Try Something New – Robin Discusses Working with a Tantrum

I recently gave a lesson to a little girl with autism. Part way through our series of lessons together she had a tantrum. She is normally very calm. I hadn’t seen this before and I asked her mother if this behavior is usual or unusual. Her mother said that she didn’t really know what was going on so I suggested we try something new. Right there I applied variation. When something isn’t working, try something new! What we tried was stepping out of the room, leaving the girl to tantrum. There wasn’t any way for her to hurt herself or anybody else in my office. So we just waited. It is fascinating to watch this on camera. I have this footage recorded. At first she continues to kick and scream. And then after maybe a minute when she realizes that no one is paying attention anymore she got really quiet. And then, two minutes later, she opened the door, walked out, and said clearly: “I want to continue my lesson,” closed the door. I walked in and we continued our lesson together.

Interested in learning more? Robin works with children with autism in San Francisco and around the world. Learn more at

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