Dealing with an autism tantrum can be a difficult and overwhelming experience for both parents and caregivers. However, with the right strategies and techniques, it is possible to deescalate an autism tantrum and create an environment where the individual can feel safe and secure. This will help you to understand how to deescalate an autism tantrum in the moment.
To Deescalate an Autism Tantrum, You Must Remain Calm:
The first step in deescalating an autism tantrum is to remain calm. It can be difficult to do this in the heat of the moment, but it is important to remember that the individual is in a heightened state of fear and confusion. Taking a few deep breaths, counting to ten, or even leaving the room for a few moments to collect your thoughts can help you remain calm and in control.
Once you have regained your composure, it is important to assess the situation. Is the person feeling overwhelmed, scared, or frustrated? What is the environment like? Are there too many people around or is there a loud noise that could be triggering the situation? Once you have identified the cause, you can take steps to remove the trigger and start to deescalate the situation.
What is the Individual Telling You?
It is also important to be aware of the person’s body language and verbal cues. Does the individual appear to be calming down or are they still escalating? If the person is calming down, you can continue to use calming strategies such as providing a safe and secure space, talking to them in a gentle and calming tone, and providing comforting physical touch.
Finally, it is important to remember that the tantrum is a sign that the person needs help and understanding. Your response should be focused on providing the individual with understanding and support, rather than punishment or reprimand. By responding in this way, you can help the person learn to regulate their emotions and cope with difficult situations in a more positive way.
How to Regulate Emotions Through Sensory Input:
Regulating emotions can be a challenge, but it’s possible to do so through sensory input. Sensory input is any type of stimulation that we receive through our senses, such as sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. By using these senses to your advantage, you can help to regulate emotions and create a sense of calm. Here are some ways you can use sensory input to regulate emotions during a meltdown for someone with Autism:
- Visualize Calming Images:
- Some individuals love visual sensory input such as watching something calming like a fish tank, a lava lamp, something that has calming movement and interest. Setting up something like this can be very relaxing for someone during a heightened moment in their day.
- Listen to Soothing Sounds:
- Music can be a powerful tool to help regulate emotions. Turn on some calming music, a sound machine, white noise on youtube, etc… This could be another great way to help bring down emotions when the individual is feeling elevated.
- Deep Pressure Input:
- Massages can be incredibly relaxing, and they can help to reduce stress levels and regulate emotions. If a massage for the person isn’t possible, try a weighted blanket, an electronic massage tool, or a compression garment to help give them that physical input they might be looking for.
- Go Outside for a Walk:
- Spending time in nature can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Simply being outside can do so much for someone’s mental health and to brighten their mood. If you’re able to be outside for an extended period of time and take a walk, that movement can be great to regulate emotions as well.
By using these tips, you can help to regulate emotions and create a sense of calm. It may take some practice, but with time and patience, you will be able to find the right sensory input that works for the individual you serve.