Autism: Common causes of meltdowns

Autism: Common causes of meltdowns

1. Sensory Overload: Too much and too intense, setting off fight or flight, panic reaction.

2. Information Overload: Too much information coming in too fast. Many children have delayed informational processing. Having to process multiple information simultaneously can overwhelm them. We need to slow it down, break it down, keep it simpler.

3. Emotional overload: Sudden, intense, and mixed emotions that come on suddenly and sets off panic reaction. Many children become overwhelmed and panic to strong emotions, both their own and others.

4. Task performance demands: Too many demands, too hard of demands, pushing the child out of their comfort zones, and not allowing children to pace themselves.

5. Sudden changes or shifts in expectations! Once the child has an expectation set, sudden snags or changes can set off immediate fright! Sense of safety and security is dependent on predictability of what they expect. When snags occur, there world falls apart.

6. Intense frustration: Rigid need to have what they want (actually perceived by them to need), when they want it. If the expected outcome does not occur, they become overwhelmed with emotion. May start out as a tantrum, but become flooded with emotion and panic sets in.

7. Lack of communication skills: For non-verbal children, or limited verbal skills, the immediate frustration of not being able to communicate what they want or need can set off intense rage.

8. Unable to "control" everything around them. The fear of uncertainty, and need for predictability creates a rigid need to control everything they do and what occurs around them. When forced to follow the lead of someone else, they panic setting of the fight or flight response.

Do any of these sound familiar? Do you have others to add to this list?

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