Seminar Detail

Autism Spectrum Meltdowns: Effective Interventions for Sensory, Executive Function and Social-Emotional Communication

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 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.

The Neurological and Physiological Differences of Autism
  • Sensory and Visual Environments
    • Sensory evaluation: Asking the right questions
    • Large motor skills, fine motor skills, eating, hearing, smell, touch
    • Creating a sensory friendly environment
    • Impact of sensory dysfunction on learning, behavior and social interaction
  • Executive Function (EF)
    • Impact of EF on daily life
    • EF manifestations seen in meltdowns
    • Strategies to limit consequences of EF
  • Social/Emotional Communication
    • Common pitfalls in communicating with individuals with autism
    • Communication differences with autism
    • Impact on learning, behavior and social interaction
    • Strategies to help facilitate communication
Anxiety to Meltdown
  • Recognizing the triggers
  • What does a meltdown look like?
  • What a person with autism experiences during a meltdown
  • Common behaviors seen in meltdowns
  • Meltdown or tantrum?
Effective Behavioral Interventions Based on the S.C.A.R.E.D. Model
  • Behavior as a form of communication
  • Inappropriate interventions … What never to do
  • Appropriate strategies to de-escalate the situation
  • Intervention in the school system
  • Creating a personalized intervention/crisis plan


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.

This intermediate activity consists of 6.25 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please save the course outline, the certificate of completion you receive from the activity and contact your state board or organization to determine specific filing requirements.

Connecticut Counselors: This intermediate activity consists of 6.25 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please contact your licensing board to determine if they accept programs or providers approved by other national or state licensing boards. A certificate of attendance will be awarded at the end of the program to participants who are in full attendance and who complete the program evaluation.

Massachusetts Counselors: CE credit is available. This program has been approved for 6.25 I MaMHCA/MMCEP hours for re-licensure, in accordance with 262 CMR. Expires: 11-02-17. Full attendance is required; no partial credits will be offered for partial attendance.

Rhode Island Counselors: CE credit is available. This activity has been approved by the Rhode Island Mental Health Counselor's Association. Full attendance at this activity qualifies for 6.25 CEUs.

This course is designed to qualify toward your professional development requirement. The program is 6.25 clock hours in length.

Connecticut Educators, Administrators, School Psychologists & School Social Workers:
CT Dept of Education
6.0 CEUs. PESI, Inc. is an approved provider of Continuing Education by the Connecticut State Department of Education (Provider #930; Activity ID #930-17-059-023 for seminar on 03/28/17, #930-17-059-024 for seminar on 03-29-17 and # for seminar on ).

Massachusetts School Personnel: This course may be applicable for 6.25 Professional Development Points toward your Professional Development Plan per the Massachusetts Department of Education recertification guidelines; check with your licensing authority for more information.

Marriage & Family Therapists
This activity consists of 380 minutes of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. You should save this course outline, the certificate of completion you receive from the activity and contact your state board or organization to determine specific filing requirements.

Occupational Therapists & Occupational Therapy Assistants
PESI, Inc. is an AOTA Approved Provider of continuing education. Provider #: 3322. Full attendance at this course qualifies for 6.0 contact hours or .6 CEUs in the Category of Domain of OT and Occupational Therapy Process. Partial credit will be issued for partial attendance. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA. Course Level: Intermediate.

Speech-Language Pathologists

This course is offered for .6 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional area).

Social Workers
PESI, Inc., #1062, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. PESI, Inc. maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: January 27, 2017 - January 27, 2020. Social Workers completing this course receive 6.25 Clinical Practice continuing education credits. Course Level: Intermediate. Full attendance is required; no partial credits will be offered for partial attendance. A certificate of attendance will be awarded at the end of the program to social workers who complete the program evaluation.

Other Professions
This activity qualifies for 380 minutes of instructional content as required by many national, state and local licensing boards and professional organizations. Save your course outline and certificate of completion, and contact your own board or organization for specific requirements.

Credit Card Required for online registration | Contact us to redeem Gift Certificates