Looking for warning signs of over-stress can help
prevent meltdowns for students with disabilities.
All our leaders are raising their awareness to the causes and prevention of meltdowns in groups. Many students know what causes them to “crash and burn” as they might call it, so they distance themselves from what they are doing. Good case in point, one student was asked to glue and do things he couldn’t see to do, so he took himself away to a far wall and sat on a couch. He could do the job, but it was too stressful. He saw it coming and prevented himself from running from the room. Other things may have affected him such as crowding (he needs his space), noise, not having an influence on what was happening, assuming that he new everyone in the group he had just joined – many influences. Coming new into a group is stressful until the group goes through the stages of formation so that every person feels validated and at home. Only then can the group be productive and work as a group for whatever is the task.
Some students who have seizures know what may set them off, and they can distance themselves from a group to solve the problem. It may be florescent lights or a room that is too hot, loud noise, stress over someone taunting them – the list goes on and is personal.
Those of us without disabilities would do well to find out what makes us “crash and burn” before we start snapping at someone or find tears in our eyes. Oh, to be as intuitive as some of our students.