Would you know if your child is in shutdown?
Shutdowns are often overlooked but are actually an indication that a person with autism has reached crisis point.
Usually a shutdown, also known as a “silent meltdown”, is more subtle than a meltdown and can often go unnoticed. During a shutdown, the person will withdraw from their environment as their brain attempts to regulate and process. If at home the person may retreat to their safe space or bedroom so this internal crisis can be easily missed by family members.
A person may temporarily be unable to physically move, even though they are finding the environment anxiety-inducing and stressful. A person may even lie down in a shop for example until their shutdown has finished.
Whilst the presentation of a shutdown is more subtle than a meltdown it is important to remember that their brain has reached the same point of crisis as it would in a meltdown.
Shutdowns don’t always happen on their own, they can follow a meltdown and the period of calm can be misinterpreted as being caused by exhaustion from the meltdown rather than having the same root cause as the meltdown.
For more information on meltdowns and shutdowns, click here or see our book, “Parenting Rewired: How to raise a happy autistic child in a very neurotypical world”.