13 Ways to Prevent Autistic Meltdowns

I wrote for Break the Parenting Mold of 12 Ways to Prevent Autistic Meltdown. Full article at the end of this post, but I'll break it down here in improved snippets, and I'm adding one more thing...

Trying to stop an autistic meltdown will be in vain. It's difficult to stop a meltdown. Prevention is key. Here are some tips to help prevent meltdowns:

Improve Communication Skills

Autism struggles with both communication and social skills, but the root of the issues with social skills lies in communication impairment.

Working to improve age-appropriate communication skills will prevent meltdown frequency by a ton.

Deal With Meltdown Triggers

With autism, there is usually a pattern of behaviors that precede the meltdown. Try to find those behaviors. They are triggers. When you see those happening, that's the best time to intervene in a meltdown.

Also, as your child gets older, help them identify and cope with their own triggers. Come up with a coping protocol. In school, it helps to have this written down for all ages in the IEP, but with that IEP, you have the power for special privileges such as finding a place for your child to temporarily recluse.

Deal with the Food

Hungry kids are cranky kids, and autism tends to grow attached to routine, especially meal time routine. Make sure they are eating when they need to eat.

In addition, food allergies will often mimic autistic characteristics (hence a lot of misdiagnosis). There are detox approaches to autism therapy, and this is why they work some of the time. Keep an eye out if your kid seems to behave worse after eating certain foods.

Also, there's a bacteria present in the digestive tract in only autistic people. Not all autism has it, but only autistic people do. Children with this bacteria should avoid things bacteria eats like sugars and prebiotics. Carbs will offset the bacteria, which is why a lot of people on the spectrum develop an addiction to fast food.

Autism also tends to become picky eaters. You almost have to let them have their food their way because our bodies naturally cling to the foods we need, and autism is just super sensitive to that. If you introduce a certain food enough, they may try it out (the magic number for babies is 7, so give certain foods at least 7 goes before abandoning it).

Deal with Sleep

A tired person is a cranky person, and this is heightened in small children and people with autism. When you are tired, you're more apt to be confused and have less energy to control emotional responses.

You can use sleep aids like Melatonin to help your child fall asleep at the right time, and try to be consistent with sleep and wake routines. Treat falling asleep like you would a baby: make sure the temp, bed, sounds and environment are sleep friendly.

After school, let your kids have 20 minutes of play time to let their body's fatigue catch up to their mental fatigue. This is to help avoid after-school hyper-tired.

When autism starts to get tired, believe it or not, caffeine helps, even in younger children. If it doesn't work for your child, then at least you tried to combat the fatigue behind meltdowns.

Avoid Avoidance; Avoid Overwhelm

Repressed feelings are common in autism, and they stew until a straw breaks the camel's back and releases into meltdowns. With autism, it's common for them to not recognize an emotional response, hence the avoidance that leads to repression.

Help your child identify and deal with feelings as they come. Release those suckers out into the world before they turn into a mind poison.

Also use this advice in other realms such as to-do lists. When overwhelmed at all in any sense, autistic people tend to do one of the following: Shut Down or Melt Down.

Talk to Your Kid

Let your kid vent about bullies at school and get the reassurance that you care and stand up for them. Your kid needs the solidarity just like anyone else.

Listen when your kid tells you things. It's easy to ignore autism requests because they seem odd or stupid, but if your kid is telling you these things, they are not stupid to your kid and might be the very thing to help make life easier. Autistic people spend a lot of time trying to explore their self for improvement and problem solving.

In addition, lecture goes a lot further with autism than other means of punishment. Talk things out. Explain your logic. Show cause and effect. Autism doesn't deal well with vague responses. It just discredits your judgment in their mind because they can't understand why you disagree with them, and not telling them makes it easy to believe your reasoning is selfish or emotionally charged... because you know you're wrong and don't want to admit it (that's what it looks like, not what it is).

This also helps improve those communication skills autism needs to work on.

