking on the phone
  • playtime
  • public places
  • visitors at the house
  • watching TV

Other settings include:
  • answering questions in class
  • directives from the teacher
  • getting ready to work
  • group activities
  • individual seat work
  • interactions with other children
  • on the school bus
  • the playground
  • transitions between activities

From time to time, all Aspergers kids will whine, complain, resist, cling, argue, hit, shout, run, and defy authority figures. Meltdowns, although normal, can become upsetting to parents and teachers because they are embarrassing, challenging, and difficult to manage. Also, meltdowns can become particularly difficult to manage when they occur with greater frequency, intensity, and duration than is typical for the age of the Aspergers kid.

There are nine different types of temperaments in Aspergers kids:

1. Distracted temperament predisposes the Aspergers kid to pay more attention to his or her surroundings than to the caregiver.

2. High-intensity level temperament moves the Aspergers kid to yell, scream, or hit hard when feeling threatened.

3. Hyperactive temperament predisposes the Aspergers kid to respond with fine- or gross-motor activity.

4. Initial withdrawal temperament is found when Aspergers kids get clingy, shy, and unresponsive in new situations and around unfamiliar people.

5. Irregular temperament moves the Aspergers kid to escape the source of stress by needing to eat, drink, sleep, or use the bathroom at irregular times when he or she does not really have the need.

6. Low sensory threshold temperament is evident when the Aspergers kid complains about tight clothes and people staring and refuses to be touched by others.

7. Negative mood temperament is found when Aspergers kids appear lethargic, sad and lack the energy to perform a task.

8. Negative persistent temperament is seen when the Aspergers kid seems stuck in his or her whining and complaining.

9. Poor adaptability temperament shows itself when Aspergers kids resist, shut down, and become passive-aggressive when asked to change activities.

Around age 2, some Aspergers kids will start having what I refer to as "normal meltdowns." These bouts can last until approximately age 4. Some parents (thinking in terms of temper tantrums) mistakenly call this stage "the terrible twos," and others call it "first adolescence" because the struggle for independence is similar to what is seen during adolescence. Regardless of what the stage is called, there is a normal developmental course for meltdowns in children on the autism spectrum.

Aspergers kids during this stage will test the limits. They want to see how far they can go before mom or dad stops their behavior. At age 2, Aspergers kids are very egocentric and can't see another person’s point of view. They want independence and self-control to explore their environment. When they can't reach a goal, they show frustration by crying, arguing, yelling, or hitting. When their need for independence collides with the parents' needs for safety and conformity, the conditions are perfect for a power struggle and a meltdown. A meltdown is designed to get the parents to desist in their demands or give the child what he or she wants. Many times, Aspergers kids stop the meltdown only when they get what is desired. What is most upsetting to parents is that it is virtually impossible to reason with Aspergers kids who are having a meltdown. Arguing and cajoling in response to a meltdown only escalates the problem.

By age 3, many Aspergers kids are less impulsive and can use language to express their needs. Meltdowns at this age are often less frequent and less severe. Nevertheless, some preschoolers have learned that a meltdown is a good way to get what they want.

By age 4, most Aspergers kids have the necessary motor and physical skills to meet many of their own needs without relying so much on the parent. At this age, these young people also have better language that allows them to express their anger and to problem-solve and compromise. Despite these improved skills, even kindergarten-age and school-age Aspergers kids can still have meltdowns when they are faced with demanding academic tasks and new interpersonal situations in school.

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It is much easier to “prevent” meltdowns than it is to manage them once they have erupted.  Here are some tips for preventing meltdowns and some things you can say:

1. Avoid boredom. Say, “You have been working for a long time. Let’s take a break and do something fun.”

2. Change environments, thus removing the Aspergers kid from the source of the meltdown. Say, “Let’s go for a walk.”

3. Choose your battles. Teach Aspergers kids how to make a request without a meltdown and then honor the request. Say, “Try asking for that toy nicely and I’ll get it for you.”

