A meltdown is scary and lonely. A change in routine can be enough to tip the scales in sensory input and cause what is titled a “meltdown” where a person with autism or asperger syndrome temporarily loses control due to emotional responses to environmental factors. They aren’t usually caused by one specific thing. Triggers build up until the person becomes
Recovery may involve time to do nothing at all. For some students the recovery phase involves a process that takes him or her from a semi-agitated state to a fully calm state. Consider the following steps: Allow the student to engage in the highly preferred/calming activity without setting the timer until he/she appears to have recovered as fully as possible.
There is nothing amusing about “the meltdown”. It is reflective of a complete loss of control of the person with an autism spectrum disorder. It is often loud, risky at times, frustrating, and exhausting. Here is a video that explains meltdowns from the perspective of someone living with autism. Feel free to share with others, as it is available through
Middle school. The darkest and most hideous, oppressive years a human can fathom. When the hormones are just ripe enough to make you want to take on the whole world, but maturity has not yet developed enough to realize there are things such as consequences. But me, I did not get into any real trouble, instead I became profoundly confused and unhappy.
If a student can express their inner feelings, then adults could help them prevent further escalation. This can be done by engaging the student in conversation about the problem, or beginning a calming activity. Often however, the student has difficulty expressing those feelings until it is too late. A feelings chart may be an effective visual support to help students
A common mistake some people make is comparing an autistic meltdown to a temper tantrum in younger children. Often when someone is younger, they don’t know how to properly express or work out frustration which occurs during the meltdown, so there could be screaming, crying, and even thrashing. It might look like a temper tantrum, but it’s not being done