Managing Meltdowns and Tantrums in Children with Autism

There aren’t enough words to describe the agony families face when their child simply ‘‘loses’’ it.

Wikimedia, 2013

Some parents deal with meltdowns and tantrums almost on a daily basis. This takes a lot of energy and deserves more attention.

In this article I will explain what any parent can do, and then how a well-trained classical homeopath may help reduce the stress and recurrence of these frustrating moments. All backed up by a well-received recent study…

Is your child throwing a tantrum or are you dealing with a meltdown?

Knowing the difference determines what you should do next and will call for different strategies.

A temper tantrum occurs when the child has limited communication skills and doesn’t get his or her way. The child is still in control and simply exerts their will. These tantrums can be quite violent and distressing for anyone involved.

A proper meltdown on the other hand is a totally different scenario…

Meltdowns occur either due to exhaustion or sensory overload leading to a psychological “storm” of the nervous system.

And when this happens your child needs your help. Parents may carry kits including

  • Noise cancelling headphones which block out distressing sounds
  • Blankets which create a barrier between your child and outside stresses
  • Unscented or organic hand-wipes for when your child touches something that creates discomfort
  • A fidgety toy which is familiar and calming

What can you do when your child has meltdowns in public?

When outbursts occur in public the pressure increases tenfold.

Parents are stepping into hurricane territory in this very moment. Onlookers can not only be judgemental but also fascinated by the scene unfolding. Here are some tips for how to deal with these challenges.

  • Stay calm or at least try to
  • Stop what you are doing and help the child
  • If the situation is severe, explain your child has autism
  • Ask bystanders to stand back because space will help your child to calm down
  • Remove the child if possible

If meltdowns occur on a regular basis or you are struggling with other unmanageable behaviour, you may have considered medication.

A recent study (conducted by Barvalia et. al, 2014) on 60 autistic children suggested that there might be a more natural, side effect free option.  Over the six month observational study children were treated with classical homeopathy.

A total of 88.34% of cases showed improvement.

The findings of this study demonstrated the usefulness of homoeopathic treatment in reducing the symptoms of childhood autism disorder. This is reflected in significant reduction of hyperactivity, behavioural dysfunction, sensory impairment as well as communication difficulty.

This favourable outcome suggests that parents may have broader options for behaviour management medication for their autistic child.

Contact

Heike Bishop is a classically trained homeopath situated in the Adelaide Hills working with children on the autistic spectrum. For more information and bookings please call 0437 796 079 or visit the website at www.adelaidehillshomeopathy.com.au

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