How to Handle Tantrums In Autism: Complete Guide

How to Handle Tantrums In Autism

Tantrums are common in children with autism. They’re usually caused by a sensory issue or developmental delay, but sometimes they can be caused by other issues as well.

If your loved one has a tantrum, try not to get stressed out about it! Instead of giving into their anger or frustration, focus on calming them down and helping them return to their positive self-image by following these steps:

Figure out what is causing the tantrum.

  • Ask them what is upsetting them and why they are upset.
  • Ask them if there is anything in particular that they want or need right now, like a snack or bathroom break (if they are awake).
  • If there’s nothing wrong with your child, ask him/her again: “What do you want?”

Structure their day.

  • Structure their day.
  • Make sure they have a routine, including getting ready in the morning and eating before bedtime. The more predictable they are, the easier it will be for them to get things done on time. This also helps with transitions between activities—for example, if your child has an appointment at 8:00 AM and has to leave at 9:15 AM, ask him or her what they need from you so that you can help them prepare before leaving (i.e., brush teeth).
  • Make sure there’s enough time for play and other activities as well as meals and bedtimes (unless this isn’t possible due to medical restrictions).


Change the triggers of their tantrums.

If your child is having a tantrum because of something, it’s important to find out what the trigger is. This will help you figure out how to prevent future triggers from causing more tantrums.

  • Avoiding triggers: For example, if your child has been tired for days and she’s hungry and thirsty, she’s more likely to have a meltdown when she needs something (like water). The same goes for being frustrated by something (like not getting enough attention).


Make sure they get enough sleep.

You may have heard that getting enough sleep is important for everyone, but what does this mean for your child?

Children with autism need more sleep than their peers because their brains are still developing and they experience symptoms of hyperactivity.

They also tend to be more sensitive to noises and light during the day, which can make sleeping at night difficult. Many children with autism also have trouble falling asleep on their own or staying asleep throughout the night (night wakings).

If your child is having trouble sleeping better than usual, it’s important to talk about ways you can help them get comfortable in their bed at night so that they feel less restless during those times when sleeplessness sets in.


Make sure they eat on time.

  • Make sure they eat on time.
  • Eat at the same time every day.
  • Eat at a table, with family members present and smiling at them (this can be difficult if your child is autistic).


Work on their communication skills.

Communicating needs is one of the most important ways to manage tantrums. It’s also one of the most frustrating parts for families, as children with autism often don’t know how to ask for what they want or need. If you have an autistic child that is having a difficult time communicating their needs, try these tips:

  • Use visual aids such as schedules or photos to help them express themselves. You can find visual aids on Amazon or at local stores like Target and Wal-Mart (if they have any).
  • Use a communication device such as an iPad or smartphone app called “Talk to Me!” This app has built-in sounds and filters so parents can communicate with their kids without having to speak loudly into a microphone like some other apps require you do when using them on your own phone/tablet/etc…


Provide positive reinforcement for good behavior.

  • Positive reinforcement is a great way to help your loved one learn new skills and behaviors.
  • Reinforce the positive behaviors you want to see more of, such as following directions or asking for help.
  • Give them something they enjoy when they do something good, like a toy or treat that makes them happy. Make sure it will motivate them (such as playing with a favorite toy).


Help them express themselves positively.

  • Help them express themselves positively.
  • Provide alternative ways to express themselves. If a child is upset, it’s natural for them to want to throw a tantrum because they feel like there’s no way out of the situation. But if you can find an alternative way for your child to get their needs met—such as by playing with toys or going outside—they will likely be more willing to accept the situation and not throw fits over it. This can also help you avoid getting into fights with your child since they won’t have time left over after their tantrum is over!
  • Provide a safe space where your child feels comfortable expressing their feelings without fear of being punished or hurtful words coming out of your mouth (which could make things worse). This could mean letting them play alone at home while you work on something else or putting up some signs around the house so that everyone knows what kind of environment this room/area is supposed to be used in (elevators only), etc…


By understanding what causes the tantrums and providing them with positive reinforcement for good behaviors you can help your loved one manage their tantrums better

  • Understand what is causing the tantrum.
  • Provide positive reinforcement for good behavior.
  • Make sure they get enough sleep and eat on time, an excellent way to do this is by making sure your child has their meals at the same time every day so that you aren’t constantly changing schedules when it comes time for them to eat (which can be stressful).
  • Work on their communication skills (see the section below).



We hope you found this guide helpful in your journey, and that it helped you understand how to deal with tantrums in autism.

Remember, the key is to recognize the signs of a tantrum and provide positive reinforcement for good behaviors. If you feel like your loved one is having trouble managing their actions or emotions, don’t be afraid to discuss this with them and work together on solutions!


Scroll to Top

Start Your Free Brainwave Trial

Therapies for Autistic Kids

Sign up below to get started: