How to Handle a Meltdown When they Happen


Anxiety, difficulties in communication, sensation problems, and changes in routine are among the many factors that may trigger a meltdown or the intense response that individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have when faced with overwhelming situations.

To be clear, those on the spectrum cannot control their meltdowns. Thus, it is up to us as parents, loved ones, friends, and members of the community to support and make sure they and the people around them are safe.

To appropriately give this support, it is crucial to understand what a meltdown looks like and what to do when they happen.

Per our experts of developmental disabilities in Fanwood, New Jersey, a meltdown is typically characterized by shouting, screaming, lashing out, hitting, kicking, self-abuse, crying, and losing verbal and physical control.

With this picture in mind, here are expert-recommended ways to deal with them:

  • Give them time and space
    Wait until they come back from their information or sensory overload.
  • Extend your patience and always proceed calmly
    When you check in on them, remember that they may need more time to respond than you might have anticipated.
  • Create for them a quiet and safe environment
    The goal here is to reduce the information or sensory overload, so turn down the music and the lights, ask people to move along or leave if possible, and get rid of distractions the best way you can.

We practice these interventions ourselves as a provider of development disability care at Gracious Services, Inc.

Our holistic services in New Jersey are geared at supporting the whole individual and all aspects of their life, providing them with everything from daily habilitation programs and career planning to transportation services. We also offer respite care to their primary caregivers.

Interested? Don’t hesitate to inquire with us for more details. You may also set an appointment for a thorough discussion today.

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