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From Anxiety to Meltdown : How Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Deal with Anxiety, Experience Meltdowns, Manifest Tantrums, and How You Can Intervene Effectively - Deborah Lipsky

From Anxiety to Meltdown

How Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Deal with Anxiety, Experience Meltdowns, Manifest Tantrums, and How You Can Intervene Effectively

Paperback Published: 15th June 2011
ISBN: 9781849058438
Number Of Pages: 240

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Anxiety is the root cause of many of the difficulties experienced by people on the autism spectrum, and is often caused by things such as a change in routine, or sensory overload. Deborah Lipsky takes a practical look at what happens when things spiral out of control, exploring what leads to meltdowns and and tantrums, and what can be done to help. Drawing on her own extensive personal experience and using real-life examples to explain how autistic people think, the author distinguishes between meltdowns and tantrums, showing how they are different, how each can begin, and most importantly, how to identify triggers and prevent outbursts from happening in the first place. Practical and simple solutions to avoiding anxiety are offered throughout, and these are accompanied by calming techniques and suggestions for dealing with tantrums when they occur. This book will be an essential read for those on the autism spectrum, their families and friends, professionals working with them, and anybody else with an interest in autism spectrum conditions. AUDIENCE: Individuals on the autistic spectrum, their families and friends, professionals working with them, and anybody else with an interest in ASDs.

Industry Reviews

A highly engaging texts, with illustrations drawn from personal experience, From Anxiety to Meltdown provides valuable insights into daily challenges faced by individuals with autism spectrum and highlights how aspects of the environment both with regard to sensory issues and cognitive demands can increase anxiety and lead to meltdown... I would recommend this text to parents, teachers, and professionals who care for and support childrn and young people with autism. -- Debate
This excellent book explains how anxiety causes meltdowns in autism... The book is well written and informative; much of the information is a reminder of how reactions to the environment can be so differnt etween individuals with autism and neurotypicals. -- Aukids
This book acts as a guide for people who want to gain a better understanding about how individuals on the autistic spectrum deal with anxiety, meltdowns and manifest tantrums... The author offers some good ideas and guides on how to avoid and reduce anxiety in certain situations... Deborah Lipsky certainly guides the reader through how anxiety can affect people with autism and how to deal with this in a very personal, approachable manner. -- Youth in Mind
People with autism are very good at worrying, and we now have neurological studies suggesting that high levels of anxiety are indeed a constitutional aspect of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Deborah Lipsky's book provides a wealth of insight, explanations and practical strategies based on her personal experiences. As a clinician, I endorse her analysis of the causes of anxiety and meltdowns, and know she will receive the gratitude of parents, teachers, psychologists and people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder for her recommendations and interventions. This book could be more effective than medication, and is less expensive than a consultation with a clinical psychologist. -- Tony Attwood, Clinical Psychologist and author of The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome
I very much relate to and appreciate Deborah Lipsky's book so much I think the title should read 'From Anxiety to Meltdown to Living Lovely'. From now on when people ask me to explain why I have meltdowns and how they can help me recover I think I will just hand them a copy of this book. -- Liane Holliday Willey, EdD author of Safety Skills for Asperger Women: How to Save a Perfectly Good Female Life
Deborah Lipsky provides her inside view on anxiety and meltdowns in autism. She explains how she controls her anxiety. -- Temple Grandin, author of Thinking in Pictures and The Way I See It
Written by a person with high functioning autism this book provides first hand experiences of what it is like to be autistic. That alone would make this book a must read but this book is so much more... The book is easy reading and the author provides interesting anecdotes to explain points which keeps the readers interest... on finishing it the reader really feels like they have a clear understanding of the triggers of meltdowns and strategies to support the individual. I feel that this is a useful book for anyone working or caring for children or young people with autism. -- NAPLIC Matters

Deborah Lipsky's analogy of a person with autism being rather like a tiger was thought provoking and quite understandable. The book is easy to read and uses easy to understand language making it accessible to the majority. It gives an excellent insight into the mind of someone with autism and how the condition can affect them. The information about how to calm a person with autism was particularly interesting from a non autistic point of view and how the use of scripts can help lower the anxieties of people with Autism. The use of the examples in the book also give a better understanding of how situations are interpreted differently between autistic and non autistic people.

A good book for anyone working with people on the Autistic Spectrum.

