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A meltdown or a heightened emotional state occurs when a child or Adult can longer process information, their brain becomes overwhelmed and they have lost the ability to communicate as we understand.
This can be a scary time not only for parents/carers but also for the Autistic individual themselves. it is during this time that it is important to remember that the behaviour is not anyone's fault but a process that needs to be worked and supported through.

ASD Helping Hands Adopt to Scared approach when supporting and talking through parents/carers about meltdowns and heightened emotional states.

S. Safe the initial focus should be to provide an
environment that is safe and secure

Don’t try to restrain the individual
Don’t leave him/her alone

Do remove unwanted stimulation or guide the
individual to a less stimulating environment
Do remove social pressure from the situation

C. Calm remain calm, there is no need for you to be out of control. Use concrete or literal language that is descriptive and not evaluative

Don’t try to “process” what has happened or is
happening


Do talk in a strong, calm and reassuring voice

A. Affirmation provide validation of affect and
acknowledge that the individual is doing the best
he/she can to resolve the situation

Don’t ask unnecessary questions or challenge
responses

Do refer to the individual by name and
acknowledge his/her fear

R. Routine the individual’s comfort zone is far
more likely to be in his/her repetition of routines

Don’t attempt to interfere with harmless routines
like repetitive statements or walking in figure of
eights


Do
-Reflect his/her behaviour and perception
-Encourage his/her routine
-Provide environmental supports for his/her
routines
-Offer reassurance


Only after the reaction is over, help
the individual repair the situation

D. Develop an intervention plan an intervention
plan reduces the frequency, duration, intensity,
and negative outcomes of meltdowns

Don’t rely on a generic strategy
Don’t develop a strategy without thorough
consultation with the individual and his/her family

Do work with the individual to develop concrete
behavioral strategies for assisting during a
meltdown

Managing Meltdowns: Using the S.C.A.R.E.D. Calming Technique with Children and Adults with Autism by Deborah Lipsky and Will Richards ISBN-10: 9781843109082