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HELP! Autistic meltdowns every reward time!!!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by izzynicole, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. izzynicole

    izzynicole New commenter

    Morning. I feel like I have tried everything and am running out of ideas and need some advice! I have a child with autism in my class who cannot stand any form of rejection. Every Friday afternoon we give out lots of prizes and rewards. We announce star of the week, table point winners (they get to join yr6 for nice afternoon activities), a raffle of who gets to go to high tea, and my top 5 Dojo point winners from the week go in a raffle and someone wins something from my prize box.

    Every single time I announce any of these he has a complete meltdown. Crying, screaming and shouting that 'it's not fair'. I have tried social stories (they work brilliantly for other things for him) which he just starts crying and screaming at when we read the one about not winning. I have tried getting him to help me present it, I have tried distracting him, I have rigged the awards so he has had experienced them so they're not some made up fantasy. I have tried preparing him loads with big class discussions that it's okay not to win this time,it might be you next time (he joins in with these discussions and says all the right things). He can handle losing at a board game, he knows it's okay to lose sometimes.
    Also when I give out table points about twice a day, he also has a meltdown when his table doesn't get one, even if his table are still well in the lead?

    Any other ideas or suggestions would be a massive help?!
  2. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Stop using these systems?
    Ask his parents for advice?
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    just find something to give him a reward for every time, may have to explain to other children why. Really, is it worth traumatising him to this extent over something he will NEVER "get"?
  4. izzynicole

    izzynicole New commenter

    I don't want to stop using the systems. Some are whole-school systems and they really work with the rest of the class and I need to remember that I have 25 other children, not just him. Unfortunately, parents are really unhelpful and aren't interested.
    Landofla and pepper5 like this.
  5. izzynicole

    izzynicole New commenter

    we have tried computer time (seems to be the only thing he's interested in) but it's a nightmare to get him off of it, even with timers and extra adults etc. Stuck for easy rewards to give him that will motivate him.
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Let him have his meltdown and just ignore it. He'll stop soon enough and if he doesn't he can have the meltdown all afternoon.

    He is quite correct that some of your systems aren't fair.
    Raffle? What if the worst behaved, least hardest working child get the reward and Y has been fabulous all week? It isn't a reward at all, but a completely unfair and unfathomable idea. Total luck.
    Does everyone get star of the week at some point in the year? So once you've had it, you know there is no chance again, no matter how wonderful you are that week?
    Dojo points and table points are fine, but why have two different systems? Why not set up table groups on dojo and give dojos every time the child does something? Then it is clear why they have been given and why someone has won.

    For goodness sake don't 'fix' any of it, most children will see through it and you'll make things worse.
  7. mrmatt73

    mrmatt73 Occasional commenter

    As long as he's not putting himself or anybody at risk, ignore him and let him burn himself out.
  8. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Autistic meltdowns aren't just a temper tantrum. If you choose to simply ignore the behaviour and continue with actions you know will trigger the meltdown, you're deliberately putting this pupil through an experience he finds incredibly distressing.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    But at the same time there are 29 other children who appreciate the rewards.
    Why stop 29 children's enjoyment because 1 child doesn't like it?
    That isn't how the world works...this child will need to find ways to cope with distressing situations. A capable, confident and competent TA could easily remove him from the room, or reassure him throughout.
    pepper5 likes this.
  10. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Lots of things about life are pretty ****. It doesn't mean we should perpetuate that shittiness at Primary school just so kids can get used to it.
    frances_earnshaw1 likes this.
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I agree to a point. But we can't just remove from the class routine every event that any one child finds distressing. That just can't happen.
    Sundaytrekker and pepper5 like this.
  12. amoorby2006

    amoorby2006 New commenter

    Hi. My son has Autism. He is very similar to the child the op. Is talking about. It takes a long time...
    It has taken 2 years for the school to really make my son accept failure. Do not just ignore it. It will NOT go away.
    Praise the tiniest acceptance of failure. I have numerous certificates for my son being accepting of failure all over my fridge. From not coming first to not crying when his house team does win.
    Don't ignore. Please.
    Bash82, ClearAutism, Landofla and 2 others like this.
  13. ldnsenco

    ldnsenco Occasional commenter

    My goodness. 'Just ignore it'? I think that's the worst thing you could possibly do for any child with autism.
    Inigo_Jones and gravell like this.
  14. bananatree84

    bananatree84 Occasional commenter

    I agree, my son is autistic and ignoring him doesn't help as he needs help to process his feelings about not winning. It does take time.
    Inigo_Jones and biscuitmonster1 like this.
  15. circuskevin

    circuskevin Established commenter

    Teachers can get more experience with autistic kids on holiday playschemes as an example.

    Teachers have a difficult enough job looking after 30 kids in a class without any special needs kids.

    I would particularly recommend any teachers in the early years of their career to do some voluntary work where they can be 1:1 with special needs kids.

    You will start to get the hang of how to work effectively with these children.

    An investment of time well worth it in the long run.

    ClearAutism, pepper5 and sabrinakat like this.
  16. modgepodge

    modgepodge Established commenter

    DOnt change the systems, as you say they work and this isn't the only child in the class.

    I had his exact same problem last year - during Friday assembly if the child in question didn't get the reward he wanted he would scream and swear, usually in front of the whole school. We started not having him in that assembly - we organised some form of (useful) intervention which just happened to fall during this time. He had his own, daily, reward system. 15 mins at the end of each day (behaviour dependent) - he was collected straight from this so no issues getting him to rejoin the lesson. Could you set up something similar for him during the reward time, and give him his own daily reward?

    Remember, autistic children can be naughty and throw tantrums too. I'm not necessarily saying this is happening here, but my child last year would sometimes have a meltdown, and sometimes just tantrum because he was asked to do something he didn't want to. It was hard to know at the start which it was, but when he was perfectly calm, doing his own thing, and was asked to join in the lesson, refused and when pushed started screaming, that was a tantrum. When something unexpected happened and he had a meltdown it was different.
    frances_earnshaw1 and Landofla like this.
  17. biscuitmonster1

    biscuitmonster1 New commenter

  18. biscuitmonster1

    biscuitmonster1 New commenter

    My daughter is on the spectrum and has spectacular meltdowns in school and this was an issue we had too.
    When she developed better language skills and was able to try and explain things in her words it helped us.
    She said it would make her heart start hurting because treats were for good people and it was like the teacher hated her because she had been good too and couldn't understand why the teacher wasn't saying she was. It culminated in some extremely violent behaviour displayed towards the teacher as her autism didn't allow her to understand the taking turns. The teacher is giving rewards for good work etc and she should get one as her work was good. Once we understood that she built up treat time during the week to take when that happened. So she would participate in reward time because she was happy that the teacher still liked her.
    Landofla and secretteacher2357 like this.
  19. biscuitmonster1

    biscuitmonster1 New commenter


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