Sunday, November 25, 2018

What Can Cause Meltdowns And What To Do

So last time I wrote about staying calm during a meltdown.  But what causes a meltdown? Actually, many things can cause one. So if many things can cause it, how do you know what to do?  How would I get a plan? Well if you don't at least have a good idea of what causes it, your plan you create will not be that good or there is good chance that it will not work. So I know that you're confused. See if this might help.

You have to do observations and some deep thinking to try to figure out the antecedent (this is what happen before the behavior.)
When you know what happened before the behavior, this helps to determine what causes the behavior.

Here are some things to watch for:
Sensory Overload
Not Understanding Social Issues or Clues
Lack of  Communication
Schedule Messed Up
Compulsive Behavioral Interruption

These are a few things to watch for.

Let’s break down some of these causes and talk about what could help.

Sensory Overload - If a loud noise is causing overload.
Minimize when and how much they are in the middle of the load noise. If you know that loud noise will occur, and their communication is progressed enough where you know they understand, tell them ahead of time that it will be loud.
Make appoint to have opportunities to desensitize them to the noise that bothers them. Do this by introduces them to the noise at a low tone for very short time. Slowly increase the sound until it just does not both them anymore.
P.S. You can not take away sensory issues but you can just replace it with something more appropriate or socially acceptable.

Social Skills -  Teach them social skills.  This can be as simple as showing them flash cards of emotions and teaching them what they are according where they are in their stage of learning. (Always meet them where they are) and yes this process can take along time just be patient!
Use social stories to help explain the situations.
Look up social story. If you have questions feel free to comment.
Use videos of kids playing. Watch with them and explain as you watch.
Try to minimize the social skill situation there in until their skills get better. Slowly introduce them to more and more situations and people. Always push but be careful not to push them over the edge. You just have to learn where that point is.

Lack of Communication -  Wow! This is a big one. You have got to teach them some form of communication.  My favorite is a communication device. I've never seen one child that could not learn to use this. NO it does not replace their own words but research shows it helps them use their own words.  Of course I'm referring to non-verbal kids or adults. I really like this topic so send me questions or comments.

Schedule - If they meltdown because of being off schedule, give them visual schedules. Let them take it off the board to see what is happening next. Again please comment with questions if this does not make sense.

P.S. One of my upcoming topics soon will be on Dyslexia.  I have Dyslexia and I want to talk about what it's like to live with it. I have someone who helps me with my pots and I rarely put anything out to public without someone close to me proofreading it.


  1. With Gunner, we have struggled for years with sound/noises. Most loud noises do not bother him at all. The ones we struggle with are birds, kids younger than him, or babies. And, Jonathan’s cough. Anyone else on the planet can cough and it doesn’t bother him, but Jonathan’s does. We have tried several things, somethings have help slightly, but nothing has truly been successful.

  2. I have a student that can't stand cough of one certain person and baby cry drive him nuts. Head phones are great to wear until he can get to where he CNA stand it. I would record his cough make social story where it is ok to cough and why people have to cough. Play the recording to him give him reinforcer after he hears it and reacts calmly. Only you play the recording not jonathan after you do this many time let him be around the real cough coming from Jonathan also giving him reinforcer (the timing of your reinforcer has to be right on taget) it could be something that is locked in his mind that it is so bad to hear don't get me wrong it's real in his mind but after awhile if your consistent good chance he will realize it's not that bad.. start him out small doses. :) please keep me up to b date if you decide to try this

  3. Oh as you know gunner will be able to hear noses you don't even realized. Our kids deal with so much we only get to see what they are overloaded in becuase it comes out negative behaviors what we don't see is all the things that still bother them but they have learned to coup with it..

  4. Heidi my goodness we miss you!!!! :) excited about him getting communication device! Good chance you Inc will pay because of his diagnosis and age. Must speech therapist go through your insurance company to get him one. There are at least 5 good ones that I know about but my favorite is proloquo. It the must user friendly it will be easier for you to add and it can be locked so he can't get into setting because we know he will LOL. They also have case that he can not break also has a frame around the pictures so you have to intentionally push the right picture. I will take picture of it send it to you on messager facebook. Keep me posted with how ita going or if I can help!