I’m hoping I can add a visual from ”No more meltdowns’ by Jed Baker PhD, which I read some years ago and have just come across again. It was worth revisiting as it has some practical strategies for managing ‘meltdowns’ and a four-step model :
1 Accepting and appreciating your child –via
- parent’s own self regulation, controlling own temper
- creating an atmosphere where the child feels competent
- avoiding power struggles
2. De-escalating a meltdown
3. Understanding why a meltdown keeps occurring – using a functional behaviour assessment
4. Creating plans to prevent meltdowns
From an OT’s point of view, ‘meltdowns often have a sensory basis, in that messages from sensory input (whether noise, touch, visual, oro-motor, movement, or the combination of these) often can become overwhelming, and the mid-brain goes into flight or fight mode, and a meltdown happens.
However other factors can be part of the mix, whether perceived social pressure, insecurity or anxiety, or more underlying issues such as not enough sleep, digestive or metabolic problems, It is important to tease out the causes and well as to provide a secure predictable environment (as much as is possible) with clear rules and strategies. The child also benefits from being able to recognise their emotional states and ultimately manage these, more independently over time. OTs are well placed to help with this process.