Screams and yells are quite common for someone who is close to an individual with autistic traits. It can be due to rage as well as tears.
Often they burst open to uncontrolled screams due to situations that would have been average for normal kids. At times, it is in the solace of their homes, and at other times, it is also in public. Till date, a misconception prevailed among the parents of autistic children to consider that these screams, tantrums, and meltdowns are a result of poor communication and verbal skills.
It was quite typical for them to consider that these tantrums were an outcome of rising frustration due to their disability to effectively communicate their feelings.
But this is not exactly true. It is common for autistic parents to face such situations but what matters the most is how well they can deal with it.
How to Reduce the Screams in an Autistic Individual
The best way to help reduce autistic screams is by paying attention to improving their behavior. Speech and language problems would surely develop over time, but it can be a tough job to improve their behavior. It may also demand additional supports to bring out visible improvements in the behavior of autistic kids.
Tantrums are one of the most common behaviors among children – be they autistic or totally fit. They generally scream if they fail to do something that they had wanted to do. It is more about developing skills and independence. It may be because the child is not skilled enough to fully express his emotions. It is quite common for an autistic child to scream hard for simplest causes such as failing to button his shirt or wear his shoes.
They may even break into a scream for as simple a cause that they are asked to go to bed, and they just want to stay up a little more. Though it is common to most of the children, for autistic children, it is just more complex. That is mainly due to the meltdown symptoms that make the screams quite similar to tantrums but are actually not. That calls for the requirement of more specific skill sets and thoughtful responses.
Steps to Deal with Autistic Screams
1. Know if the screams are just tantrums or a result of a meltdown
A different approach is needed to deal with tantrums and meltdowns. Though they appear to be the same to the common eyes, there are many significant differences. Tantrums are a result of frustration whereas meltdowns generally lack a specific goal. They are the outcomes of effects brought in by external stimulations. Hunger, tiredness or physical discomforts may be the reasons of tantrums and are generally an outburst in front of an audience and has specific end goals. But meltdown screams does not require an audience.
It is just that they want to express their sensation. You need first to recognize the differences to help the autistic screams of your child effectively.
2. Remember the difference among every child if it is a tantrum
The techniques that helped you to manage the cries of other children may not be effective for helping the tantrum screams of your autistic child. Look to come up with different methods that can be helpful for your child.
3. Consider removing the audience
If the screams are just for tantrums, removing the audience can be an effective way to deal with it. The audience will include even yourself or any other public present in the area. You may remove your child or just remove yourself to let your child subsidize the screams. If the screams are more common in large groups, consider small grouping gatherings and help them learn to develop their own coping mechanisms to deal with this behavior. Another way of dealing the screams can be just ignoring them.
4. Distract them out of their screams
It does not matter if it is the outcome of a tantrum or a meltdown. Distractions are always effective to stop them from screaming. Just try to change the activity or the topic of discussion or just engage them in something different such as a toy, music or a pet. You can even distract them with future perspectives just to distract them as they continue the activity that brought in the screams at the first place.
It is the best way to deal with meltdown screams. Try to lure them with a gift or something they are already fond of in case the activity that brought in the meltdown is necessary. It will help them to calm down as it is not a result of frustration. You can continue the activity after they calmed themselves down.
These are some of the best ways to help your autistic child cope with their screams. You may even devise your ways to help your child. You being a mother/father of an autistic child are nothing to be disheartened with. Rather you should consider accepting it as a challenge and work harder to help them beat the tantrums and screams.
Do not forget to praise them once the screams are over as it will obviously act as a reward as they work to cope with their own behavior.