Reduce staff demands and potential conflict triggers around the child. Take into account a child’s sensory challenges or different cognitive functions that can affect their experience of a situation. By curtailing trigger situations, you may be able to avoid a meltdown before it happens, or lessen one. You can learn more about how to notice and keep track of triggers in this past blog post about Tantrums vs Autistic Meltdowns.
Avoid arousal triggers. When a child seems like they could be heading for an overload meltdown, stay away from direct eye contact, touch, and excuse any onlookers to the event that who could potentially elevate the child’s level of stress or excitement.
Ensure that parent/staff/support person is aware of their own attitudes and body language. When you are dealing with a highly stressed or sensory overloaded individual, it is important to avoid a confrontational posture, or attitude. Confrontational body language can cause further stress in a child you are trying to calm down – and on the flip side, appropriate postures and attitudes can reduce a child´s level of stress and reactions. Make sure that all caregivers are on the same page. Make sure that parental, educational and support staff beliefs about short-term management of challenging behaviour are looked at and discussed, e.g: when and why we choose confrontational approaches such as physical restraints – and not avoidance strategies.