Anatomy of a Meltdown

We had to put the breaks once again on the video games.  I hate to do it, but Kaden gets so overwhelmed and can't process his emotions during and after he plays.  So, now we are back to no Minecraft or Autcraft.  We did this a few months ago and we saw an amazing improvement.  He is sad and flipping out, but I know that after a few days into his game fast his behavior will improve and he will have better control over his emotions.

Last night, for nearly 3 hours he was banging his head, punching the walls and threatening because he lost his place in the game.  He wasn't able to save when the server went down.  I know that is pretty frustrating for any Kiddo to go through.  But, to Kaden it was over the top traumatic to him.  And when he reaches the point of Domesday you have no leverage with him at all.  Typically you could threaten a child with grounding or the loss of a favorite item or activity.  But, with Kaden that means nothing because right now he is already on the Titanic just waiting to drown. 

It is very painful to watch....basically you wait it out and try to keep him safe.  Safety is the main concern and at midnight we all need to be careful not to fall down the stairs.  :)  After almost 2 hours of violently kicking and self harm he balls himself up and hides under something, which signals to us that the worse is over.  Thank You Lord!!  Now he needs pressure of some sort....his weighted blanket, his service pup or wrapped up in our arms.  Then comes the talk portion where he tries to reason with what just happened.  When he was younger, he's 7 now.  This part of his meltdown would be him on the floor organizing toys or objects by size or color.  Now, he uses his words more, but after really tough episodes he will remain silent except for his humming and still sort things.  I find it is soothing for him and helps him make sense of what just happened.  As we head to the 3 hour mark he will ask for water and his bed.  I know he is exhausted right now.  Energy used up during a Meltdown can be compared to a Marathon for a young child.  In the past I would ask questions about his behavior and why he behaved the way he did.  Now, after years of meltdowns I know that it's useless to even try.  

And I know the next morning he wont even remember what happened.  If the meltdown was earlier in the day he may be able to talk about it at bed time, but more then likely not.  

He has explained it to me many times that having a meltdown is like playing 4 or 5 of CDs at the same time on the loudest setting.  You can't distinguish the individual songs playing.  You may catch a word or two, but not enough to make sense.  This is why what he rants about during his meltdown hardly ever make any sense.

For now we deal with it, and try our hardest to keep him safe.  Every day I thank God for my Kaden, our Family would not be what it is without him....
If you have a Kiddo with Autism how do you handle their Meltdowns?


  1. Wow, that part about the 4 or 5 CDs playing at once... that struck a chord. I wonder if that's what it's like for my son... Thank you for this!

  2. My son melts down to when playing games and cannot save or if something happens. However, it's not as bad as what you go through. It is sometimes hard to watch but at least you know what is safe for him. He looks so sweet next to his service dog. I meant to ask you what is autocraft? I don't think I have ever heard of it.

  3. So, so hard. Thank you for sharing.