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Behavior Meltdowns
 

Sylvia

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Joined: 2014-10-29 Posts: 21
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I’d love any and all suggestions on how you all manage your child’s behavior meltdowns!  I have an adult daughter with multiple disabilities who still throws the occasional meltdown. Behavior charts with rewards have not helped!

15 September 2016 09:33 PM # 1

Brody, Me & GDD

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Joined: 2016-09-15 Posts: 25
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This is something that we are currently struggling with as well. I feel your pain, it’s just not easy is it?

Our son doesn’t understand rewards. Really apart from a firm no and removing him from the situation (if we can), we try to distract him. Unfortunately this typically involves a video from YouTube. I wish that wasn’t the truth, but it is.

Also, sometimes I think he is sensory seeking. He quite likes it if we roll a toy car over him all the way up to his head. So I try and sit quietly with him and do this.

x

30 September 2016 03:20 AM # 2

Healing Heart

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Joined: 2014-10-10 Posts: 701
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We have a non-verbal child so it is especially complicated, but I suspect all of his meltdowns are a result of him not being able to adequately express his wants and needs properly and that he is so incredibly frustrated that it becomes a meltdown.  The only thing that really shortens the duration is if I hold him and offer him continual reassurance that we’ll figure out what he’s trying to say together, I think he needs to know that I hear him - in the only way he has to tell me which is sometimes crying and screaming.

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28 October 2016 05:22 PM # 3

A Wheelr

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Joined: 2016-04-07 Posts: 2
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We have encountered more frequent meltdowns and I, too, think that they are stemming from the inability to communicate. We carry a blanket with us everywhere and he will usually hide and finish crying while I try to talk to him about what might be causing his meltdown or if I am clueless we try distractions, too. Youtube is our friend a lot as well. Sometimes though it turns into full blown tantrum and I remove him if necessary then let him thrash while I pretend to ignore it until he’s done.

It is NOT easy at all especially when you are getting stared at by others and kicked by your child OR your child knows how to make himself vomit.

We are working on trying to use picture cards that are in a small photo book so we can take them with us for communication. It’s a long process that requires lots of patience and sometimes I run out but it is worth the effort. I do think it helps to try to remain calm yourself (or at least pretend like you are).

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01 November 2016 10:35 AM # 4

sarahbrisdion

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Joined: 2015-02-10 Posts: 32
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We struggle with this too.

Sometimes when Hadley has a meltdown we can distract him (like Laura) with youtube or iPad games and then it’s manageable quite easily. Other times he will literally just be so loud and aggressive and cross about something that it’s impossible to calm him (usually something that we have said no to like having sweets before bed or telling him it’s time to clean his teeth!). If we can’t reason with him or distract him then we usually tell him he has to go in his room and get it out of his system. We will put him on his bed where he is safe and can’t hurt himself and let him scream and kick etc and get it out of his system. Although he hates this (and believe me he tells the whole street about it at the top of his voice) it does work eventually and he will calm down. We don’t leave him alone, but we don’t hold him whilst he is having such a major meltdown as it’s impossible as he is so strong.

He has a good scream and shout and kicks and punches and we keep asking him if he wants to calm down and tell him that as soon as he does he can go back to doing what he wanted or where he wanted to be and he does eventually calm down, we cuddle and move on.  I try very hard not to lose my temper (it is really hard sometimes when he is at his worst), but it does make him worse if I do.

Sometimes it takes a few minutes, sometimes I can be in his room with him for 15 mins or more whilst he shouts at me. My only rule is that I won’t take him out of the room or give him what he wants until he stops shouting and screaming. Once he is able to talk to me normally he can have a cuddle and we can go back to what we were doing. Sometimes that takes a lot of resolve and it is exhausting. But thankfully these really bad meltdowns are not all that frequent anymore. He seems to be a bit more in control of his emotions of late and it really only happens when he’s really tired.

I have no idea if this is the way to manage this, but it’s the only thing we seem to have found that works so far without just giving in to his demands all the time.


14 December 2016 05:18 PM # 5

Healing Heart

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sarahbrisdion - 01 November 2016 10:35 AM

We struggle with this too.

Sometimes when Hadley has a meltdown we can distract him (like Laura) with youtube or iPad games and then it’s manageable quite easily. Other times he will literally just be so loud and aggressive and cross about something that it’s impossible to calm him (usually something that we have said no to like having sweets before bed or telling him it’s time to clean his teeth!). If we can’t reason with him or distract him then we usually tell him he has to go in his room and get it out of his system. We will put him on his bed where he is safe and can’t hurt himself and let him scream and kick etc and get it out of his system. Although he hates this (and believe me he tells the whole street about it at the top of his voice) it does work eventually and he will calm down. We don’t leave him alone, but we don’t hold him whilst he is having such a major meltdown as it’s impossible as he is so strong.

He has a good scream and shout and kicks and punches and we keep asking him if he wants to calm down and tell him that as soon as he does he can go back to doing what he wanted or where he wanted to be and he does eventually calm down, we cuddle and move on.  I try very hard not to lose my temper (it is really hard sometimes when he is at his worst), but it does make him worse if I do.

Sometimes it takes a few minutes, sometimes I can be in his room with him for 15 mins or more whilst he shouts at me. My only rule is that I won’t take him out of the room or give him what he wants until he stops shouting and screaming. Once he is able to talk to me normally he can have a cuddle and we can go back to what we were doing. Sometimes that takes a lot of resolve and it is exhausting. But thankfully these really bad meltdowns are not all that frequent anymore. He seems to be a bit more in control of his emotions of late and it really only happens when he’s really tired.

I have no idea if this is the way to manage this, but it’s the only thing we seem to have found that works so far without just giving in to his demands all the time.


True distractions really do sometimes help a lot.

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04 April 2017 11:49 AM # 6

Kerry-Ann Fender

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Joined: 2015-06-26 Posts: 21
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Hi,
To be honest, I’m not surprised that reward charts haven’t helped. My understanding of meltdown is that it happens when a person can no longer cope with either the sensory stimulus, or the emotional stimulus, that their body is receiving, and that it is a reaction that is beyond their control, and quite distinct from what you might (or, rather, others might) call a ‘tantrum’. When my elder child experienced them he had no control over them at all. Afterwards he would be exhausted and have little or no memory of what had happened (we knew this because he’s verbal and able to tell us. I appreciate that this is not the case for many people). The only thing we could do was avoid the situations likely to trigger them - much easier said than done, especially if your child is not able to articulate how they feel or what they’re experiencing. We’ve had some behavioural issues with our younger child who is not so easily able to express himself. To help to identify his triggers we were given ABC charts to fill in, detailing the behaviour, what we were doing just prior to it occurring, and how it resolved. To be honest, filling in a bl***y form is the last thing you need to be worrying about in the immediate aftermath of a meltdown, but it has encouraged me to analyse the behaviours/situations a bit more (When I have time, which means it a slow process)

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