Three Simple Strategies for Comforting a Child Having a Meltdown

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When you have a child on the autism spectrum, public meltdowns can sometimes happen. There’s really no way to avoid them completely or accurately predict when they’re going to happen. But when they do arise, it’s important to know how to help comfort your child and help them cope with this very unpleasant loss of control.

Watch this reenactment of a child on the spectrum and how a brush of the arm or a loud noise can trigger a meltdown. In this fictional story, the child’s occupational therapist gives his mom three tips on how to calm a meltdown that takes place in public.

Photo: YouTube/Singapore Association of Occupational Therapists

She suggests that the boy wear his headphones in public places to help avoid meltdowns or during meltdowns to help calm him. He can also receive deep pressure through wearing his backpack or hugging it in front of him. An adult who’s there with him can also give him a firm hug around the shoulders if that pressure isn’t enough.

Photo: YouTube/Singapore Association of Occupational Therapists

While everyone with autism is different and different things can work for different people, these tips are, in general, helpful for many on the spectrum.

Parents also need to understand that meltdowns are not their or their child’s fault—these things just happen sometimes. Parents simply need to help their children cope with what may come when they are out in public and know how to effectively calm them down.

Knowledge is power! You’re doing a great job already, and we’re so happy there are parents like you who care about doing everything they can to help their children cope with a meltdown. Check out the video below to learn more.

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