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ASD and meltdowns

(61 Posts)
Anotherday39 Sun 10-Mar-19 14:54:06

My 9 year old (possible ASD) is screaming hysterically and calling us name because we won't let him on Fortnite.

He has been at a party, which wwe made him go to.

What the hell do I do? He is hysterical

DoomOnTheBroom Sun 10-Mar-19 17:17:46

If letting him have what he wants (Fortnite) would calm him down, it's not a meltdown - it's a tantrum.

Oh do fuck off.

yep, agreed. You can see how people end up with these aggressive video game addicted 16 year olds when it begins this way.

And you.

Fortnite has been the trigger for the meltdown but not the cause. My own DS does this. He'll be stressed about one thing and then something else entirely will trigger him off, he may scream and shout about that something (Fortnite in the OP's case) but giving in and letting him have Fortnite wouldn't stop the meltdown.

werideatdawn Sun 10-Mar-19 17:11:01

EggysMom yep, agreed. You can see how people end up with these aggressive video game addicted 16 year olds when it begins this way.

DoomOnTheBroom Sun 10-Mar-19 16:41:25

Fortnite is PEGI 12; OP's child is 9.....

Content-wise, Fortnite is no worse than Minecraft. The only reason it's PEGI 12 is because of the online chat function but that doesn't present a problem if children are monitored while playing and the mic can be muted anyway. PEGI is a guide and parents should make their own decisions based what they think is acceptable content.

OP, my DS is the same age as yours and is autistic. Not all strategies work for all children but some of the things that help him calm down if he's not yet at exploding point are a bath (takes a while to talk him into it but he's instantly calmer in the water), a snack or a drink, chewing on a chew toy, a run around in the garden, and gaming time. Once he reaches exploding point then all we can do is make sure he's somewhere safe/contained and leave him to burn out as anything we do will only fuel it then once he's finished we have cuddles and we talk about it.

The party will have burned him out, now you know that this is a trigger for him you can work around it in future by doing things like leaving the party early (e.g., only staying for an hour) or giving him time to self-regulate when he gets home (e.g., by gaming).

When you're in the early days of ASD parenting there is a lot of trial and error but you'll figure out what works for you and your child based on experience. Two books I'd recommend are The Explosive Child and How to Raise a Happy Autistic Child. It could also be worth looking at what support groups there are locally as they often have education workshops for parents as well as activity sessions and events specifically for autistic children and their families, it makes such a difference being around people who understand what it's like.

EggysMom Sun 10-Mar-19 16:40:19

If letting him have what he wants (Fortnite) would calm him down, it's not a meltdown - it's a tantrum.

Thankfuckitsfriday1 Sun 10-Mar-19 16:35:24

colehawlins hit the nail on the head

Thankfuckitsfriday1 Sun 10-Mar-19 16:33:41

Why did you make him go?

Parties are HUGE for autistic kids and can be such a large cause of stress and anxiety if they have one coming up.

My sons autistic and during meltdown i try

- offering food or drink
- offering his weighted blanket
- our on a film for him or his fav show
- leave him alone on his own to calm down

Telling him off will make it worse and they can’t control actual meltdowns. It’s a scary things for them so support is needed. I know how hard it is though and i really do sympathise. It can feel so very overwhelming at times

42isthemeaning Sun 10-Mar-19 16:26:51

Op you have my sympathies. My asd ds (10) is exactly the same. I find that a gradual, staged, weaning off of the game time helps; eg fifteen mins before you want him to stop, sit and engage yourself with what he's watching/playing, keep reminding him that he has ten mins, five mins, etc. It doesn't always work, but it has been a lot more successful for us than just telling him it's time up, which has resulted in both dh and I being attacked.

Comefromaway Sun 10-Mar-19 16:19:16

I had assumed that he was allowed Fortnite, just not today or with time limits.

icelolly99 Sun 10-Mar-19 16:07:41

Fattymcfaterson because it's a PEGI 12; child is 9......

Comefromaway Sun 10-Mar-19 16:02:09

It takes a lot of energy for autistic people to be social especially in Ann overstimulation get atmosphere. Dd and ds describe it as being mentally and physically draining.

It’s important to give them some down time after such an event. Gaming can be a release and be calming for them. It allows them to decompress.

jaseyraex Sun 10-Mar-19 15:54:01

Ah OP, we braved our first birthday party with 4 year old DS yesterday and I spent most of the evening wishing we hadn't! I have to just leave mine to it when he has a meltdown. So far he doesn't call names or throw things or anything, just screams and screams and screams for what feels like hours!
Is there anything other than computer games that are soothing for your DS? We have lava lamps in DS room which can calm him down a bit quicker (if we can get him to sit in front of them).
If you're really struggling then you need to tell CAHMS and see if they can help more with strategies for getting through the meltdown.

