Having all of the family together for the holidays often becomes pretty challenging with special need adults who are socially limited and prone to escalating negative emotional reactions called meltdowns.
Of course anyone can have a meltdown but there are particular characteristics such as a difficult temperament, attention deficit disorder, autism spectrum disorders, chronic pain, and sleep difficulties that are more likely to result in the inability to control emotions.
Allow me to introduce you to my new support system, Jed Baker, with welcome advice for all of us struggling with people who need some support to help control this negative behavior.
This is a very brief summary of what I learned from my reading:
Identify the cause of the meltdown by looking at too much sensory stimulation, a lack of structure and planning, internal or biological triggers like hunger, pain, tiredness, and a feeling of inadequacy to complete the task at hand.
Try to adapt yourself to the situation by recognizing the person’s inability to cope with the frustration, control your own reaction to the situation, and finding ways to avoid demands that might appear unreasonable and build confidence for those that do seem reasonable.
Develop a prevention plan to change the sensory triggers, the timing of situations, and the difficulty of the task at the same time teaching skills to deal with those triggers that cannot be altered.
Find a reward and loss system that enforces the new no-melting behavior.