By Deborah Lipsky

In a chaotic or threatening state of affairs, worry is the first emotional reaction of an autistic person. usually the preliminary actual reaction is to freeze. 'Meltdowns', or mind overloads will be frightening for the person with autism, and for the individual attempting to support in the event that they have no idea how one can react during this state of affairs. universal coping options, comparable to hand flapping or leg shaking, might be misperceived as being wilful, noncompliant, and uncooperative; and a few thoughts as a rule prompt in periods of misery or drawback, corresponding to holding eye touch or utilizing gentle contact, might be counter-productive instead of offering relief.Using the easy-to-remember acronym S.C.A.R.E.D (Safe, Calm, confirmation, regimen, Empathy and Develop), coined by way of medical psychologist Will Richards, this consultant deals thoughts and useful options that would be a priceless reference software to somebody in a primary reaction place. The authors have created a coaching programme to provide an explanation for the autistic event and frame of mind, and advisor the interventions of first responders to autistic members in obstacle.

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Additional resources for Managing Meltdowns: Using the S.C.A.R.E.D. Calming Technique With Children and Adults with Autism

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These include forced transitions in thought as well as in physical location. Shifting of focus does not come quickly and, when forced, causes a diminished sense of safety and security. Many times a safe place is sought out if a situation is perceived as threatening. What appears to be running away is often running for security. When overwhelmed, an 31 MANAGING MELTDOWNS autistic individual may be focused only on returning home. Home may be hundreds of miles away. Sometimes safety is experienced by curling up in a bedroom closet.

8 Do not assume, if an individual is not speaking, that he/she does not understand that he/she is being talked about. 8 Do not talk about autistic individuals as if they are invisible. 8 Do not overwhelm with many questions. 8 Do not draw attention to perceived “bad behav- ior” such as swearing or threatening. 8 Do not try to confront individuals and chal- lenge the feelings of individuals in meltdown. They are not able to interpret or put their feelings in perspective but will more likely respond with “fear, freeze, or flee”.

3. Develop new calming strategies. Often this will involve visual imagery. Sometimes it involves sensory focus. 4. Sometimes exercise can be helpful in developing body awareness so that strategies can be employed in a more timely fashion. Some individuals use a schedule to monitor their bodily state and adjust accordingly. 5. Music often can exert a calming influence. It can be helpful to use a walkman or MP3 player with calming music to assist in maintaining or restoring a calm mood. 46 A ffirmation Adult autistic individuals in our society have frequently been labeled as dysfunctional or broken.

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