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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

Meltdowns & Tantrums 101: Share Stories, Frustrations, Tips, and Advice

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Members of our wonderful group have posted many personal stories about meltdowns, offered helpful tips, reached out to each other for support and shared helpful information and resources.

Get started with these 5 tips then click below to find more:

1. Be Proactive

~ Use these tools to stop meltdowns before they begin: Take note of what triggers meltdowns so you can avoid those places/behaviors/situations, set a schedule and explain expectations to your child, be clear about consequences.

2. Use Distraction

~ Try to head off tantrums before they occur by distracting your child with something they like -- a book or favorite toy, a calming exercise or game.

3. Pick your battles

~ If your child is in a safe place, sometimes allowing the meltdown will help it end sooner.

4. Ignore others

~ Public tantrums can be particularly frustrating.  The best thing you can do is focus on your child and what you need to do for them and ignore everybody else.

5. Use rewards

~ Encourage good behavior with a rewards program.

Click here to find even more tips and advice for handling tantrums and meltdowns, or share your own in the replies below!

Need advice on a specific issue?  Start a post to share your story and receive support!

by on Dec. 15, 2011 at 7:56 PM
Replies (21-30):
joniashv
by on Mar. 1, 2012 at 5:14 PM

My son is 17, and was only diagnosed with asbergers syndrom about 1 year ago.  i am at my wits end. He threatens me, goes into a rage and breaks things, he doesnt understand no. Sometimes I am afraid of him. Any advice would help.  Thanks

wavemistress
by on Mar. 2, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Boy had a meltdown last night about bathtime.  I didn't have this tool, yet.  I will try to use it next time.

jenjer1772
by on Mar. 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I have found with my boy that sometimes you can't avoid a meltdown, but if he has a quiet place he can go when he is upset he can calm down. After he calms down then I can talk to him about what happened and how to better react next time. I am very fortunate that I have this option and know it doesn't work with all children, but maybe it will with yours when you can't head off a meltdown. I do suggest that you find a quiet place when you are all having a good day.

kateash
by on Mar. 2, 2012 at 5:25 PM

i am here for my nephew he is 6 we are having very big issues and need help he is having severe trouble with rage and anger he has an older sister who also has disabilitys he has been known to bit hit punch kick  just about anything. i want both children to be safe and my sister and her husband are using every means they can to keep both children safe but taking care of them both has been a struggle sence they both have disabilitys. my nephew has high functioning autism. this is a new diagnosis for us. we are a strong family and looking for any ideas tips just any advice at all to help.  please email me with any advice we will take whatever we can get we are getting deperate i want my sister and her family to find a way to be able to live better lives for everyone please help  thank you ,   Aunt Kate    kateash3516@hotmail.com

lopezfamily2011
by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 3:38 PM

I face alot of the same problems with my son.  He can have a pretty good day, and get set off by correction. It will be interesting to see what people say :)

Shelly915
by on Mar. 16, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Wow I need this site. It has been a struggle for the past 2 years. I haven't had the support for my son nor myself since his diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Develope Delay. What I'm seeking is as much information as I can get about programs that I can take my son Seneca to for Socializing with other children on the spectrum. Seneca has behaviors and tantrums. He is also a runner, so we dont get out a lot . I cant find no programs for him join in our Chicago city. Our schools are over crowded and really not appropriate for children on the spectrum in a close environment. I had him in a daycare that told me that they could handle a child with special needs, but then I found out that non of his teachers are certified in special needs education. That jus blew me away. We are African American, and I'm finding out that although our area is high with speacial needs children, there are really no programs for them to go. None, this is scary for me. Can someone help me?

AydenandAlyk
by on Mar. 18, 2012 at 3:26 AM

do u have an iep set up for him?? Ifnot get with ur school and tell em u want an iep and u can put in there that ur child is to b set aside for anything or everything to help!!!

elvisfan1
by on Apr. 9, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Has anyone noticed the affects of Barometric pressure on their childs behavior. My son had a terrible weekend. He was so anxious on Saturday and couldn't calm down and then had a complete meltdown on Sunday. My husband said there were changes in the barometric pressure. I know I cannot control that, I just need advice on how to help my son with his anxiety. It is heartbreaking to watch.

lilfishbigocean
by on Apr. 9, 2012 at 12:25 PM

 My DD has major fits/tantrums.. Sometimes it's because she doesn't get what she wants. A lot of times it's because while she knows many words, she doesn't understand how to communicate them with me -- We've been using ASL for the words more, please, thank you, all done. Just basic words for basic neccessities. Although, it's not really working. I do have to agree with one of the first posts, where working with Birth to 3 really isn't really helping, and I do have to somewhat agree. We have very nice, kind, quick to help therapists, but I just don't see that much of a difference between what they do with DD, and what I do.

Also, when DD is having these "major fits" she goes into "head-bang-mode". To the point where she's left bruises and eggs on her forehead, and that's even after I remove her from the situation. Somedays I worry about if I'm going to have to call my DH at work and tell him he has to come home to patch up the wall. I don't want her to be hurting herself like this. Her OT says that she's looking for input whether or not its positive. Okay, I understand that - how do I help her NOT do it? We do the brushing technique, and I have to say -- I don't see a change, after 3 and a half weeks of doing it every 1-3 hours (depending on naptime). We use the ball, and we do squishes, and rolling, and bear hugs.

I'm lost. I need help. Someone message me. I need a friend. LOL :(

beadyeyez84
by on Apr. 24, 2012 at 9:47 AM

My son is 9. he also has a sensory overload at school or anywhere that has a lot of things happening at once. He has started really lashing out in anger when he has had too much. I don't really know what to do. I have been doing research to help me to handle his anger and to understand what steps I need to take but it is a big work in progress.

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