What does she need for a meltdown?

Page 1 of 1 [ 12 posts ] 

Spacedoubt
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

User avatar

Joined: 19 Apr 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 153

09 Aug 2009, 7:38 pm

My 12-y.-o. daughter, who I strongly suspect has AS, has these episodes. It happened today. We were trying to get ready to go somewhere that she wanted to go. Her sister and I were ready, but she kept changing her clothes, looking for something with a pocket. She had about 2 hours notice that we were leaving.

Very quickly she started putting her hands over her ears, even though I was speaking softly to her, and screaming. She curled up in a ball. She started crying.

I asked her what she needed and if I could do anything to help. I offered to put her phone in my purse, because that was the source of all of her stress. She screamed at me because I was asking too many questions.

This happens frequently. She becomes violent towards her sister.

What can I do when she gets overwhelmed? What is the best thing to do to help her?

When I get overwhelmed, I need to be alone. I swear, though, if I suggest that she cool off alone, she'll scream about that.



LostAlien
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 3 Feb 2009
Age: 36
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,577

09 Aug 2009, 8:22 pm

Does she have touch issues when this happens? If she doesn't, perhaps to try rub her shoulder gently. About the alone time, it may take a while before she realises if she needs it.

Are you able to discuss this with her when she's calm? Perhaps that will give a hint as to help her through it.

If it's a time issue, does she have a watch? If she does, perhaps getting a clock with no battery that you can set the time (a twelve hour one) and saying we're planning on leaving to do this at this time. I mean that when her watch and that watch match that is the planned leaving time. I don't know if it would work but it might be worth a try. I know that my Mum sometimes wrote down the time for me and it helped me a wee bit.



Spacedoubt
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

User avatar

Joined: 19 Apr 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 153

09 Aug 2009, 8:36 pm

Maybe. She can't keep track of a watch, though.

Thanks for the idea. I googled aspergers+meltdown and I got some websites that looked really terrible.



photosapian
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 21 Jul 2009
Age: 28
Gender: Female
Posts: 26
Location: Tampa

09 Aug 2009, 9:20 pm

I know, personally, it helps for my mum or boyfriend to leave me be, give me space, when I melt down.
Perhaps if you try that, without speaking to her too much to tell her you're leaving her room until she's calm, that may help shorten and ease her meltdowns. Afterwards, when she's calm, maybe the two of you and her sister could sit down and discuss what makes it worse-does touching her at all cause more stress to her body? Speaking to her? Trying to get her attention in any way?
For me, the more questions are asked, the more I'm touched or the bigger deal someone who happens to be unlucky enough to be around during a meltdown makes of it, the worse they are.

Also, when she's calm, perhaps looking for triggers of the meltdown will help.
What are her actions up to meltdown? Does she start twitching? Compulsively doing something [turning on or off lights, opening and closing doors or drawers, cleaning, re-arranging things, etc]?
Analyze the day leading up to the meltdown as well. Was there more stress than usual? Was she nervous about going to this place, even though she wanted to go? Was she on sensory over-load?

Figuring these things out take time, and could lead to more meltdowns in the process, but once you figure them out, it will make all the difference.

I'm still learning my own triggers, and by knowing some signs of impending meltdown, I can almost circumvent them in positive ways.


_________________
And music pours on mortals
Her magnificent disdain. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

http://www.myspace.com/flutesbestdamnthing

http://kidsmpowered.squarespace.com/ellannas-journey/


gbollard
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 5 Oct 2007
Age: 52
Gender: Male
Posts: 4,505
Location: Sydney, Australia

09 Aug 2009, 11:03 pm

You googled some sites... did you find mine?
http://sites.google.com/site/gavinbollard/about-aspergers/What-are-Meltdowns


Meltdowns appear to be current issues but really they're the weight of "past issues" bearing down on you.

Your daughter needs to get over the meltdown by herself and you need to stay out of her space while she does. If you get in her way, the meltdown will go on for longer and she could lash out.

When the meltdown is over ... truly over (another day)... take her out for a coffee or have a nice "you and her" only morning tea at home.

Don't be negative about the meltdown... just say... remember that thing yesterday? What could we do to make that not a problem? Throw some ideas, do you want a purse/bumbag? Do we need to get more things with pockets?

When she starts to feel that she can talk to you, she may be able to get rid of some negative emotions and reduce the intensity or frequency of the meltdowns.



leechbabe
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 25 Jul 2008
Age: 44
Gender: Female
Posts: 210
Location: Melbourne, Australia

09 Aug 2009, 11:32 pm

Both my girls very much need to be alone when they get overwhelmed like that.

I've learnt through my mistakes to walk away which just goes against every instinct I have, I want to hold them and make it better, solve the problem there and then.

Usually they are in their bedroom, lights off is often best and I stay away but near enough to hear if something is wrong.



Spacedoubt
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

User avatar

Joined: 19 Apr 2008
Gender: Female
Posts: 153

10 Aug 2009, 8:40 pm

Thanks gbollard. Your website is definitely better than anything I found.


Leechbabe, I think you're right. I feel as if I need to comfort her, but that's the last thing she wants.

