My Autism Family

This site is for anyone who has been touched by Autism in some way

Meltdown versus a Tantrum

on June 19, 2013

I had no idea what the difference was between a meltdown and tantrum, until I experienced one with my son Cole. My first thought was this is not the norm. He would bang his head on the floor or wall. He would lose complete control. It was very hard to calm him down.When he was diagnosed with autism, I began to read books about autism and learning the difference between a meltdown vs. a tantrum. Now a days I can pretty much tell what will cause a meltdown and I try to avoid them. Like for instance, if he is tired or over stimulated, or if someone is constantly in his space. It just becomes to much for him to handle.

Once when cole and I was in a store he picked out a bunch of things he wanted and put them in the basket. I didn’t say a word about the items, knowing if he heard the word no or saw me put the items back, would send him into a full fledge meltdown. When I was at the check out stand I kindly asked the cashier when he wasn’t looking to please take those items off. It almost worked,as we were exiting the store he was looking for those items and quickly realized they were not in the basket, and started to have a meltdown. I am not saying what I did was right. I would rather him have a meltdown on the way home then in the store. I was able to distract him with one of the goodies I did get on our shopping trip, which caused the meltdown to stop.

Here are some links on how to handle a meltdown and also to tell the difference between the two.

How have you handled a meltdown ?
Please do tell!


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