My current home doesn't have a verandah but I'd like it to! A long porch surrounding the entire house. With a porch swing, potted blueberry plants, and a long strong dog laying at my feet. The sweet smell of lrosemary and freshly-turned soil wafting across my yard. The chickens clucking contentedly as they scratch for goodies in the fertile dirt. Knowing we have a full root cellar, trees in the orchard about to drop their bounty, and soup made all from hand-picked harvests bubbling in the crockpot. Heaven.

Please move with me over to my current blog, ... thank you!

Autism Meltdowns

Just wondering what would help to mitigate (slow down, reduce or even stop) my kid's meltdowns? He doesn't realize he's having them until they are over. It's like a fog he goes through, an out-of-body experience where he can see himself getting out of control, but can't do anything about it.

Afterwards he apologizes but during them ... well, I usually end up crying. Then it takes me hours and hours to get out of my crisis response mode while it takes him only a few moments to apologize and get back to his wonderful sweet self, leaving me in the dust.

Not sure a puppy is the way to go. Not now when he can get pretty violent during episodes.

Found this online:

The meltdown is a common autistic characteristic feared and dreaded by both caregivers and autistics. Not to be confused with a temper tantrum. There are differences that are easy to spot if you are looking.

1. During a melt down, a child with autism does not look or care, if those around him are reacting to his behavior. A child having a tantrum will look to see if their behavior is getting a reaction.

2. A child in the middle of a meltdown does not consider their own or others safety. A child in the middle of a tantrum takes care to be sure they won't get hurt.

3. A child in the meltdown mode has no interest or involvement in the social situation. A child who throws a tantrum will use the social situation to their benefit.

4. Meltdowns seem to move along under their own power and wind down slowly. With a tantrum, it will end suddenly when the situation is resolved.

5. A melt down gives the feeling that no one is in control. A tantrum will give you the feeling that the child is in control, although they are pretending they are not.

6. The meltdown usually begins when a specific want has not been permitted and after a point, nothing can satisfy the child until the meltdown has run its course. A tantrum is thrown to achieve a specific goal and once the goal is met, things return to normal.


There is nothing amusing about the meltdown. It is every known form of manipulation, anger, and loss of control that a person can muster up to display. It is loud, risky at times, frustrating, and exhausting. It is scary. The best definition is a total loss of behavioral control.

The problem is that the loss of control overtakes the child. They need their caregiver to recognize this behavior and help return them to control as they are unable to do so. A child with autism in the middle of the meltdown desperately needs help to regain composure.

As a caregiver of a child on the autism spectrum, you need to help the child learn to recognize when the meltdown is imminent. In this way, you can both work to avoid a meltdown. Remember the scary part mentioned above, think about an adult going out of control in a similar manner. The child needs to learn to recognize and learn to defuse this type of unacceptable behavior before they reach adulthood and are able to do more damage.

Carefully observe your child if they are experiencing meltdowns. Does the meltdown have a brief period before onset where your child spaces out? Do they get totally uninvolved with their environment prior to a meltdown? What are the signals?


When your child launches into the meltdown, remove them from any areas that could harm them or they could harm. Glass shelving and doors may become the target of an angry foot. Try to avoid having objects at hand to throw at people. Try to separate them from other people. Avoiding injury is the top priority during the meltdown.

Don’t try to reason with them. They aren’t listening and too much talking just adds to their sensory overload. There will be plenty of time to discuss it after they calm down. Remember, they aren’t like a puppy and their behavior doesn’t have to be dealt with immediately.
I do think that we'll work hard to focus on what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Look for/discern what his triggers are. When it begins, decide if the meltdown is worth not giving in on whatever he's requesting or refusing. Work on positive reinforcement.
Persistence, practice, patience, and consistency are the ingredients to succeed in teaching your autistic child acceptable social behaviors.

So ... thoughts? You know, for when he's past the point of no return ... until we can figure out what his triggers are?

Maybe an MP3 player with certain calming sounds or songs on it? A "worry stone" and accompanying "chant"?



Anonymous said...

My soon to be 13 year old son is PDD and I know what you are talking about. The parent of an autistic child needs patience, something I am convinced of every day.

My son is pretty good, but woe unto you who changes the routine or does not follow through on promised activities. The quickest way we've learned to short circuit his tantrum is to get his mind on something else quickly. Try not to notice the behavior, just get him / her thinking of something else entirely different - that seems to minimize the effects.

For him, a PS3 player seems to help immensely, especially if he has to deal with unfamiliar surroundings. Just having it onboard seems to calm him down.

Hope this helps - you are not alone, I assure you.

Vee and the Kid said...

Thank you so much for your comment. You're right ... my son can't stand when anything doesn't go as discussed.

Gave me some things to think about. Thanks. Vikki