Seminar Detail

Effective Interventions for Autism Spectrum Meltdowns

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

This event is not currently available for purchase.

For more information: Call (800) 844-8260
Course Description:

  • What causes the unusually strong reactions of a meltdown?
  • Can you see it coming?
  • Is it a meltdown or a tantrum?
  • Is it willful, manipulative behavior?
  • Is ‘Fight or Flight’ the only option?

Individuals on the autism spectrum often react very strongly to seemingly minor changes in routine, patterns, food, clothing, noise, and a host of other environmental factors. Understanding and recognizing personal triggers will be a major benefit in developing a plan for yourself or individuals you work with to lower the levels of anxiety and avoid a catastrophic reaction.

Deborah Lipsky, M.Ed., presents a rare and unique perspective from someone who lives with autism every day. Through a combination of personal experiences with professional knowledge she will offer you a rare glimpse into the neurological processing differences of an individual with autism and explain the physical and mental processes of a meltdown. You will participate in interactive exercises where you are “autistic” for a moment to gain a greater appreciation of the challenges individuals with autism face. You will learn how to recognize the differences between a meltdown and a behavioral tantrum and what can trigger a meltdown. You will walk away with effective intervention strategies to use before, during, and after a meltdown.
  1. Explain how to create a sensory friendly environment for an individual on the autism spectrum.
  2. Discuss the impact of communication dysfunction on learning, behavior and social interactions.
  3. Describe the neurological and physiological processes of meltdowns in a person with autism.
  4. Generate a strategy to de-escalate a meltdown based on sensory, anxiety, communication or executive function triggers.
  5. Differentiate between a meltdown and a behavioral tantrum and apply appropriate strategies to de-escalate the situation.
  6. Design an individualized intervention/crisis plan for your students/clients with autism spectrum disorder.


Deborah Lipsky, M.Ed., is an accomplished presenter traveling the United States and Canada delivering seminars, presentations, workshops, and keynote addresses on understanding autism from an insider’s viewpoint. In 2005, she was awarded the Autism Society of Maine’s outstanding volunteer award, and in 2006, she became the recipient of a Temple Grandin award for “outstanding success in her life thereby being an inspiration to others.”

Mrs. Lipsky became an international bestseller with Managing Meltdowns (2010), a book based on her S.C.A.R.E.D. model, an intervention guide full of strategies to help first responders and anyone witnessing an individual with autism having a catastrophic reaction (meltdown). In her second book, From Anxiety to Meltdown (2011), the focus is on understanding anxiety and how it influences thoughts and behaviors in individuals on the spectrum. It also is the first book to truly distinguish the difference between tantrums and meltdowns and offers numerous strategies to deal with both. Mrs. Lipsky also wrote a chapter on learning social skills from animals and is featured on the cover of the book “Autism All Stars” edited by Josie Santomauro and published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Her third book on the nature of demons and spiritual warfare was released by Tau Publishers in the fall of 2012. Mrs. Lipsky’s fourth book, How People with Autism Grieve, and How to Help (2013), is an honest, first-hand account of how people with autism deal with the loss of someone in their life.

Mrs. Lipsky has been featured in a documentary along with Temple Grandin called, “Making Our Way” which was produced for Maine Public Broadcasting Television by Dan Lambert. As a former licensed wildlife rehabilitator specializing in raccoons, she is still affectionately known as the “raccoon lady” having spent 25 years studying them in the wild and learning social skills which she adapted for use around humans.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Deborah Lipsky receives royalties as an author for Jessica Kingsley Publishers. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.

Non-financial: Deborah Lipsky is an adult with high functioning autism. She is a member of the Autism Society of Maine.
Credits listed below are for full attendance at the live event only. After attendance has been verified, pre-registered attendees will receive an email from PESI Customer Service with the subject line, “Evaluation and Certificate” within one week. This email will contain a link to complete the seminar evaluation and allow attendees to print, email or download a certificate of completion if in full attendance. For those in partial attendance (arrived late or left early), a letter of attendance is available through that link and an adjusted certificate of completion reflecting partial credit will be issued within 30 days (if your board allows). Please see “live seminar schedule” for full attendance start and end times. NOTE: Boards do not allow credit for breaks or lunch.

If your profession is not listed, please contact your licensing board to determine your continuing education requirements and check for reciprocal approval. For other credit inquiries not specified below, or questions on home study credit availability, please contact or 800-844-8260 before the event.

Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of mental health professionals. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your professions standards.

The planning committee and staff who controlled the content of this activity have no relevant financial relationships to disclose. For speaker disclosures, please see speaker bios.

PESI, Inc. offers continuing education programs and products under the brand names PESI, PESI Healthcare, PESI Rehab and Psychotherapy Networker.

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