The following is a guest post from Bonnie at National Autism Resources. They sell games and toys for kids with autism, as well as some equipment and other resources.
When you notice your child about to go into Meltdown Mode its easy to panic. Instead of panicking, try a product combo and send them to a calm down place. Here are 5 of our favorite product combinations to help sooth a meltdown before it comes full blown.
Crash Pads and Weighted Blankets
This tends to be one of the most popular and effective things a parent can do, especially when your child has sensory issues. The crash pad has large pieces of foam inside. It’s good for absorbing kids crashing into it, jumping, kicking and working some energy out. After a minute or two place a weighted blanket over your child. The weighted blanket will come in and finish the bear hug and warm feeling that can calm and sooth him or her. This bear hug and comforting effect can help to calm and relax your child helping to slow down the meltdown and help to prevent the tantrum. They may even get a short nap from it.
Light shows and scents
Products that project constellations or shoot fluid liquid movements and colors onto a ceiling is a great way to help your child calm down. They are great for visual disorders and when you combine them with soothing scents like Lavender or Vanilla, you can create an almost unreal atmosphere where your child can calm down, lay on the bed or floor and watch their own version of the northern lights while enjoying a scented toy or even scent producing machine.
Sounds and feelings
This is one that I would have loved as a kid. What you can do is have relaxation cds like streams or forests or even frogs (whatever works for your child) and have them sit back with a weighted lap pad. While the sounds are calming them, you can use a gentle massager (whatever helps your child with tactile disorder therapies) while they close their eyes and calm down. Between the relaxing music or sounds and the massage with the hugging feeling of the weighted lap pad, your child will hopefully be on their way to a calm and relaxed state instead of a full blown meltdown.
Having a few simple tools and an action plan that works for you child can mean the difference between losing a day to a meltdown and having a fun time with your kids. Keep a chart of what combinations work and rotate them out every once in a while so it will hopefully not lose its effectiveness. Also remember your calm down place should be special for your child. It should be used as a place of reward and a place of comfort. Never use your calm down area as a time out spot or discipline area.
Bonnie is the founder of National Autism Resources. You can find affordable, hand selected and tested products like Twilight Turtle, weighted blankets, flash cards and tons of free articles written by experts to support the entire Autism Community.