4. Create a safe environment that Aspergers kids can explore without getting into trouble. Childproof your home or classroom so Aspergers kids can explore safely.

5. Distract Aspergers kids by redirection to another activity when they meltdown over something they should not do or can't have. Say, “Let’s read a book together.”

6. Do not "ask" Aspergers kids to do something when they must do what you ask. Do not ask, “Would you like to eat now?” Say, “It's dinnertime now.”

7. Establish routines and traditions that add structure. For teachers, start class with a sharing time and opportunity for interaction.

8. Give Aspergers kids control over little things whenever possible by giving choices. A little bit of power given to the Aspergers kid can stave-off the big power struggles later (e.g., “Which do you want to do first, brush your teeth or put on your pajamas?”).

9. Increase your tolerance level. Are you available to meet the Aspergers kid’s reasonable needs? Evaluate how many times you say, “No.” Avoid fighting over minor things.

10. Keep a sense of humor to divert the Aspergers kid’s attention and surprise him or her out of the meltdown.

11. Keep off-limit objects out of sight and therefore out of mind. In an art activity, keep the scissors out of reach if the child is not ready to use them safely.

12. Make sure that Aspergers kids are well rested and fed in situations in which a meltdown is a likely possibility. Say, “Dinner is almost ready, here’s a cracker for now.”

13. Provide pre-academic, behavioral, and social challenges that are at the Aspergers kid’s developmental level so that he or she doesn't become frustrated.

14. Reward Aspergers kids for positive attention rather than negative attention. During situations when they are prone to meltdowns, catch them when they are being good and say things like, “Nice job sharing with your friend.”

15. Signal Aspergers kids before you reach the end of an activity so that they can get prepared for the transition. Say, “When the timer goes off 5 minutes from now, it will be time to turn off the TV and go to bed.”

16. When visiting new places or unfamiliar people, explain to the child beforehand what to expect. Say, “Stay with your assigned buddy in the museum.”

There are a number of ways to “handle” a meltdown that is already underway.  Strategies include the following:

1. Hold the Aspergers kid who is out of control and is going to hurt himself or herself (or someone else). Let the Aspergers child know that you will let him or her go as soon as he or she calms down. Reassure the child that everything will be all right, and help him or her calm down. Moms and dads may need to hug their Aspergers kid who is crying, and say they will always love him or her no matter what, but that the behavior has to change. This reassurance can be comforting for an Aspergers kid who may be afraid because he or she lost control.

2. If the Aspergers kid has escalated the meltdown to the point where you are not able to intervene in the ways described above, then you may need to direct the Aspergers kid to time-out. If you are in a public place, carry your child outside or to the car. Tell him that you will go home unless he calms down. In school, warn the Aspergers student up to three times that it is necessary to calm down, and give a reminder of the rule. If the student refuses to comply, then place him in time-out for no more than 1 minute for each year of age.

3. Remain calm and do not argue with the Aspergers kid. Before you manage her, you must manage your own behavior. Punishing or yelling at the child during a meltdown will make it worse.

4. Talk with the child after he has calmed down. When he stops crying, talk about the frustration the he has experienced. Try to help solve the problem if possible. For the future, teach the child new skills to help avoid meltdowns (e.g., how to ask appropriately for help, how to signal an adult that he  needs to go to “time away” to “stop, think, and make a plan” ...and so on). Teach the Aspergers kid how to try a more successful way of interacting with a peer or sibling, how to express his feelings with words, and recognize the feelings of others without hitting and screaming.

5. Think before you act. Count to 10 and then think about the source of the Aspergers kid’s frustration, the child’s characteristic temperamental response to stress (e.g., hyperactivity, distractibility, moodiness, etc.), and the predictable steps in the escalation of the meltdown.

6. Try to intervene before the Aspergers youngster is out of control. Get down at her eye level and say, “You are starting to get revved up, let's slow down.” Now you have several choices of intervention.

7. You can ignore the meltdown if it is being thrown to get your attention. Once the Aspergers kid calms down, you can give the attention that is desired.

