Autism Watch: 2007

A Mother of a Meltdown

Posted on: March 27, 2008

Did you just hear that high-pitched scream? The kind that makes you wish you were only hearing nails on a chalkboard? The kind that makes dogs howl and cower under a bed? The kind that you think “wow, my kid’s tantrums don’t look so bad now.” That’s what just occurred here. We haven’t seen them this bad in a few weeks, and I didn’t miss them. Nope, not a bit. In fact, for a second, I was thinking “how did I ever deal with this all day every day?” Then he sat up with monstrous strength unknown to small children, and I remembered that this is why we decided to put him on medication. I couldn’t deal with it all day, every day, and neither could he.

I don’t know what is wrong that caused this. Well, I do know what caused his anger, but for it to get to that level? Who knows. On a ‘normal’ day anymore, finding his Gameboy case on a shelf other than where he put it would cause some annoyance and yelling, but not the “Curse you, Bubba, curse you!” that it caused today. This week, he’s out of school, had some Easter candy (though none since Tuesday) and there’s been a few dietary infractions…but this seems extreme for that. Then again, who knows. Maybe the dyes are still in his system from the Easter candy he ate on Saturday/Sunday. Yep, who am I kidding, I helped bring this on.

Right now, he’s calm…after he exploded, the extreme sadness and sobbing kicked in. The heartwrenching, saddening sobs that make you wish for anything that could stop your little one from feeling that sad. That out of control. That much hate. (And hate it was, based on what he was yelling.) There’s gotta be more that can be done, but we’ve tried behavioral therapy…a lot of it. At one point, we were told that without medication, he may never truly get a grip on it. Now that scares me, though I have hope.

During Autism Awareness month, I truly hope not just the non-verbal, handflapping children are in the spotlight. Not that they shouldn’t be, don’t get me wrong, but people need to see ALL types of autism. They need to see the aggression of little kids with strength of someone twice their size, hear the venom coming out of their mouths, and hear a list of what little is available to help. We can’t let the public think that there’s two kinds of autism: non-verbal, and Asperger’s. They need to realize that there’s a spectrum, and this population of kids like mine exist, in big numbers. They aren’t spoiled. They aren’t products of bad parenting. They aren’t lacking self-control..well, they are, but not of their own or anyone’s choosing.

So now he sits eating a milk-free brownie. My older ds is astounded by his brother’s complete and utter lack of an attention span anymore, and I am in a way, too. He’s never had a long one, but this week, he’s bounced from watching Wonder Pets, spreading Pokemon all over my bedroom, spreading stuffed animals (his friends) all over his room, starting to make a book, playing a round of Guitar Hero, and back to Wonder Pets…all in about 8.4 minutes. How is he not exhausted, but everyone in his wake is?

Life with autism is unpredictable. As the saying goes, “If you’ve seen one person with autism, you’ve seen one person with autism.” They’re all so different. Yet, ironically, they’re each predictable in their ‘issues,’ if you will. I know my son will get up and want his pancakes heated on a plate, stacked, then cut in two directions, then slathered in syrup. He wants his ‘coffee’ (chocolate almond milk) in his white cup with the blue lid, and placed at his chair. From there, on a non-school day, all bets are off, but I know it’ll be a whirlwind of activities, many odd, in a short period of time. I know if we talk quietly so as not to interrupt him, he’ll accuse us of talking about him. I know that if a show he’s Tivo’d is deleted, he’ll scream and yell that he’s going to beat up the stupidhead that did it. I know that when his sister gets a phonecall and he doesn’t, he’ll flip out that he has no friends, and we’ll have to limit his talking about no friends to three minutes, or we could fall asleep to that same discussion ten hours later and he’d barely notice, only to have to start the conversation over, verbatim, if our snoring disrupts. And I know that when he falls asleep at night, finally, and only after his clonidine helps, I’ll cuddle him and hug him and tell him he’s the sweetest boy in the world.

5 Responses to "A Mother of a Meltdown"

I TOTALLY agree with you that the public needs to see that autism is truly a SPECTRUM. It’s not one or the other.

I also love your comment of “When you’ve seen one kid with autism, you’ve seen one kid with autism.” I have to remember that.

HUGS for you. I’m dreading the upcoming spring break because of the break in his school routine.

“As the saying goes, “If you’ve seen one person with autism, you’ve seen one person with autism.” They’re all so different.”

Boy is THAT the truth.

Now that, was perfect. ‘One kid w/autism, one kid w/autism’. It will get me through a few tough times. Than you.

Yes, I do know how loud a meltdown can get. I relate to so much of everything you wrote that I don’t know what else I can say other than thanks for sharing,

I have a new neighbor who I just found out has autism. They live above me, and I was told it’s the woman’s 10-year-old nephew. For the longest time, I’ve been wondering if someone is being beat up up there, or if someone is having a mental breakdown or seizure, because the slamming of things & running repeatedly & jumping & bouncing into walls, & falling onto the floor, etc, is so loud and terrifying to me and my baby. So now I just found out about this, and I’m really sad because it’s disturbing sleep for my little guy & scaring him. And I’m sad for the boy up there in general, & his aunt. So I’ve been reading up tonight (can’t sleep) on this so that I can try to understand it better & try to be more patient as a neighbor.

not sure if anyone has any suggestions, like maybe talk to the mom or well, the aunt, & offer help if she ever needs it. things didn’t start out right with me and her because her kids & this boy ran under my baby’s window & my windows & screamed in them at night, scaring my poor little guy to death & waking him up repeatedly, & then another night they yelled a prank right into my living room window, so I said something to the kids when they came barreling back in…to please just take it easy & not scare my baby or scream into his windows or our windows in general. The mom saw me tell the kids that & she got very upset, & well, that didn’t turn out so well.

I am just wondering what I might be able to do to help the situation or my neighbor, now that I know that someone up there has autism, and that THAT is the cause for all the disturbing endless terrifying noise. There had been a police call earlier in the day, when I was speaking with the police tonight, for their apartment…something to do with an “autistic melt-down”. That sounds about correct, as far as what description I might give for the things I’ve been dealing with & hearing. I’m going to have to do the best to put myself in their shoes about it, in trying to just breathe through the noise & try not to stress out…………………but otherwise, I’m clueless & am wondering what some other suggestions might be.

If anyone has any thoughts or ideas, please comment back. Thanks.

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