Firstly what is a meltdown?
A meltdown is a common autistic characteristic, not to be confused with a temper tantrum.
When a child is in the middle of a meltdown, she can no longer hear anything that an adult is saying. Reasoning doesn’t work. She is driven by inflammation or emotions or patterns set in the past. In a meltdown she does not care if those around her are reacting to her behaviour. A common cause of meltdowns is giving multi-step directions but often the meltdown will happen and it can’t be predicted or a cause is not found.
Causes of meltdowns:
1. Sensory, information or emotional overload
2. Task performance demands too many demands = panic
3. Sudden changes or shifts in expectation
4. Intense frustration resulting from RIGID needs
5. Lack of communication skills eg if non-verbal
When a child is having a tantrum they will sometimes look to see if their behaviour is getting a reaction. In a meltdown, the child is burning up inside and the job of the parent is to let the heat die down without getting burned in the process.