If you’re an autism parent, you’ve been there: You’re in the grocery store and suddenly your child is freaking out. What do you do? In today’s episode, we’ll look at how these meltdowns happen and how to handle them like a pro.
In this episode you will discover:
- The difference between a tantrum and a meltdown.
- The keys to avoiding meltdowns as much as possible.
- How your own emotional state may be contributing.
- How to anticipate and plan for these episodes.
- Questions from parents just like you, in our facebook group.
Mentioned on the podcast:
Join the conversation in our private Facebook group: Our Autism Blueprint Private Facebook Page
How To Create a “Calm Down Corner” or sensory -safe space for your child:
Providing a space in your house for your child to be able to calm down and self-regulate is key in dealing with meltdowns. Here’s how to make one in your home:
Choose a location and items that will be included in the calm down area
Designate a place where you child can go to be alone and feel safe and secure where no one else will bother them. It should be out of the way of any household activity. A tent in their room, a corner with pillows, or even a closet can be a great space. The space should include soft things like pillow, blankets, stuffed animals and/or weighted blankets. It could have dim lighting, fidget toys or maybe even paper and crayons, depending on what helps your child feel calm and centered. No electronics, iPads or computers.
Model how to use it
Tell your child that the purpose of this space is not punishment, but a place where they can go to calm down or feel secure when they need to. You may need to model this for them. For example: If your child is getting angry or melting down, lead them to their calm down area and show them how to use the items there to help them self regulate. You’ll want to try this first when they are feeling calm.
Gently remind them when they need to go their calm corner
You may need to start out by telling them they need to go to their calm area before they will see the benefit of it. Allow them to stay as long as they need to; this means you’ll need to help them check in with their bodies and see if they still feel anxious/angry/bothered/etc. It could also mean that they need to stay there until they stop screaming, yelling, cursing, or whatever negative behavior they are using to express themselves. Please allow them to yell, cry, scream, and get it all out while they are in their calm area. They might need to get it out before they can calm down.
Don’t use a calm down area as punishment
This area is NOT to be used as a “time out” or as isolation/punishment. It’s to teach your child that there a a space where they can safely express their emotions and then calm themselves when they need to.
A few items you may want to include in your calm down corner:
Disclaimer: although we do receive a small referral commission for each of the above items, we would still recommend them if we didn’t.
If you have a child whose been recently diagnosed (within the past two years) you know how difficult this time can be. Building Your Foundation: What To Do After Your Child Is Diagnosed with Autism is an online course where Janeen will teach you all the things she wishes she had known when her child was diagnosed.
Join our launch team to be the first to know when it’s ready and receive valuable discounts.