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Managing Meltdowns

Using the S.C.A.R.E.D. Calming Technique with Children and Adults with Autism
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In a chaotic or threatening situation, fear is the primary emotional response of an autistic individual. Often the initial physical response is to freeze. 'Meltdowns', or brain overloads can be scary for the individual with autism, and for the person trying to help if they don't know how to react in this situation. Common coping strategies, such as hand flapping or leg shaking, can be misperceived as being wilful, noncompliant, and uncooperative; and some techniques commonly recommended during times of distress or crisis, such as maintaining eye contact or using light touch, can be counter-productive rather than providing relief.

Using the easy-to-remember acronym S.C.A.R.E.D, coined by clinical psychologist Will Richards, this guide offers strategies and practical techniques that will be a valuable reference tool to anyone in a first response position. The authors have created a training programme to explain the autistic experience and mindset, and guide the interventions of first responders to autistic individuals in crisis.
  • Published: Feb 15 2009
  • 215 x 140mm
  • ISBN: 9781843109082
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Press Reviews

  • Asperger United

    this is a well-thought-out book which contains much useful advice for helping someone who is having a meltdown, along with tips on how to prepare other people to give you help if you are the person suffering... a very useful little book which I suggest anyone who struggles with meltdowns can benefit from reading, especially if you can recommend it to your carers and support workers.
  • NAPLIC Newsletter

    This is a small book packed full of thought provoking anecdotes and observations and with practical and useful ideas and strategies.
  • Speech & Language Therapy in Practice

    This interesting quick read gives a good insight into the mind of an individual with autism when facing a threatening situation. Deborah Lipsky is a high-functioning individual with autism and her own life-experiences help to illustrate the strategies outlined. Deborah emphasizes the need for routine and ritual and explains what happens when these break down.
  • Carla Mazefsky, Department of Psychiatry, Center for Excellence in Autism Research, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

    The book is written by Deborah Lipsky, an adult with high-functioning autism, and Will Richards, a psychologist who specializes in autism. Together they provide their personal insights into understanding meltdowns and strategies for responding. It is narrated from Ms. Lipsky's perspective and provides personal accounts resembling Temple Grandin's descriptions of her experiences... One of the strongest contributions of this book is the insight it provides into understanding the emotional experiences of individuals with autism... this is a fast read overall. Anyone working in the field of autism or with a child in the autism spectrum would benefit from understanding the concepts and ideas that are presented.