Friday, January 8, 2010

Part 1: Book study- No More Meltdowns Positive Strategies for Managing and Preventing Out-of-Control Behavior

Section 1:
The Problem

It is important to define the topic before trying to understand what is happening and attempting to create workable solutions. The problem I am focusing on is a meltdown. The author defines a meltdown as

"escalating emotional reactions." (kicking, screaming, aggression...)

The type of "meltdown" referred to in this book is not responsive to traditional parenting rules involving consistent rules and consequences. When a daily structure is in place and rules and consequences are consistently enforced, and discipline produces no results, the book recommends a new strategy.

"When the challenging behaviors continue despite consistently enforcing rules, it does not matter anymore whether the behavior was intentional. We need to understand how to alter the triggers to those behaviors and/ or teach better was to cope with those triggers." (p.8)

The author explains that there may be many reasons for meltdowns, including an unregulated limbic system leading to difficulty controlling emotions. We have all experienced the Fight, Flight or Freeze response. It is an automatic response that happens when we feel threatened. It's purpose is to ensure survival. It is up to the rest of our brain to interpret the situation to determine the appropriateness of the response and regulate our emotions. In children with sensory processing concerns, many not so threatening situations get interpreted incorrectly, leading to meltdowns. These children also might interpret seemingly meaningless input as threatening. Add in rigid and inflexible thinking and it is easy to see how meltdowns occur.

The Strategy

The author provides a 4 step model to manage and prevent meltdowns.
1. Accepting and Appreciating the child
-Controlling our temper
-Reducing the child's frustration
-Helping them feel competent
-Avoiding power struggles
2. De-escalating a Meltdown
3. Understanding why meltdowns occur
4. Creating plans to prevent meltdowns

Doesn't this make you want to read more?? After reading this first section I couldn't put the book down. Any thoughts so far? Leave a comment.

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