Thanks.



matrixlover
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 11 Feb 2009
Age: 45
Gender: Female
Posts: 68

11 Aug 2009, 8:32 pm

what your NT instincts tell you to do. Leave the child "alone" but continue to supervise from a distance. Of course you must intervene if the child becomes violent or self-injurious but again, less is more. A meltdown is a time of little logic. The most verbal people may become incapable of processing language meaninfully. By pouring on the talk, you may actually cause escalation.



Mudboy
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 May 2007
Age: 57
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,456
Location: Hiding in plain sight

11 Aug 2009, 8:59 pm

Simply ask her.

In this situation, the answer could be "Please help me find my clothes and then wait 5 or 10 more minutes." I have had that problem of needing help to find the right thing to wear.

The meltdown was probably from wanting to do it herself, trying and failing, needing help but not wanting to have to ask and confirm the failure.


_________________
When I lose an obsession, I feel lost until I find another.
Aspie score: 155 of 200
NT score: 49 of 200


kdeering75
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 5 Feb 2007
Gender: Female
Posts: 61

12 Aug 2009, 12:10 pm

In my experience age is a factor. My son who's 11 years old, if I don't go in after a certain amount of time, the meltdown can last hours. Sometimes its just saying something he thinks is funny distracts him long enough to calm down, like him wiping his "boogers" on his arm and trying to wipe them near me and I say something gross about it and it makes him smile.

I've tried leaving him with a meltdown and we reach hyperventilating crying...not a good scene. The paperbag I brought him suggested by his doctor actually distracted him long enough that he stopped. But we still get meltdowns depending on the situation.



barbedlotus
Pileated woodpecker
Pileated woodpecker

User avatar

Joined: 20 Jul 2009
Age: 32
Gender: Female
Posts: 185

13 Aug 2009, 3:25 am

Spacedoubt wrote:
My 12-y.-o. daughter, who I strongly suspect has AS, has these episodes. It happened today. We were trying to get ready to go somewhere that she wanted to go. Her sister and I were ready, but she kept changing her clothes, looking for something with a pocket. She had about 2 hours notice that we were leaving.

Very quickly she started putting her hands over her ears, even though I was speaking softly to her, and screaming. She curled up in a ball. She started crying.

I asked her what she needed and if I could do anything to help. I offered to put her phone in my purse, because that was the source of all of her stress. She screamed at me because I was asking too many questions.

This happens frequently. She becomes violent towards her sister.

What can I do when she gets overwhelmed? What is the best thing to do to help her?

When I get overwhelmed, I need to be alone. I swear, though, if I suggest that she cool off alone, she'll scream about that.


She told you right there. I have this prob too. If someone keeps talking when I'm starting to have an episode it makes it SO much worse. I need to be left alone until it passes, but something about being told to be alone makes it not work. Try when she's like this to just leave her be, make sure the other kids leave her alone too for 10 min to an hour depending on how bad it seems (I know when its time to go this isn't an option, but at other times) and then come back and silently check up on her (give her a hug or go back to doing whatever was being done) and wait for her to start conversation up again. It's inconvenient, yes, but just remember it is for her too. It's SO frustrating when it gets overwhelming because you can't think and the longer it goes on the less you can function. To me it's almost painful but without the pain part if that makes any sense. And accidentally pushing an episode further is really easy to do because little things you might not notice will be a big deal for her if its a trigger for her.

Another thing is step back and look at a bigger picture. A combination of seemingly small problems is a big trigger for me. I can handle a lot of ut-ohs usually, but put too many too close together and I totally breakdown. My guy gets really confused by it too and always asks me why such a little thing makes me fly off the handle. I don't think I explain it well when I try to point out its not that little thing that made me so mad. It was just the straw that broke the camel's back sort of thing. Was she having other problems that day? (any other lost items, tripped multiple times, spilled or dropped a lot of things, got a bad grade on something, change of plans on something she was looking forward to? I know these all seem minor but stack them up, add a rush to leave and no cool down time and its meltdown material).

Also does she seem to have any problems asking people for things (getting really shy or stressed about it?) If so, it could be why the suggestion that you carry it didn't work.

If too much talking when she's stressed really gets to her, see if she'd like to learn sign language. This may or may not work, depending on if its just the sound of talking or if its the process of conversing that is causing the problem.



Last edited by barbedlotus on 13 Aug 2009, 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Who_Am_I
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator

User avatar

Joined: 27 Aug 2005
Age: 35
Gender: Female
Posts: 13,096
Location: My body is in Brisbane and my mind is in the gutter. :D

13 Aug 2009, 6:40 am

When I melt down, the only thing that works is for me to be left alone to calm down. If I was after something fairly specific, like your daughter was, and I was melting down over it, I'd know perfectly well that I was behaving irrationally, but I'd still be unable to stop it. Someone asking questions, even if they were offering helpful alternatives to what I wanted, would only make things worse because it would be too much to process. Only after I calm down, am I receptive to any communication.


_________________
Music Theory 101: Cadences.
Authentic cadence: V-I
Plagal cadence: IV-I
Deceptive cadence: V- ANYTHING BUT I ! !! !
Beethoven cadence: V-I-V-I-V-V-V-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I
-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I! I! I! I I I