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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

ColeHawlins Sun 10-Mar-19 18:39:09

* I’ve always understood the difference between tantrum and meltdowns to be similar to the other posts, if the behaviour stops when you get your own way, it’s a tantrum*

But it might be that any one of several soothing or security-providing things would help curtail the meltdown.

Giving them the one they were seeking in an attempt to self-soothe might just be the easiest and quicker option.

If you're aware of a range of triggers and a range of soothing strategies for a particular child I think it becomes clearer. In this case, identifying the significance of the party might also make it clearer.

I also think you can see the fear in a meltdown that just isn't there in an angry tantrum.

Harleyisme Sun 10-Mar-19 18:51:01

I am a mother to 2 chdren with asd also wife to a husband with asd and i have aspergers.

If hes been to a party he didnt want to go to hes probably very over stimulated a d looking for the one thing he uses to calm down. I would have let him have some time on fornite.

BrieAndChilli Sun 10-Mar-19 19:00:23

With dS1 you just have to completely leave him alone, not even talk to him, the more you try and engGe with him the worse he gets.
We just leave him, he normally goes to his room and bangs about.
Once he has calmed down we then have a chat with him about what happened, how he felt etc. More often than not now (he’s 12) he comes down when he’s calm and apologises for screaming.

It helps to realise what triggers a meltdown. You can’t always avoid situations and we always felt that he had to do stuff he didn’t want to as we are a family of 5 and he can’t always rule the roost. Real life especially work life means you have to do things and be in situations that aren’t ideal socially etc
But we would them recognise that and make allowances after so in your case we probably would have let him have 30 minutes on a game to de stress
DS1 can also recognise the signs of himself getting stressed and agitated and is able to verbalise that a bit more now. We still get outbursts - he has one this morning when I asked him to put trousers on and not stay in his pants as I was popping out and was expecting a delivery

Allfednonedead Sun 10-Mar-19 19:02:46

@reefedsail that’s a bit worrying! I do understand there has been little research done on the long term effects because in the US it’s just a good supplement, so little incentive for drug manufacturers to fund that kind of research.

Given the reading I’ve done suggests there is reasonable evidence of no harm from a couple of years of melatonin, and little evidence either way of risk from longer term use, I’m going to weigh up the risk to my son’s development from lack of sleep and chronic anxiety against the unknown risk of taking a well-established medication.

I’m shocked an entire NHS trust is taking such a decision - it seems quite short-sighted given the problems it may pose.

BrieAndChilli Sun 10-Mar-19 19:03:03

It’s very very obvious the difference between a meltdown and a tantrum. With a meltdown you can see the complete loss of emotional control, you can just tell. Nothing on do makes any difference even giving in and letting them do what they wanted in the first place, they’ve just gone so far beyond that straw that broke the camels back.

Allfednonedead Sun 10-Mar-19 19:03:46

Food supplement, that should say!

Lougle Sun 10-Mar-19 19:15:22

I don't think that a meltdown Vs tantrum can be defined by whether it stops by meeting a need. I think it is more to do with how much control the person has over their behaviour during the incident and how aware they are of the effect of their behaviour on the people around them.

Classic 'toddler tantrums' are often quite funny to see, because you get the periodical "effect check", where there is a slight pause, looking to see what Mum/Dad is doing, sometimes even a deep intake of breath, before a renewed effort to go all out with the kicking/screaming/yelling.

Older kids tantrumming tend to escalate in levels. They start with the mild pouting, move on to the lip wobble, the stamping of feet, the threats, insults, etc. It can get quite extreme, but it's logical and the child 'knows what they're doing'.

Meltdowns are different. They can be quite terrifying for both the person having them and the people dealing with them. They are emotionally exhausting. They are irrational, in the sense that the intensity of the meltdown doesn't necessarily correlate with the cause.

I don't know about Fortnite - I don't think I'd be keen on a 9 year old playing it. But if he does play it, then essentially, he was saying "I need to chill out".

reefedsail Sun 10-Mar-19 19:21:48

@Allfednonedead I would (cynically) question how much cost has to do with the decision.

RippleEffects Sun 10-Mar-19 19:28:04

The old if they can reign it back in it's a tantrum frustrates me.

If they reign it back in, once calm praise them for recognising it was going wrong and managing themself. Mastering regaining control when your core functions are shutting down, giving way to fight or flight is a really valuable life skill.

The attached graphic hits the spot for me and a version of it helped me understand and helped/ helps me discus it with my children.

Helentwinsplus1 Sun 10-Mar-19 19:28:54

It's YouTube in our house but I just let her get on with it even if it drives me insane at times. I find it diverts her attention and gives her chance to self regulate things before other things trigger the challenging behaviour.

Once she's calm I'll let her watch until the end of the video and she'll happily go on her way and do something else.

The only other way I've found works is to give her a clear plan for when we get home giving her a choice of ways to decompress. Puzzle books, reading under a blanket, listening to an audio book etc. Being honest though I often forget so she watches YouTube too much.

One thing I've learnt with autism is that you have to pick your battles!

Anotherday39 Mon 11-Mar-19 11:36:00

Thanks for your replies.

It appears to be a tantrum, but its more him not being able to control his emotions, where he is more upset than the situation warrants.

He gets really upset about being told off at school too or by us. It is not that you can't tell him off but you have to be very clear and not get emotional. He reacts with more aggression or emotion if you get confrontational.

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