Hello Parents, professionals, autistic individuals, neighbors, friends, and more,
This tip is a simple but powerful one: connect first versus trying to control or change someone in a meltdown. We all have meltdowns and wish we didn’t. I think we can all agree that it is not a place any of us enjoy being (in the middle of a meltdown). We can’t think straight, we just want to run, scream, or hide. We lash out at others or ourselves.
I am a strong advocate for understanding what is going on neurologically that contributes to how we think, feel, and behave. Did you know that your brain simply does not work very well when in the fight-flight-freeze mode? Well, it doesn’t. When you are in the midst of a behavior storm it is not the time to plan, teach, guide, or reprimand yourself or others. Instead, slow down, sit down, and calm your own body: CONNECT with yourself first. If it is your child or friend or spouse who is melting down, allow processing time, relax your body, and allow that person to connect with you before you say much of anything.
Ways to connect your own brain and body AND connect with another individual when one or both of you are in the middle of a meltdown:
1. Sit down
2. Breathe (ask yourself if you need to give yourself a break to another room OR ask for help from another guide)
2. Get at or below eye level with the person who is melting down
3. Offer bids: try reaching out to silently to touch or engage non-verbally. If the other individual rejects the connection you will know they are not ready yet. Allow more time, and remember that the signal of connection may not be verbal.
True connection should never be confrontational or forced. Connect first with yourself and your child before any teaching, planning, or guiding for the most positive outcomes.