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It’s a common question – how do I deal with that meltdown?

So here are some of our ‘go to’ tips!

  • As a support person, take a breath and remind yourself that you need to stay centred. You’ve got this, but you need to project calm and empathy.
  • Only speak when necessary and keep language simple, short, direct and positive. This is not the time to be pointing out what the person is doing wrong, or ‘over-talking’ in the attempt to create distraction.
  • Keep your voice low when you speak, especially if you’re addressing the person experiencing meltdown – high pitched sounds or a raised voice may only escalate the situation and make it harder for them to work through.
  • Remove loud noises, turn off bright lights, or darken the space if you can.
  • If other people are around, clear them from the space if possible or, alternatively, help the person move to somewhere away from people. Protect everyone’s dignity and safety always.
  • If the meltdown behaviour is aggressive, remind yourself that the person is not choosing to do this to be naughty – their body is simply out of control. So give space.

  • Avoid crowding in, circling or supervising from close proximity – this may likely escalate the situation. Think about when you’re feeling horrible yourself – do you really want people pushing their way into your space or following you around? Supervision can still be provided safely from a distance and without ‘fronting on’ to a person.
  • Avoid making announcements to other people in the area about ‘lock down’ or using codes that will trigger panic or gossip afterwards. Remember, protect people’s dignity always – especially the person experiencing the meltdown. If you need people to stay away from an area where a meltdown is happening, find a low-key way to let people know.
  • Support recovery and affirm safety. This may involve providing quiet time, water to drink, or even a rest or nap. Meltdowns are a lot for a body to process and the person will need time and rest to recover.
  • And above all, take a look at our Understanding and Supporting Behaviour workshop presentation kit – filled with heaps of great content, information and strategies to prevent meltdowns from happening in the first place!

When you know what might trigger a meltdown, you’ll be better able to avoid one altogether.

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