Meltdown Protocol

BIG Meltdown Procedure

1.) Make sure he is physically safe. (He has never been physically aggressive, but he might not be able to see obstacles that are in his way, etc.)

2.) I in a deep/firm (not mean but firm) voice ask for initial eye contact.

3.) I often take both of his hands at the same time and apply pressure on his palms and remind him to breathe in and out slowly. Depending on your relationship with joe, he may or may not tolerate touch. IF you do touch him, make sure it is firm, especially during a meltdown.

4.) I, typically, don’t talk about what has him upset. He has usually snowballed away from rational thoughts. I will give him the verbal cue “rational thoughts.”

5.) I give him a safe space (relatively private. Obviously, at school a grownup needs to be able to see him) to work through his feelings.

6.) I provide sensory input.  E— has had a lot if success with rolling chairs and a little decompression time with the iPad. At home he uses modeling clay. We simultaneously limit visual/auditory stimulation. He sometimes hides under a desk or blanket to self- regulate.

7.) Once he is calm, we move on. If the topic comes back up and he is perseverating, I give the verbal cue, “Remember your rational thoughts.” And that is that.

8.) Much later we may discuss a way he could deal with things better.


We are providing a “meltdown bag” which will have some of his soothing items:

  • Peppermints
  • Gum
  • Modeling Clay
  • Kinetic Sand
  • Doodle Book
  • Ear Plugs
  • Sun Glasses


BIG  has become, over the years, really good at knowing what he needs to keep from having a major meltdown.