Autism-related meltdowns and behaviour patterns in children

Some children with autism have mood swings and tend to get upset easily. Their behaviour can become difficult to control at times.

Experts differentiate these behaviours as autism tantrums versus autism meltdowns.

Autism tantrum versus Autism meltdown

Tantrums take place when children are denied something they want.

Young children often get upset when things do not happen as per their wishes. This could be due to difficulty in performing some tasks due to limited motor skills and cognitive skills.

The difficulty they feel in expressing themselves can lead to a tantrum.

A meltdown happens when the child loses control over its behaviour. Often in such cases, only the parent can calm the child down.

Sensory overstimulation is one of the main causes for such meltdowns. When too many things happen at the same time, a child with autism can feel overwhelmed.

The child feels lost and has a meltdown due to emotional or mental exhaustion.

Anxiety due to a change of place or environment can also disturb a child and lead to a meltdown.

A child may also throw a tantrum to get attention and his needs met.

Some tips that may help

Talking calmly to the child is the key. Never overreact if the child is losing emotional control. Talking to the child in a raised voice will only make the situation worse.

Try and identify the common triggers that often affect the behaviour of the child.

Taking the child to a quiet place is also helpful. The child may calm down faster in a quiet environment. A change of place also helps as a distraction.

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