8. You can place the Aspergers youngster in "time away." Time away is a quiet place where he goes to calm down, think about what he needs to do, and with your help, make a plan to change the behavior.

9. You can positively distract the Aspergers kid by getting her focused on something else that is an acceptable activity (e.g., remove the unsafe item and replace with an age-appropriate game).

Post-Meltdown Management—

1. Do not reward the Aspergers kid after a meltdown for calming down. Some kids will learn that a meltdown is a good way to get a treat later.

2. Explain to the Aspergers kid that there are better ways to get what she wants.

3. Never let the meltdown interfere with your otherwise positive relationship with your child.

4. Never, under any circumstances, give in to a meltdown. That response will only increase the number and frequency of the meltdowns.

5. Teach the Aspergers kid that anger is a feeling that we all have, and then teach her ways to express anger constructively.

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Best Comment—

My name is Sharon, I have been with Elliott for over ten years and we have a son Brandon who is 6 yr old. They both have aspergers syndrome we are awaiting Brandon’s appointment with the paediatrician consultant for diagnosis, but I am 110% sure it will be aspergers. I am feeling in the thick of it of late I have and am constantly looking for local support and forums online etc to reach out for guidance and any support also to offer my own support to others. I am a person centred therapist and in the past have worked in supporting children and adults on the autistic spectrum, I do have a good insight into the autistic spectrum but nothing prepares you for how it feels actually living 24/7 with it.

Firstly the biggest part for me is the heart break and hurt I feel for my son, then the worry and concern how he will get along in life. I am very pro active and of late have worked well with school to best advise them how we support Brandon’s needs it’s been an uphill struggle for the last year especially as they don't seem to have the knowledge or the amenities to support him.

I have been called to school several times of late because of his "disruptive" behaviour,, basically his stimming he does get louder if in a louder environment the teachers know this is a trigger and he is left alone to deal with this instead of being prepared for a change of noise or scenery or even a much needed teaching assistant who could work alongside him. If he gets too disruptive he is taken out of the class environment for "time out" is this a good way of dealing with it? As we have told school time out at home is if he is naughty, which generally he is never naughty. we have what we call quiet time at home where sometimes when he feels over load we just find a quiet place to sit together and relax or read whatever he wants really but it brings him down and more settled to cope better.

Again it will mean another meeting or ten..... To resolve or make a better learning environment for Brandon. They say they can’t do anything till he’s been statemented and funded for an assistant or further support. But they will assist him as best they can and I do feel listened to but there is of late something new nearly every day that needs adaption which imp fine with I am aware he defiantly needs some support. I have been on an emotional roller coaster.

It feels so isolating as support around this neck of woods is minimal. Brandon’s upset of late is his lack of friends he just wants his family to be at school all day every day his words because we love him! So the social aspect this is. So I discussed with head teacher and she has set a buddy system up for him its yet to be seen to be working, as I know how difficult it is for Brandon to mix and communicate with his peers and when he does he gets rejected.

We have tried so many routes with this he seems to connect with kids in play areas as he and they are generally being quite boisterous but its time limited so he feels less pressure. We are also in process of groups i.e. dancing as he loves to dance (street dance) and maybe other recreations of his choice. It feels like a very long a winding road what we are on I know I haven't spoke much bout Elliott having spent ten years with him would have thought Brandon’s aspergers may come easier to me understanding wise yes but on a personal level it’s so upsetting.

Other points are his eating habits he is a very bland eater and eats the same few foods we supplement with vitamins he is quite small in frame but eats quite well the foods he does enjoy think they call it the beige diet he has no colour in his food at all (pasta, no sauce, chicken nuggets, crisps plain flavour, crumpets, bread, some types of rice, certain chocolate, milk, Yorkshire puddings) there’s a few more but as you can see limited. We have tried so many different ways to entice him I would be grateful if you could give me any tips.

