A Meltdown refers to a sudden loss of control over one's feelings or behaviour. This can be displayed in many different ways such as anger, frustration, anxiety, self harming, tears and even silence.
When I first became aware and started learning more about Autism I thought a meltdown was a massive release of anger and aggression and that was it, for a lot of people with Autism their meltdown does take that form. Someone may physically damage the environment around them in some way or cause physical harm to themselves so in these cases it is important to know what to do when it gets to this situation or try our hardest to prevent a situation getting to this stage. Not always that easy though eh?
I got to thinking about meltdowns a lot this week and thought a lot about my son's meltdowns. He tends to do the opposite of the above and hold the frustration in, this will eventually display as emotional outburst of tears and if pushed to the limit he will hit himself but that's the worse case scenario.
Holding a lot of information in which he can't process properly leads to a lot of anxiety and this anxiety will start to show in him repeating a lot of verbal information over and over, this is his calming method, I know he's trying to get back to a level where he feels comfortable. We have built knowledge together as a family over many years and still we don't always get it right. He doesn't know how to process some information which is directed at him in some ways so we can never predict what his reaction will be. I know I can't raise my voice too much with him as this raises his anxiety, that doesn't mean he never gets told off but it means we go about it in a different way. My youngest son was always dismayed at the way his brother never got told off until we explained why. He gets it now.
In my experience I wondered how I experienced my own meltdowns and when I look at my behaviour, I'm very similar to my son as I burst into tears. This my release of frustration. I find anger and aggression frightening so it's probably a good job my son is like he is. I cannot be told off either, if anyone confronts me or I get to a stage where I can't quite work my reaction out it usually comes with a good cry. This was not a good situation when my brain got overloaded at college a few years ago and my tutors response was 'you need to pull yourself together', well yes maybe I did but I know that I wouldn't say that to anyone I know who was in a similar situation. At the time I was in the middle of a bout of depression too which was made clear when I started studying so I'm hoping along the line a bit of compassion may have been learnt since then.
Do get in touch with someone to help you if you do struggle with behaviour in any way. Everyones situation is different but there are techniques to help. As a local branch of the National Autistic Society in Derby we offer talks and seminars now and again regarding challenging behaviour and how to cope with meltdowns so check our Facebook page for future meetings www.facebook.com/NASDerbyBranch/
Here is some great information from the National Autistic Society website about meltdowns www.autism.org.uk/about/behaviour/meltdowns.aspx so I hope that helps a little.
We are all still learning more and more about emotions within the world of Autism and how they manifest and also making the people around us more aware how to help people if they realise someone is struggling with an overload of feelings. It does happen in so many different ways so we just need to be aware of this.
Please feel free to leave any comments below and let me know how you cope. Thank you for reading today and if you fancy joining me for some telly talk tomorrow it's Pass the Remote Sunday so come along!
Take care for now.......
Coming up on the 31st January is a special event taking part in Parliament to help push the Government into taking action to make sure no child is held back because they are Autistic.
Half of parents of autistic children waited over a year to get strategies in place to support they're children. while in school and this just isn't good enough. I must admit I've always had great support from all of my son's school and his college at present but I am a parent that is very pro active and won't settle for anything less. It helped that my son's diagnosis came early on as well so we were able to get his support put in place very early in his education. Some people find it hard and just struggle to get help so we need to make sure the support for our children is universal and there for everyone.
It's not always the schools that are to blame, sometimes it just comes down to more awareness and training. Some schools are better at supporting students than others but wouldn't it be great if those schools who do succeed in this area could support those other schools that struggle. Surely it's a case of sharing information and strategies that work and having support for every child but the Government need to deal with this and now! It will come down to funding and that varies within different areas but it's time now for our MP's to bring attention to this matter and find a solution.
I think it's a shame that less than 50% of teachers feel confident in supporting children with Autism and that 42% of parents were refused an assessment for their child when first requested especially 3 years after the Government had put a Special Education and Disability Needs (SEND) plan in place. Something's not working is it?
The National Autistic Society are asking you if you would contact you're MP and get as many to this event as possible. The details of how you can go about this is here on the NAS website:
Please give it. go and lets make the #HeldBack campaign successful.
Thank you for reading today, join me tomorrow for Pass the Remote Sunday.
