If your child with Asperger's syndrome has a meltdown, it can cause severe anxiety and trauma in your life. Preventing your Asperger's loved one from getting so overwhelmed that they meltdown can be difficult. And meltdowns can be scary! How do you know one is coming?
1. Know Your Asperger's Kid's Triggers
Does your child get upset if he misses his favorite TV show at 4:30 pm everyday? Do long lines at grocery stores overwhelm him? Is he particularly sensitive to loud noises? You should know what your child's triggers are – the things that are most likely to cause him to have a meltdown – and try to avoid them. If they can not be avoided, you should try to come up with some plans to reduce the impact they will have – earphones, Game Boy, anything to distract them – and also limit the exposure to a very short time. Anything else is inviting a meltdown to happen.
2. OK, my child has Aspergers's, so how do I figure out what my kid's triggers are?
Pay attention to your child's daily behavior. Keep a diary of what your kid was doing right before the meltdown happened. Occasionally, you will start to see a pattern emerge. Think of this as diagnosing your Asperger's child's behavior. Things that might have seemed perfectly harmless to you might be a major problem for your child. For example, maybe he was playing in the dirt, and getting dirty triggers him. Maybe it is a scary TV commercial. Maybe it is wearing itchy clothes. You almost have to be a detective sometimes, watching and analyzing the environment around your child, to figure out what causes your child's meltdowns. But the good news is, once you do, you can go a long way towards stopping them!
3. Look for Physical Cues
If you look closely, the signs of an impending meltdown are not that hard to spot. Your child with Aspergber's syndrome may have a strange look on his or her face, or be making strange noises, such as humming, whining or grunting. Is she more withdrawn than usual? Or is she talking a mile a minute? Is she fidgeting more than usual? If you know what your child's behavior usually looks like, then you will know that any deviation from it can be a sign of an impending meltdown and stress build-up.
4. Know Your Child's Limits
Again, being the parent of an autistic child requires extreme powers of observation. In order to prevent and predict meltdowns, you should be aware of your child's limits for any given activity. How much of the grocery store can he usually handle before he flies off the handle? If he's hungry or sick how does that affect his ability to cope? Is he okay with a crying child in a restaurant for a few minutes, or will the first note of it set him off?
Observe these limits, and do your best to remove him from the situation as soon as you see these limits being breached. Go to a calm, quiet area where your child can get himself together before it becomes a full blown Asperger's meltdown. Try to find an area without bright lights. If he is in a room where the lights can be dimmed or turned off, do it. If you follow these guidelines, you soon will become an expert in predicting and preventing your Asperger's child's meltdowns … after all an ounce of prevention makes all the difference.