This day was supposed to be a great day; pack for camp, pick up meds from pharmacy, eat McD’s breakfast, get him on the bus for the last camp before school starts, and I get my final papers done. I have had my cry-out already, I have had time to get my emotions in check before the writing of this.
With autism there is a great chance of facing OCD tendencies. T’s ocdness comes in the way of scheduling and getting what we (anyone) said would happen. If plans change, he looses it! Completely melts down, anywhere, anytime, no regard of surroundings. I’m certain it’s from expectations that don’t happen, “promises” broken, change, anxiety, and the ideas go on from there.
There’s a difference between a normal tantrum and an anxiety induced meltdown. Meltdowns are uncontrollable and do not resolve themselves after the “item in question” has been given. The tantrum will end once the child receives what he/she was tantruming about. Meltdowns do not. The child has lost all emotional control over the situation and themselves and cannot stop the behavior and emotion even when they have been given what they want. Case in point: things do not go according to plan, child decides he is NOT getting on the bus for camp, child gets cheeseburger, child does not stop being angry or give notice to the parent that went and did said thing for them. Ambitious About Autism says this
Too much unpredictability
Autism causes difficulties with flexible thinking; if things go as expected then it’s manageable, but if something happens that they weren’t prepared for, an autistic boy and girl can have a meltdown because they feel unsafe (Ambitious About Autism).
Yes, I know it sounds like he’s been a jerk or doing it for attention, but things really did not go the way either of us wanted. The bus was there waiting for us, I still had to get change for him for the camp store, he was hungry, and he was upset about a situation the night before. (That’s another thing; perseverating over a situation that may or may not have gone the way the child says it did.)
I know it’s not a reflection of me as a parent, or him as a child, but it hurts just the same. Sometimes when these things happen, I think is he unraveling? Are we doing enough for him? Are we pushing him too much? What if we stopped all the services (except OT) would he stop melting down or will it get worse? Is he on the right medication? Does he really need to be on medication? All these thoughts and feelings surround every parent with a child on the spectrum. Especially when we can’t decipher really what the child feels, thinks, wants, needs, etc. When we have more days like this (even w/o all the prehappenings) I know he is not the “high functioning” young man some see.
So…keep your head up Mom, Dad. This too will pass, even if it’s in death, it will pass.
On the other thoughts, he begins high school this year. If all fails, there is a K12 autism school here and I know he’d be successful there. Who knows? Maybe group home is really what he wants. or all he can handle. And the cycle of grief begins over again. funny thing about grief…never goes away