Feels like I am going on now, the list goes on his sensory issues really do dictate to him and us how the day goes sometimes, and he is becoming more and more aware of his stims and repetitive behaviour today its clapping and repeating words it was a machine gun noise (constantly)and random moves it varies from day. I feel I need more guidance in how to help/support Brandon. The melt downs are becoming more and more but he only does this with his dad I have a calming effect as soon as he starts in melt down they pretty much calm after I’ve been around him a few minutes. The routines he has etc seem to help a lot too.

If you can pull anything out of this letter and feedback I would be grateful there will be things I have missed but feel free to ask me any further questions. He also as 3 older step siblings 15, 19, 21 and they are very loving and supportive with him and very understanding. He as a great relationship with all of us in our family unit. Feels like the outside world is a daunting prospect right now.

More comments below...


Stephanie Mayberry said...

I am currently going through a shutdown after a meltdown. Am getting better though.

I am a 44 year old Aspie woman - it doesn't get any easier, really. I have just learned how to conceal the effects better.

I wrote on my blog what a meltdown feels like to me. I hope it helps people better understand AS as well as this article helps the understand it isn't their fault - most of the time and, more importantly, there really isn't anything they can do about it.

Anonymous said...

I have a 14 year old boy with Aspergers and we are struggling in all area's,academically, socially and at home. I feel I am over my head with him. He does not listen even though I have a behavior mod plan designed by his therapist. He is completely socially isolated at school, can't focus, does not turn his homework in or following direction from teachers.Yes, there is an IEP in place. I don't know what to do. I feel pretty hopeless about this which I know I need to turn around. I need help, but don't know what to do or how to handle him. I need coping strategies because he has taken over my life. He is in counseling, a peer support group that is teaching him how to socialize and is on medications. Yet, he does not want to change. I am not sure if there is a book out there that would help me learn how to deal with him. Getting him to brush his teeth is like pulling teeth (no pun intended). I used to be carefree and happy and I feel sucked dry. I need my life back. Not sure how you can help, but any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Beth

Anonymous said...

I think I have Aspergers... I am a fourteen year old girl and I read online about it and so many traits match myself... I also think I have it because my ten year old brother has it. The traits I have that show it is talking fast and loud, not understanding social cues, almost starting to have meltdowns (almost had one today and almost had one like maybe a week or two ago when I missed my bus), and there were a few others but my memory doesn't serve back to as far as what I learned about Aspergers yesterday online (can't find the site so can't refer back to it)... well still. I think I have it. And I have a 504 plan too. And I am WAITING to be tested so I am just assuming I have it. :/

Anonymous said...

My son is 7 yrs old. He has asperger's. He had a meltdown today. It lasted about 2hrs. I held him, let him have time to cool down on his own, but then he ran away from me. We were at a birthday party when this happened. I am over whelmed. What else can I do to help my child and I through this?

Adam jay said...

when i had a meltdown in elementry it lasted any where from 2 hours to 9 hours.but now im in college and i had a meltdown but i didnt hurt anyone i just went under neath some stairs to calm down. it all started because i was late then my parents scolded me because i had a meltdown but i usally just supress all my negative emotions and they just over flow sometimes.

Anonymous said...

My son, who’s 14, has major meltdowns-not violent, just loud-at least 3-4 times per day. I have tried ignoring them, screaming over them, talking him through them, walking away (he follows me). Nothing works. He is on Concerta, Risperdal, and Intuniv for impulse control. It’s not working.

When he was younger, I tried the charts, rebuses, etc., only to have him manipulate his way around them. He is extremely bright, but has no confidence. He has many, many phobias. He has a few friends, but sometimes avoids them by stalling on his schoolwork (he’s homeschooled-our county has a lousy Autism/Aspergers’ program), and will lie, cheat, manipulate. He was diagnosed at age 6 with Aspergers’, manifested in ADHD, ODD, and OCD. My husband is also Aspergers’-he was diagnosed when my son and he were part of an Aspergers’ study out of Duke/University of South Carolina-and is easily manipulated by my son and has “quiet meltdowns”. They tested identical.