Respect the Alone Time

Autism really needs that time to be alone and recoup. Autism is very huge about setting feelings aside in the moment in order to provide their best, unbiased, to a situation. They need that alone time to recoup and sort out those feelings.

Also, when autism is delved in the zone of a special interest, they just don't like to be bothered. They are deep in that zone, and they don't want to come out of it until they get to a good stopping point.

Without the time to recoup or the time to delve into special interests, autism gets very aggravated.

Set the Example

That's pretty much the secret to good parenting. Kids don't do as they are told. Monkey see, monkey do (or monkey hates, monkey avoids).

There really is no way to help prevent meltdowns if you, the parent, are throwing them yourself when things don't go your way. If anything, as the child matures, their meltdowns will take on a different form than the common Aspergers Autism Meltdown. Be very mindful to how you react to things like losing your car keys or trying to get your kid to do something. Yell at an autistic kid to get him to listen, and he'll start yelling at people when they don't listen to him.

Avoid Authoritative Parenting

Talking down to them and being overly critical full of negative reinforcement does not work on autism, and in fact, makes it worse. They need nurturing and support. Without that nurture, with too much criticism, the meltdowns will be more frequent.

Autism doesn't understand the concept of an age gap. They are equal to you, not less. They need the same respect they give you, or you'll lose their respect.

In addition, autism is very self-critical. There is nothing you can say that we haven't already thought of when it comes to our flaws, and the difference is, autism knows themselves better than most people know them to recognize the root of the problems. Reinforcing that criticism and self-talk leads to problems like lack of confidence, reduced self-esteem, and other psychological things you really want to avoid unless you want a 20 year old emo living with you.

Get to Know Autism

It's really easy to skip over the parts of articles by autistic people that explains their strange logic. It's natural for people to avoid reading things they don't relate to.

Take time and read things written by autistic adults. They are telling you their perspective, one you cannot empathize with at all until you get to know what it is. You need this knowledge when analyzing your kid to problem-solve behaviors.

Be a CEO

Have little meetings with spouse or with yourself about progress. Identify what you want to work on. Maybe do some research on that behavior in particular. Make a game plan. Implement it. Then the part we all forget to do... Monitor results. What is working? Be honest about it. To avoid meltdowns, focus on triggers and communication.

Stop Listening to Idiots

Parents have this thing called instinct and intuition. They know their kids better than anyone else. Nobody else is as qualified on the subject of your child than you and your child.

More often than not, your instinct will disagree with the millions of voices surrounding you. You are probably reading this right now looking more for reassurance to something you feel as opposed to looking for answers. Go with your instinct.

Be Supportive

Harvard has done a 75 year study and still going where they took a sample of sophomores back in the early 1900's and a sample of kids from the streets. They followed these men all their lives regularly tracking information from the men and their family. What they have discovered is the key to success is not a high IQ or coming from lots of money, but from having a supportive environment of friends and family.

Autism may seem socially inept, but they have the same inherent needs for social constructs as everyone else. They need that support and love from their friends and family. The more supportive you can be and help other family members be, the more you'll see an overall improvement on all aspects of autism, including meltdowns.

I'm sorry none of these ideas are quick and easy, but you need long-term results that will last. The goal isn't to make meltdowns stop mid-meltdown or you'll be stopping what you are doing all the time for the rest of your life. In addition, keep in mind that the meltdowns become more dangerous and more difficult to control physically as the child gets older. Learning how to prevent meltdowns will give you more time to function as a human being without the interruption and migraine that associates a good autistic meltdown.

Here's the original article. It has different text for the most part under each heading. 12 Ways to Prevent Autistic Meltdowns

Michelle Grewe

Humor and Spiritual Writer and Graphic Artist, Michelle Grewe is an Air Force Veteran, mother, and a human jungle gym. Published in 7 Books, Michelle’s art is featured in her coloring book designed for spirituality and mental health, From Dust to Essence. Websites who have featured her work include Popsugar Moms, Mamalode, and Blunt Moms. Her nonsense actually does make sense if you drink enough vodka and pray. Find her on

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