Asperger’s Meltdowns – Tools for Success

When people with Asperger’s get going on something, it is usually very hard to stop them…. in particular meltdowns.

It’s hard to stop what is already in progress. But when you need to get the attention of someone with Asperger’s, or interrupt what they are doing, this is how you do it… most effective at the beginning stages of a meltdown. Once they get started on a meltdown or anxiety attack, it’s hard to stop them… unless you do this technique. Also, use this responsibly, and with respect. If you over do this, it will backfire. Use it sparingly, and appropriately. Consider it a backdoor into the brain of someone with Asperger’s.

Many call this a “Pattern Interrupt” because the whole goal is to intentionally throw a wrench in the current “pattern” of behaviour. It causes the person with Asperger’s to get off their current train of thought, switch gears, focus on a new train of thought, process it, and then decide on a response. But because the pattern interrupt isn’t expected, it is very hard for them to go back to their orginal train of thought. Again, use this with respect.

Using the Pattern Interrupt is very easy. You just ask an absurd, left-field question. For example, if your Asperger’s child is starting to get worked up about something, you could ask them, “Do you like aubergine?”.

The question is supposed to come out of no where. As I said above, they’ll have to drop their current line of thinking, think about your question, and then go from there.

That’s it. It is super simple to do.

One word of caution: If they are in a highly emotional state, it may not be in your best interest to use this, as it might come across as you not listening to them and their feelings. This is a great early stage tool.

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