Taming a Tantrum

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If you have ever seen your child with autism have a major public melt down, you are familiar with that uncomfortable feeling you get. In that instant both you and your child on the spectrum have lost control, other around you are watching, judging, and all you want to do is grab your child and run away. Then there are those situations when you can feel like where ever you are and what ever you are doing, your child is showing signs of a tantrum to come and you are secretly crossing your fingers that it won’t happen.

Well now you can prepare yourself by knowing exactly what to do in order to prevent the tantrum before it even starts.

  1. Learn what triggers their tantrums: Watch and jot down the things that typically sets your child with autism off in public. By learning the trends, situations, time of day etc. that trigger your child’s melt-down behavior, you will learn how to prepare for it and eventually avoid it all together.
  2. Plan in advance: Once you have figured out what triggers your child with autism’s tantrum behavior, take the necessary precautions and steps to create a game plan ahead of time to dodge a potential meltdown. Prevent unpleasant breakdowns by explaining what you are going to be doing ahead of time. Remember, it is much easier to change your errand routine than deal with a child having a full-blown melt down.
  3. Stop the tantrum before it starts: If you sense there’s a chance that your child on the spectrum is about to have a fit, do what you can to distract them so that you can stop the melt down before it takes place. Stop the bad behavior before it even starts by distracting them. Avert their attention and give them something else to focus on like a simple task, an object they would like, or a funny story.
  4. Always stay positive: When you and your child with autism on out and they are behaving properly, make sure to compliment them and point out the positive things they are doing. This will empower them to stay on track and will keep them happy.
  5. Be sympathetic to their wants: Being sympathetic will help your child on the spectrum feel heard and can prevent them from acting out or making a scene in order for their feelings to be validated. Just remember, even though you make it clear that you understand how they feel, it doesn’t mean you have to do what they want.
  6. Make them feel useful: Go into any public outing with a “goal or task” for your child with autism. Make it so you are doing the errand together. This will make them feel like you are a team, not like they are being forced to go somewhere they don’t want to be. Then reward them for a job well done with verbal praise or even a special treat that you know will make them happy and will reinforce positive behavior on future outings.
  7. Laugh a lot: Don’t let yourself get stressed out and don’t worry about what others around you are thinking. Your child on the spectrum can feel when you are stressed. Keep things easy going and fun, enjoy your time with your child and laugh. If you are in a good mood and you know what signs to look for, you know when you can continue on or when it’s time to call it a day.