27 May HANDLING MELTDOWN IN PUBLIC
One of the biggest challenges for parents of special kids especially ASD, is to bring them out in public, as they are prone to have meltdowns and attract unnecessary attention. As they are usually oversensitive to the environment, the sensory input they receive are higher than normal people, which makes them easily overwhelmed when they are outdoor.
So how to handle this situation:
- Acceptance is the first key. We have to understand that what they are experiencing is messing with them a lot, so have a calm and nonchalant attitude. It’s not that they ask for this.
- As the problem with meltdown typically originated from the sensory issue, have some sensory toys on hand that can help to calm them down.
- Go to a less crowded or calmer place to lessen the sensory stimulation.
- Do not punish them. What they are feeling are out of their control.
- Focus on your child. People around do not matter. Your child is the one who needs attention.
It is best to identify the trigger of the meltdown. You can find patterns every time it happens. Maybe your child cannot tolerate loud sounds? Or the crowds? Or places with various bright lights? Or other factors? If they can verbally talk about it, ask them to explain how they feel. What they don’t like and what you can do to help.
It is undeniable that it will attract many eyes and the crowd may not understand enough about the condition, so the one who needs to be understanding towards your child is you. It is tiring for you, definitely, but so your child is.