I sometime feel like I am losing my mind. I have seen your website and I am very interested. Can your program help my husband as well as my son? There are other stresses in the home-my husband has been laid-off for the second time in 2 years, and I am physically disabled. Could this be part of my son’s meltdowns?

Anonymous said...

My son was recently diagnosed with Asperger's. You moms have experience and I need your advice. I've noticed when we try and restrain him during a meltdown he gets violent (bites, hits, etc.). He's in 3rd grade and has hit his teacher once this year when she tried to restrain him duirng a meltdown. How do you suggest the school handles it when he's in meltdown mode? Evacuate the classroom? Physically remove him (as his teacher tried to do)? I appreicate any advice!

Anonymous said...

I am a 14 year boy with extreme aspergers I am popular in school for 2 reasons 1 I am the only one who can hack through the schools firewall and reason 2 is sometimes (weekly) have meltdowns it is very hard because all the kids tease me. I have an IEP which helps me due to my struggling in language (the only reason you can read this is from spell check) I also stress out in tests ( there I usually meltdown ) It is not easy to go through school with an aid but she does help me. I never get along with kids. I am way better with adults. I even punched a kid last year for saying I was a moron. My only good subject is math and in 9th grade I am in 11th grade math. I have created computer programs and love to scare teachers with a missing file or something. Though I stay away from that these days. I have 3 friends my computer, my mom, and my only real friend **** I am not going to say there real name. He knows I have aspergers and helps me calm down when I have meltdowns. If you have questions email me at ( a random name to protect my privacy. Thanks for reading this :D

Anonymous said...

How should I handle his answering back and ranting when he is anxious about something this is how he is venting his emotions by shouting and trying to get a reaction from us. He seems to be using this to help his anxiety. Should I just ignore this behaviour without any consequences or do I need to give him a warning when I know he doing it because he is so anxious.(I keep telling him I can only talk with you when you are calm, but how do you get them to stop shouting when they are in this mental state). Is it best just to walk away or get in the car and go somewhere while he settles himself down) is it OK to give him a warning and say if you don’t go away and settle yourself down you will have to deal with the consequence, or do I just ignore him until he settles with can take up to 2 hours.
We have had a good 10 days with him, but this weekend he has developed a sinus infection which seems to have really agitated him and he can’t seem to relax and settle like he could last week.
We are getting some help next week from a psychologist who wants to work with his food phobias and strategies to help him relax when he is in a meltdown.

Anonymous said...

I have a 12 year old who is diagnosed with PDD-NOS with additional diagnosis of OCD, ADHD, ODD, and Touretts Syndrome. Over the past year I have been thinking that the ADHD and ODD are really misdiagnosis of ASD symptoms, but that's not my real issue.

At home, we get along pretty well. Jacob sometimes has meltdowns over video games if he's stuck in a place that he can't beat, in which case we take away the game until he has had plenty of time to calm down and regroup himself. Once he gets the game back, he usually beats that part right away simply because he is now calm and collected. We rarely have issues other than that at home.

School is an entirely different situation. Jacob is easily annoyed by other students. The smallest things seem to set him off. Someone bumps his foot under the desk, someone reminds him to open his textbook to the correct page, there have actually been cases where a student was just looking in Jacob's direction and he felt that they were staring at him. He goes VERY quickly into anger and yelling. Sometimes swearing, name calling, threatening to kill or dismember, and sometimes to physical violence. He has hit, punched, kicked, tackled, and even peed on someones feet in the restroom. He is very small for his age and not very strong, so he has never done any real damage, but he could easily be injured by some of the boys he has attacked.

Jacob has been suspended both in and out of school for his behavior. Now the principal wants to have an intervention meeting.

Jacob feels that he cannot change his behavior and doesn't have control over his anger. Sometimes we even suspect he has no desire to change his own behavior and just wants everyone else to change the way they treat him.

