But, the great news is we now have so much knowledge on how the brain of an individual with ASD ticks, we as parents/therapists/teachers/peers are able to teach and help the child utilize strategies to help understand what is happening to their bodies before a meltdown occurs. The majority of behavior meltdowns stem from ANXIETY within the individual that is created from a BREAKDOWN in one or more of the following: the routine/structure within one's environment, the sensory system and how the environment is affecting it, and the hidden social communication rules/skills that are expected of every individual. When this breakdown happens the individual with ASD does not reference their body's signals to tell themselves they are anxious and need a break. They need to be taught the signs their body gives them, what those signs mean and then how to connect those two facts together and react according to what their body is telling them it needs.
Dr. Tony Attwood explains this concept in this short clip below. Don't fret family members and caregivers! We can minimize the frequency and intensity of meltdowns for your loved one. They just need you to be patient with them and understand that their behaviors are not manipulative in nature and they need your help to learn, understand, and connect with their bodies so they can maintain control.
Always remember...maintaining patience and control as a caregiver requires extreme amounts of energy. Be sure to find ways to recognize your own emotions and body signals and give yourself a needed break, even if it is only a hot bath or shower with your favorite song blaring on the radio; it's imperative for you to rejuvenate!
Keep up the great work and take a look at this video.
For more info on Dr. Tony Attwood go to: http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/
Post written by: Sabra Evans