-- OAASIS
Deborah Lipsky, the self dubbed Raccoon Lady, has written a must read for people like me... So here, Deborah provides great insight into the thought processes and thinking patterns applicable to many people on the spectrum,. Her perspective may not be unique, in that there are lots of other autistic people with similar viewpoints, but trouble is that not enough of them have written a book about it to enlighten us. So here is the opportunity... Her insights, tips and approach should prove invaluable to many, but for me, I was particularly interested to read about the interplay between anxiety, OCD, stress and how these elements can affect someone in their adult life. Her account provides ample evidence about mechanisms as possible, as well as the need to teach and practice flexible thinking. I was delighted to read about Deborah's challenging and fulfilling life, which I'm sure will prove inspirational to both parents and autistic children. It would be far too sweeping to say, "Nothing holds you back except the limits imposed by yourself", but the impulse to self-censure is a commonplace part of the human condition. -- Whitterer on Autism
I actually enjoyed reading this book and found it very readable. I particularly appreciated the personal anecdotes and her forthright opinions....She is very careful to clearly explain and then illustrate everything with examples and thereby ensures that the reader fully understands what causes meltdowns and how they feel....She gives many suggestions about how to spot when a meltdown is imminent and to prevent it before its too late. There is also a mine of information about how to adapt a person's life so that they are not overwhelmed, without having to totally withdraw from life and how to prepare for unwanted but inevitable changes to plans....I totally agree with her focus and feel that she has struck the perfect balance between helping the child/adult learn strategies to manage and control their anxiety and also those around them putting in an equal amount of effort to accommodate the person on the spectrum....On a personal level I could relate to much of what she says and I suspect that many parents with children on the spectrum will find it not only instructive in helping their child, but also for themselves....If you are struggling with a child who is constantly being aggressive and having meltdowns this book goes a long way to explaining why and what you can do about it....For parents who are beginning to feel that their child is just bad, or where schools feel that the child is just badly disciplined then this book will help to change their false cognitions....This is a must read for parents, learning support assistants, social workers, teachers and psychologists and will give them much needed insight and empathy." -- AS Teens
Drawing on her extensive personal experience as a high-functioning autistic individual and using real-life examples to explain how autistic people think, the author highlight how meltdowns and tantrums differ from each other and discusses the sources they can stem from... Practical and simple solutions for avoiding anxiety are offered throughout, accompanied by calming techniques and suggestions for ways to deal with tantrums, when they occur. -- Human Givens

