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This is a big one, and you’ll need a variety of distraction toys, what works today, may not work tomorrow. Eventually you’ll find distraction toys everywhere, it’s just knowing what to look for.So, how do we use distraction toys? For example, One of our children is at the beginning of a meltdown, we try to use minimal words, none if possible. No eye contact, and don’t force them to speak. I’ll go off and quickly grab a few possible distractions that may help, I may either try to move this child to a quiet/safe place or keep them where they are, perhaps put a “tent” over them.(we have 2 other kids with autism, so I need to consider their needs also through this)I’ll come back to this child with a few toys of distraction, I may quietly play with them myself near the child, possibly making a few comments about how i’m trying to do something with it, I might make a mistake or struggle with something, “ohh I wonder how i’m going to do this?” The child may start to focus on what i’m doing and less on what he/she was worried about.I may even just place a few toys near him, I might get them thrown at me or the screams might be replaced with the sounds of the toy.Our middle child gets out of the meltdown distracted by something quirky, the “pop balls” works really well for him, and the “pinart” works really well for our older child. But some days, when we didn’t get to the meltdown in time and it’s escalated, then we sometimes need to just get out of the way, leave them alone so they can ride it out.
Once it’s over, hugs and tissues all round.
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