The MegaMeltdown

Today has been a rough day to say the least.  We were all disappointed that our plans to go out of town for the day fell through.

However,  things only got worse as the day went on.

Gavin had,  what I can only describe as MegaMeltdown. Every time this happens,  I always find it to be worse than the previous meltdown,  which is a scary trend.

What happened this afternoon was that Gavin was not being nice to his brothers and when they tried to get help from Lizze and I,  Gavin tried to stop them. Lizze caught him red handed and immediately intervened, sending Gavin downstairs to me.  She spoke with the boys and I spoke with Gavin.

We have to pick our battles with Gavin because any time he is disciplined,  he melts down.

Today was no different.

I’m fact,  this is probably the worst meltdown in recent memory. The whole reason he melted down was because he was held accountable for his actions.

The reason we opted into this battle was because under no circumstances should Gavin prevent his brothers from seeking us out for help. That is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

I wouldn’t let anyone prevent Gavin from  seeking help and I certainly won’t permit Gavin doing that to his brothers.

That’s a huge safety issue.

The consequence was that Gavin would have a bowl of oatmeal,  I stead of a hamburger,  for dinner. He had fruit and vegetables as well,  so nothing was actually withheld,  just substituted. It’s the only thing that has a number bering on him.

Throughout this meltdown,  you will see a few times where he stops the meltdown on a dime. He does this in order to wipe his nose,  look at his leg and various other reasons.  So we know that he can stop.  He just wouldn’t stop.

The level of self-injury was much greater than usual. Most of this is actually for manipulation purposes and used as a means of trying to get what he wants or punish us for not giving it to him.

With that said,  I also feel like he’s simply coming unglued and we very clearly need to intervene.  The problem is what exactly are we supposed to do?

I don’t know what he needs and neither do the specialists.

No one really understands what is going on with him and so knowing what to do is even more evasive.

This is no way to live and I don’t think we can continue allowing this to go on.

Editors note:

Before I even finished this post,  Gavin had his 2nd MegaMeltdown of the afternoon. He was playing with his brothers in the dining room,  as I supervised. Gavin was repeating the same behavior that got him in trouble earlier this afternoon. He just doesn’t respect/understand his brothers boundaries and certainly isn’t learning from his mistakes.




Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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What about getting two Ipods the other boys can listen to when Gavin has these horrific tantrums, to drown out the noise? A mom I know had an autistic kid that was having meltdowns all day long and she finally resorted to listening to her Ipod when he tantrumed. She would keep an eye on him, but didn't have to hear all the noise.


@Lost_and_Tired wow a brave video! Thanks your experiences are so similar to mine! Strangely comforting x


@sue_wenman thank you


@Lost_and_Tired as I say strangely reassuring. Nice to know when times are tough that others a out there are going through the same as us!


Examples of consequence maps:
Here you can go to this site and get a template of a consequence map for Microsoft Word:


Another idea I had, can you put a visual together of the rules and the consequences, so that when he does have a meltdown, or afterwards you can refer to the visual? Not sure if it would work just an idea. And Mayer Johnson has a 30 day free trial of Boardmaker that you can download on their website, and you can also then download and print files from board maker share (their sharing site) as well. Or you could just make the visual on Microsoft Word or a similar program.


 @Chloe123 That's not a bad idea. Taking that a step further, I could also come up with some type of very simple behavioral contract. That outlines the behavior and consequences of such behavior. That way, we can show it to him when the time comes and explain that he agreed to this. 
This will at least help to insure that he understands who is responsible for him paying the consequences for an action.  This is something to think about…. 🙂


 Using token economy yu could reward him, maybe with a new lego block, etc. (1 piece)
Work on one thing at a time, and make it really concrete and rewarding. Maybe it will persuade him into not having the meltdowns, etc. For example if he is sitting there melting down, you could say Gavin I need you to have a quiet mouth, or quiet still hands on his tummy ,etc. and then set a timer, let him see the timer. if he does what was asked for a specific amount of time (start small), then give him a token. Practice when he is calm. Or you can do it for not touching, etc. I think playing nicely or not encouraging his brothers to not get help his probably too abstract, at least it would be for me I  would think. But maybe if you set the timer for increments and if he is following directions, doing what he is supposed to do, you give him a token, for following 2-3 rules. (start with a small amount of time).


hmmm…. not sure, but Gavin is lucky to have you guys helping him figure this out. And you are right keeping his brothers from getting help is NOT okay. HUGS! Thinking of you all!


 @Chloe123 Thanks once again Chloe. I really appreciate it. 🙂


 @lostandtired  you are welcome! If you try the visuals please let me know how they work. Have you ever tried a token economy with Gavin? You would probably have to find something he found very motivating, maybe legos? Could you have laminated little board that says I am working for…….. or my rules are… or something like that, and then a number of squares, and then use five or so small lego pieces with velcro on the back to be the tokens. I know Gavin likes Legos, do you think if you were able to get a lot of legos on amazon, different ones, that every time he got five or ten tokens, he could pick a piece? (brick etc.)? Again not a professional, just trying to get creative LOL


What would happen if you set him in that area and left him alone to do his time out? He seems to be feeding off of you. I don't have all the answers by any means, just offering a suggestion based on what I'm seeing.


 @justmeruby_ Thank you for your suggestion. We have tried that. The problem is that sometimes it works and other times he will escalate until we have to intervene. Nothing is ever really straight forward with him. Thank you very much for your feedback. I appreciate it and it's also nice to meet you 🙂


Since you are aware when a meltdown will occur, anytime you discipline him, AND you know that he CAN control it  AND most of it is done to manipulate you is there a safe place he can be left to meltdown? If he loses his audience, he may not choose to meltdown? Just an idea, from the ignore the toddler tantrum theory. 


 @PurpleLogicGlitch The results of not paying attention tend to vary. We've tried unsupervised but he tends to escalate until we have to intervene. 
Thank you though. You always have good advice 🙂