He is currently in counceling at Easter Seals, as well as a social skills group for boys with Aspergers at Easter Seals. He sees a psychiatrist and is on Paxil for the OCD symptoms. We have tried several other medications for his symptoms over the years (intuniv, stratera, depakote, can't remember what else) with either no results or very bad side effects. We no longer want to medicate him for anything but the OCD. The paxil does help with that.

To top everything off, there are kids at school who are picking on him and making fun of his touretts. They call him Twitch, and Home, and Albino (because he's very pale complected with very light colored hair).

Since the majority of problems are at school, and his behavior escalates so quickly, we are unsure what to do. The councelor at Easter Seals even was surprised by how quickly he escalates to anger. Do you believe that your online program/ebook is something that would be helpful to us and the school staff? I want to go to our intervention meeting prepared with some intervention ideas and am trying to gather information and techniques to try with him. Right now, all he's getting from the school staff is isolation from the other kids, and being told to stay away from the kids that bother him and think about the consequences of his actions.

Anonymous said...

Good morning. First, let me say that the YouTube video in re: to Meltdowns has me sitting here in awe. 1, Because I'm glad it's not just me... 2, Because I'm glad that I'm not the only one saying that CONVENTIONAL parenting ISN'T going to work with my son!!! My son is 7, and newly diagnosed with Aspberger's. He has quite a variety of other complications from birth as well. We thought he was just hard headed and over-emotional, and had started the "counseling" with him. Obviously it got us no where, in fact, it seemed to make it worse!

Unknown said...

I'm a 15 year old and I have aspergers, and every time i have a meltdown, my mother gets angry at me! is that right? I tried to get her to read this but she wouldn't. She says I'm hurting her. What do i do? how do i stop hurting her? She says dont have a meltdown, she says self control, is that possible? am i crazy? she's really depressed, and so am i

K. Loewy said...

I'm twenty six and have Aspergers. I have meltdowns. What may help you calm down,is to listen to mindfulness on iTunes Radio, Pandora, Spotify, etc. I also use a CD called Health Journeys which works. I have low self esteem and depression because my parents and my sibling were abusive. Also a hot bath works wonders. Sylvia Plath taught me that

K. Loewy said...

This is a very helpful article not only for children but also for adults. I was never diagnosed with Aspergers when I was younger. It wasn't until the doctor notice something in my behavior and diagnosed me with Aspergers. I remember looking at the paper and thinking huh. Then I saw these ads someone posted, like being socially awkward and not being able to play sports and I said I have had those symptoms. Reading this helps me understand more about myself and realize it is not my fault. For people suffering Aspergers, depression, etc listen to mindfulness radio on iTunes Radio, Pandora, Spotify, etc. It really helps calm you down. I also listen to Health Journeys which is guided imagery to help people suffering from depression, loss and so on handle their feelings. I know Aspergers can lead to depression

TeeKayBee said...

Hi, has anybody tried G-Therapy for themselves or their kids?

Unknown said...

Hi Beth I was wondering how your son is now as I have a 12 yr old son that is going through nearly the same but my son will not go school or leave the house.

Unknown said...

Thanks I will try this with my 12 year son.

Unknown said...

I have 2 sons who were recently found to be on the spectrum- a 6 year old & a 9 year old with Aspergers & ADHD. Only my 9 year old struggles with the extreme meltdowns- for now. I find if I try & stop my son from having a meltdown, it only makes it worse. I watch him from the next room, often times placing my phone in a spot he can't see (in record mode- this allows me to watch him without his knowledge & listen to make sure he does not hurt himself).
After the meltdown has happened, I go into his room & then we talk. I hold him close & tell him how much I love him. That I'm not upset with him & accept that sometimes we just lose control. The energy that is released when he is upset to that point is necessary. He releases all that may be pent up from hours or days or weeks of pushing it down.
I know some parents will disagree & I'll admit watching my son suffer gives me no pleasure- quite the opposite as it awakens every neutering bone in my body. But as long as no harm comes to him- better that he meltdown at home, safely & with understanding, compassionate & loving members of his family around him- then in public with glaring eyes & judgement.
If his meltdown is interrupted- he remains very negative. Talking back & almost trying to get that negative attention which I refuse to give into. Not only does that show him that negative behavior will not be tolerated but it also tells his younger brother that talking back & trying to say things to hurt others isn't good behavior & will be reprimanded. I do not punish a meltdown. We work through it. But, if he lost his game before the meltdown, we determine how long it is for or how he can get it back AFTER the meltdown has concluded. Once he is more receptive to having choices & he's not shutting down or saying no to all of the options I've given him.

