Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

city map


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Meltdown is an Overused Word These Days

It seems like all you hear these days is that kids are having "meltdowns" left and right and it is not limited to special needs kiddos anymore or was it ever? Anyhow, Griffin has something that is not a tantrum as most would believe it to be when witnessing it out in public....NO!!!! This behavior is sensory overload and/or triggers stemming from his autism and it is NOT because he is a brat! I feel so helpless when he has this behavior because all the techniques that I have been taught for all these years have not been working lately like helping him to calm himself down through deep breathing for example which is a great method for most people.

I have sought advice from so many sources and the best thing that I have come up with so far is to keep a journal of his behaviors and maybe I can figure out what the triggers are. Maybe I can figure out something that all these "meltdowns" have in common because it is not the time of day and Griffin has not had a schedule since he was born except once and it was disastrous. That was when family preservation was here and their "help" was not helpful. Griffin agreed to try it once more for school but he has always been the exception to the autistic rule for schedules. I tell him ahead of time what we are going to do and that seems to work fine.

So, I am hoping that maybe this journal will help me narrow down the sensory issues that he has and even though my psychologist tells me that I beat myself up too much and that I am always trying to be perfect, I think that I may be a factor in the whole scheme of things....he would disagree but it is a possibility that I am doing something wrong and triggering him myself. My doctor told me that I do not give myself enough credit for what I do for Griffin, that I have a lot on my plate caring for him and attending to my own mental illness and physical disabilities and that I need to make some changes in that area of my life. I know that I do but it is not easy. He always comes first for me and somewhere I fit into the picture.

I was talking to my mom yesterday and explaining to her the extent of Griffin's behavior and how I was getting kind of scared because when he loses his temper he really goes off on me and hits me and has recently started reaching for the knives as if to get one to go after me with it which I really don't think he would ever do but I have hidden them in order to avoid incidents in the future that might be violent. He always apologizes after he hits me and we talk about it and how it is not okay but it happens again and again.

Griffin seems to really like his new psychologist which is wonderful and he is really helping me to cope with Griffin's problems too.

1 comment:

Melinda said...

Noah went through a period like that too. I am thankful it was brief. I found being honest with him and actually telling him how he was getting older and BIGGER and stronger..and that he had to keep a grip on his emotions even better than he had before...because as he got older...even with a diagnosis of autism and sensory integration disorder and SAD and other things...if he ever did anything when he lost control..he may get taken away from me and not be able to live with me...either temporarily or long-term. Then he would not have the life he wanted as he has now...not be able to do the things he has always been able to do or wants to do now or in the future...etc. I did not try to scare him..but was honest with him and truthful..because to be honest with you...that was on my mind. I knew if I could not get a grip on this before he turned a teenager...and if he ever did me or anyone else...especially to someone else...he could wind up in big trouble and then who knows where...juvenile hall? I described what that was like...and how he would not eat the things he liked...or be offered he would not have any of the things he has around him now...etc.

This really worked and seemed to wake him up...and he worked very hard to control himself after that with me only occasionally having to provide a prompt like "Noah, take a breath...calm down." and he would remember and then calm down and work through it. that he is almost 14....I cannot remember the last time he had an episode where he lashed out at me ...and I pray because I am typing this now it will not happen! He has had a couple mini episodes where he was very upset and lost it and acted a little more childishly and cried rather than lashing out thankfully...but...otherwise the reality of how he could end up in juvenile detention or one day in jail for something he did unintentionally during a moment of a meltdown....seemed to hit home. Not sure if this will help Griffin or not...but it is what worked for Noah.