Take care for now and remember #HeldBack
So have we all made it into 2018 ok? Not too many problems getting out of the holiday routine and back into school or college I hope. My son has gone back to college ok with no big issues yet, fingers crossed.
I've had this collection of Thomas and Friends dvd's downstairs to visit me numerous times over the holidays. he likes to bring them all down to show me, sometimes daily. I never tire of it and apart from the exercise of bringing them all downstairs and taking them all back up again I think he likes to show them off. He had 62 and now there are 63 after an extra Christmas present. They are sometimes displayed in a tower like this or he may lay them out on the floor and they now cover the living room rug, the rug is getting a bit tatty so I was thinking of sticking them altogether and actually making a new one but I don't that would go down well.
The other popular activity lately has been the construction of the Bladebuilders Lightsabers. If you haven't seen these they are electronic lightsabers that connect together to make a huge big weapon like the one below.
They light up and make the sound too and are actually pretty impressive. I have witnessed many different formations of them and he demonstrates them so well and so authentically that he could be in Star Wars himself.
I used to worry about these repetitive actions but now we've all got so used to it. He will come downstairs with a new combination to these quite a few times in the day and evening and I do acknowledge every single one.. We get a few Star Wars facts thrown in there as well. I'm always paying attention as he will test me on the facts later in a multiple choice questionnaire. Phew the pressure.
It's going to be a busy year with an 18th birthday approaching this year. yes my eldest son becomes an adult, I know.......how did that happen? I remember his diagnosis at four years old and now he's turned into a big grown man. One thing is the Autism never goes away. He will now become an adult with Autism so I will let you all know how that goes. Scary thought isn't it? It is for me but I will approach that like I have done with all the milestones and events over the past eighteen years and face it all head on. He's fine about it.....just may mean he may add a few more dvd's to that tower later on in the year and there's always room for more lightsabers.
Hope you're all ok too, let me know how your holidays went and if getting back to 'normal' has gone ok or have you been hit by a few problems?
Thank you for reading again today. Please join me tomorrow for 'pass the Remote. For now though........
Take care of yourselves.
I love a murder mystery book as long as it isn’t to scary that it gives me nightmares just before I go to sleep. This was a great read and I loved Jonathan Roper who is a detective on the Autism Spectrum.
At first I wondered whether the actually story slipped slightly and concentrated on Jonathan’s Autism a little too much but no, looking back after finishing it I think it had a good balance. I may have thought this because I have a knowledge of Autism but for someone reading this it is a very good insight into how the Autistic brain works.
Jonathan's Autism is different from my sons Autism but I think most people will say that as everyone's Autism is quite unique. The character is brought in to help investigate a murder which has taken place and puts his fabulous mind to work on working out a solution to quite a complex situation. I love that he has the support of his colleague Brian Hooley who has the patience and understanding of his condition to allow him to do his job. Others as in life are not always so understanding and he had been previously suspended for misconduct, but he's brought back and he proves himself to do what he feels is important to him and that's to help solve this case.
He may have problems socially and coping with the day to day life within a big organisation but to be honest I don't think he feels that's his priority, his work is and that's Autism isn't it? It does make me chuckle as he asks Brian about certain situations regarding behaviour such as sarcasm and how he should deal with it which I just feel is a nice honest approach and he honestly is trying to make an effort to fit in.
It was fascinating to see how he worked out the clues and put it all together making the last few chapters of this book so gripping I couldn't put it down. Brilliantly written by Michael Leese who also has a son with Autism, he states that his son's Autism is also very different to the character he has created but one thing they do share is a powerful sense of determination which I think shines through in a lot of people I know with Autism too.
I think this book would make an great tv series, it reminded a lot of the current series of The Good Doctor on Sky Living. Doctor Shaun Murphy has a similar rapport with his mentor Dr Aaron Glassman, it would be nice to see more characters on tv with Autism and a detective drama would be something to consider maybe? I'd love to watch this on the telly.
It is a great read and can definitely recommend it. This is the first of two books in the Jonathan Roper series, the second being 'I Can See You'. I will pop links (affiliated) for both these books at the end of this post. If you would like more information about the author go to:
Thank you for reading today, please join me tomorrow for our first tv chat of the new year on Pass the Remote Sunday.
Take care for now.
Every Saturday will be about Autism, family and life.