I realize to each his own but with my experience, reading & research & observation- this is what works for us.
Prayers, blessings & good vibes for all who are diagnosed or live & love someone with this superpower.

WKJr said...

I have a 5-year-old son, who is the sweetest little boy I've ever known in my life. When I wake him up in the morning, him giving me a morning hug is the thing that gets me ready to take on the day. There's a lot of other negativity going on in my life right now that takes up a great deal of my own mental energy, so I kind of look at this as one of my bright spots. But then, when he doesn't get what he wants, it is then full-on meltdown mode. Constant screaming in my face (or my wife's), hitting (not hard that it physically hurts, but I think you get the idea), and crying are common occurrences on a daily basis. Falling down to the ground is another thing we have seen a great deal of if we say no to something. It's now even getting to the point where he's saying how we don't love him because we won't give in to his demands during his meltdowns. Another big thing that comes about is that we hear such great things about how great a listener he is in school at kindergarten, and even before then, we had him in a day care center. The day care center teachers all said the same thing, what a pleasure he was to have there, and how nice of a boy he is. I don't know what to do, and, as a result, I am losing my mind trying to help him. At first, I had no idea what Asperger's was, and partly as a result of my lack of knowledge of this, when he began to scream, I would too in an effort to stop his screaming. As I see more and more information and more and more of his behavior tendencies, I now try to hug first and not raise my voice as the first reaction. Have I been perfect? No, of course not. Nobody is. But I truly don't know what to do. I love this little boy (and his little brother) more than anything else in my life, and want the best for him. But I can't handle the constant screaming any more!

Anonymous said...

N what about when your an parent of aspergers child and have aspergers yourself aswell as your child.

Unknown said...

Stop trying to restrain him!! I'm an autistic adult, and I HATE when people restrain me against my will, especially when I'm upset. It's absolutely terrifying to be trapped like that when you're that overwhelmed, and all you want to do is get away to calm down/hide your weakness from the bullies. Maybe restraint works for some autistic kids, but I think for many it will only make them much, much more upset! How would you feel if you were utterly confused, terrified, and disoriented, and some huge angry adult who is completely misunderstanding your needs and effectively publicly shaming you for something you can't control, proceeds to forcefully trap you and insist on holding you until you "calm down?" Tell me, how might you react to similar treatment? Would you calm down if you were being humiliated in front of the class, treated with less dignity than your peers, and being forcibly trapped inside the very environment that triggered your freak out in the first place? And Yes, autistic kids do feel humiliation in front of their peers! Chances are that he is/will be the most embarrassed party in all these incidents, and you may never realize it. Unfortunately there is some very bad advice mixed in with this rather blame-ridden and patronizing article. What I need when I melt down is to be taken to a quiet empty room and be LEFT ALONE until I cool down. I especially hate being touched when I melt down, and I bet your poor son probably feels the same way, and rightly so. Is there any way you could convince him to go into solitude without touching him when he melts down? You may be surprised with how positively he might respond to you offering him such an option during a freak out. Personally , I will almost always run and hide if given the option, though this is not true for all Aspies.
And also treating the child with the same dignity and respect you would give a "normal" kid helps a great deal, but hopefully you already know that. I know my parents/teachers didn't, but then again they didn't know that I was autistic, and they have no idea how uncontrollable, terrifying, and embarrassing public meltdowns can be for an autistic kid, especially when people respond with anger and punishment instead of the compassion the child needs.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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