Introductionp. 11
Seeing the World Through Our Eyesp. 15
Is autism part of an evolutionary process?p. 17
The importance of scriptsp. 19
Heightened senses impact our ability to navigate social settingsp. 20
Growing up undiagnosed with autismp. 24
ôScriptingö: the golden rule in autismp. 26
Going off scriptp. 27
Hating spontaneityp. 32
Dealing with going off scriptp. 33
Anxiety: Friend or Foe?p. 37
Neurological makeup similar to certain animal speciesp. 37
Difficulty making eye contactp. 38
Reason 1: sensory integrationp. 39
Reason 2: peripheral versus central visionp. 41
Exercises to improve central visionp. 45
Reason 3: a non aggressive gesturep. 45
Light touch interpreted as aversivep. 46
The fight or flight responsep. 47
A prehistoric carry overp. 48
Triggering a fight or flight responsep. 49
The onset of the ôfreezeö responsep. 49
The release of adrenalinep. 51
Loss of cognitive awarenessp. 52
The danger of injuryp. 53
The ôfreezeö responsep. 54
My personal experience with the freeze responsep. 56
How Anxiety Impacts Our Cognitive Abilitiesp. 59
The stress of navigating through the simple task of shoppingp. 60
Societal inconsistenciesp. 66
A world of absolutes: a major reason for anxietyp. 68
What are we ôfeelingö?p. 70
Problem solving from the autistic viewpointp. 74
The fear of unpredictabilityp. 74
Stimmingp. 76
Stimming defuses rising anxiety levelsp. 76
Stimming done solely out of habitp. 79
The child who keeps badgering you with questions they already know the answer top. 80
Should we use medication to help reduce anxiety levels in individuals with autism?p. 81
Rituals and Routines: A Natural Defense for Anxietyp. 85
The need for predictabilityp. 87
Although every individual is different, routines are universalp. 89
What is the function of a ritual?p. 89
How a ritual differs from a routinep. 89
Common sense, OCD, or a ritual?p. 90
Unexplainable ritualsp. 93
Minor changes that could create anxiety leading to new rituals at home or schoolp. 93
Interrupting routinesp. 94
Non functional routines established unintentionallyp. 95
Avoiding the use of immediate tangible rewardsp. 96
Modify a routine graduallyp. 97
Replacing a non functional routinep. 98
Handling interruptions in routinesp. 100
Unforeseen interruptions in a routinep. 100
The influence of stress on routines and ritualsp. 102
A personal example of how a non functional routine was calmingp. 103
Never interfere with a ritual or routinep. 105
What is a Meltdown?p. 107
Not all individuals will experience meltdownsp. 107
Meltdowns are not tantrumsp. 108
What is a meltdown?p. 109
How I developed my interest in creating meltdown interventionsp. 109
What causes a meltdown?p. 112
Going off script: a leading cause of meltdowns and catastrophic reactionsp. 113
Not receiving comprehendible answers: another major source of meltdownsp. 114
Two types of meltdown/catastrophic reaction: cognitive and sensory meltdownsp. 115
Cognitive meltdownsp. 115
Cognitive overload and meltdownsp. 116
Too much choice causing a meltdownp. 117
Bolting or running away during a meltdownp. 119
Witnessing self injurious behavior during a meltdownp. 120
Can self injurious behaviors occur in the Asperger's population?p. 121
The physiological response of the body during a meltdownp. 121
Common warning signs and behaviors indicating increasing anxiety, leading to a meltdownp. 123
The ôfreezeö response heralds an impending meltdownp. 124
Immediately after the highly excitable part of the meltdown phasep. 126
Summary: phases of a cognitive meltdownp. 127
Sensory meltdownsp. 128
How a sensory meltdown differs from a cognitive onep. 130
Accepting sensory limitsp. 130
Summary: sensory meltdownsp. 131
Cognitive and sensory meltdownsp. 132
Shut down responses: the other extreme of a meltdown phasep. 132
The aftermath of a meltdown: intense feelings of remorse, embarrassment, and shamep. 133
How Does a Tantrum Differ from a Meltdown?p. 135
The golden rule in meltdowns and tantrumsp. 136
Tantrums are a choicep. 140
Distinguishing a meltdown from a tantrum: a checklistp. 140
Controlling established tantrumsp. 142
How to handle a tantrump. 143
A word of cautionp. 145
Aggressive or self injurious behavior during a tantrump. 146
Intervening successfullyp. 148
How to test for a tantrum in the verbal individualp. 149
How to test for a tantrum in the non verbal individualp. 150
Utilizing special interests and/or objects to test for a tantrump. 151
Look for the tell tale signs of anxietyp. 152
Non social tendenciesp. 152
Instant gratification as a potential source of tantrumsp. 154
Using a token system as an effective alternativep. 155
Today's society as a saboteur of behavioral interventionsp. 156
Societal distractions as a sign of the timesp. 157
A ray of hopep. 159
Meltdown Triggersp. 161
Novel situations: the number one meltdown triggerp. 161
Airports: my personal nemesisp. 162
Back up scripts or contingency plans: the main strategy for novel situationsp. 164
ôIn the unlikely event of…öp. 165
A case in pointp. 165
Multiple back up or contingency plans are beneficialp. 166
Communicating back up plans to the severely autistic or non verbal populationp. 167
Back up plans for the verbal and high functioning populationp. 168
Sensory issues compounding the stress of a novel situation: a classic examplep. 169
Strategies to prevent a meltdown in this complicated novel situationp. 171
You can't prepare for all novel situationsp. 172
Transitions: another major contributor to meltdownp. 172
Transitioning from class to classp. 173
Transitioning to a different subjectp. 174
Substitute teachers as a transition issuep. 176
Other transitions that can cause a meltdownp. 177
Moving from one home to anotherp. 178
Transitions revolving around parental statusp. 179
Guidelines for parental status transitionsp. 180
First time visits to the dentist or doctorp. 181
Other triggers for meltdownsp. 182
Trying to participate in a group conversationp. 183
Time limits as a source for catastrophic reactionsp. 184
Being rushed or hurried to do anythingp. 185
Meltdown and catastrophic reaction triggersp. 186
Hormonal influences and meltdownsp. 188
Communication Triggers that Cause Meltdownsp. 191
Miscommunications are just as prevalent in the non verbal populationp. 191
Autistic communication differencesp. 192
A large factual knowledge basep. 192
Dealing with fears by acquiring factsp. 193
A teen obsessed with the macabre: a communication misinterpretationp. 195
Factual exchanges are mentally stimulatingp. 198
Autistic individuals are more comfortable with ôquestion and answerö communicationp. 199
Communication as a main source of cognitive overloadp. 200
Requests that imply ability and not a commandp. 201
Literal phrases involving a timeframe meant to be interpreted as non specificp. 202
The overuse of binding words that aren't taken seriouslyp. 203
A broken promisep. 206
Vague time references that may elicit an extreme anxiety responsep. 208
Vague undefined open ended questionsp. 209
Adding a yes or no, as well as adding a time reference, clarifies your questionp. 211
Why does the word ôNoö cause a meltdown?p. 212
Meltdown Interventionsp. 215
Three main goals of intervention for meltdowns/catastrophic reactionsp. 216
Safety of all involved is paramountp. 216
Self injurious behaviors and safetyp. 218
Reducing the stimulation levelp. 220
How you should communicate to a person in a meltdownp. 221
Addressing the problem at handp. 222
When there are no alternative solutionsp. 223
Autistic emergency tool kits for reducing the anxiety associated with impending meltdownsp. 224
Early recognition of signs of anxiety is the best strategy for preventing meltdownsp. 227
Physical movement as a calming tool for the verbal and non verbal individualp. 228
Avoiding a meltdown in the first placep. 229
Sensory triggers at crowded gatherings that are best avoided by not going therep. 229
A final suggestion: learning to accept meltdowns as just part of who you arep. 231
Getting the wind knocked out of my sailp. 232
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781849058438
ISBN-10: 1849058431
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 15th June 2011
Publisher: JESSICA KINGSLEY PUBLISHERS
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.3

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