BlackeyedGruesome Sun 10-Mar-19 15:51:55

Screaming hysterically and calling you names is not the worse meltdown possible. These things are not going to hurt him or you.

Different things work for different kids and for the same kid at different times or different levels of overstimulation.

Mine can sometimes be brought down from a potential meltdown by tickling to make him laugh. Try this further up the overload scale and it would make things worse.

Sometimes a hug works,
Massaging his feet or his hands firmly can work.
Exercise, heavy work, jumping off high things onto something soft, all help calm in early stages.

Sniffing fairy liquid and playing with the reversible sequin t-shirt are calming too.

Playing on the phone and computer can work.

In full on meltdown. Stop talking, stop the noise nearby, remove from fluorescent light areas, help.

Sometimes a hug will work. Still sometimes he is restrained in a full body hug as letting go may result in serious injury to a person or damage to property that can cause injury ( Eg he is chucking stuff at the windows) this usually pisses him off more but better a pissed off louder screaming boy than a dead one.

Hugging often works accompanied by massage.

Good luck.

Anotherday39 Sun 10-Mar-19 15:49:15

Yes, we are currently talking about his sleep refusal. His tantrums have escalated this week, teachers telling him off more, and the party.

Hoping for an assessment in next few weeks.Then it's trying to get family onboard.

Chouetted Sun 10-Mar-19 15:47:05

He's probably as traumatised as you are from the party, and now you haven't allowed him to self soothe with Fortnite.

Even if he wanted to go to the party, he's too young to manage the burnt out feeling afterwards. I feel a bit sorry for him. Sounds like you both need some guidance on autism, but for now, just let him meltdown - you can't stop it, and he isn't behaving badly, he's letting off steam in the only way he can right now.

Fattymcfaterson Sun 10-Mar-19 15:46:44

Is there a reason he cant go on fortnite??

I often find computer games help my DS relax.

ColeHawlins Sun 10-Mar-19 15:43:55

* He wanted to go to Party yesterday, and this morning more hysterics about going to party. At part...fine*

He wants to socialise and join in, but the reality of the party is too much sensory input and unpredictable activity (noise, music, children charging around) so he then becomes overstimulated but holds himself together until he's home on safe territory. Then he's at risk of meltdown as he relaxes and wants access to something he finds soothing, like computer games. When he can't have it; bang.

It's a typically autistic pattern. Parties are difficult.

Yes we are with CAHMS

Ask them if they can help you with advice and strategies. Tell them you're struggling.

cece Sun 10-Mar-19 15:43:19

My son does this a lot.

Feed him
Give him a calming activity
Hug him
Leave him to finish whilst checking he's safe
Take him outside for a walk
Take him for a drive

Those are some of my strategies.

ColeHawlins Sun 10-Mar-19 15:39:47

It's self soothing. Computer games are very immersive, repetitive and almost hypnotic. Also they're predictable, finite worlds, which is comforting to a child in the spectrum.

Anotherday39 Sun 10-Mar-19 15:39:27

He wanted to go to Party yesterday, and this morning more hysterics about going to party. At part...fine
Yes we are with CAHMS

RippleEffects Sun 10-Mar-19 15:39:06

I'm with everyone here, it's a keep them safe let them distress away from harm.

I'd only add that I find dehydration and lack of food effects mood and can help with the calm down process. I usually put a bottle of water (plastic no spill sports bottle type - learnt that beakers get thrown and cause a bigger clear up) and a flapjack/ brownie bar just in reach.

Anotherday39 Sun 10-Mar-19 15:37:21

Once he connected online (not fortnite, another online game)
It's like a switch. No more trauma, absolutely fine.
I'm traumatised, who has experience with this type of behaviour????

ColeHawlins Sun 10-Mar-19 15:24:51

* ColeHawlins Fortnite is PEGI 12; OP's child is 9.....*

Ah. I knew I was out of the loop.

Darkbaptism Sun 10-Mar-19 15:22:46

I agree with others it sounds like he’s overwhelmed from the party.

If my son did that I would either leave him to meltdown (any interaction during this time would make it work) or allow him to play fornite to unwind.

icelolly99 Sun 10-Mar-19 15:21:09

ColeHawlins Fortnite is PEGI 12; OP's child is 9.....

ColeHawlins Sun 10-Mar-19 15:18:36

If Fortnite is calming for him, you might need to rethink your policy. I don't mean allowing unlimited amounts, but maybe half an hour or an hour, timed with an egg timer, x number of times a day or week?

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