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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Meltdown Measure

Boy had a meltdown last night. He has been so busy of late, that it finally took its toll and he reached over stimulation point. The meltdown took a shorter form though (thank goodness). He yelled at me, displayed actions of impatience and immediacy and then settled. From his point, the meltdown was over in 10 minutes.

I went to bed with his yelling in my ears. I was hurt and thinking selfish thoughts of my own (“how could you treat me like that after everything I do for you”). I had allowed myself to become seduced by the recent weeks of high functioning and coping behaviour. I forgot that he is a child with Asperger’s, special needs, and that he cannot be forced to act in a way that we want, when we want.

I reflected on my somewhat co-dependent thoughts of, “poor me”, and have this morning accepted that the only reason I knew that last night was a meltdown was because his behaviour and coping has been so very, very acceptable of late. You know, it's the reality of the maxim: You cannot see the light unless there's a dark to hang it in. With this in mind, I need to celebrate the mini meltdown as a way of measuring how far he has come. One little meltdown isn’t go to send him back to the days when we had screaming for four hours solid (or on one occasion, eight hours until he fell asleep exhausted). One little meltdown is not going to send me scurrying back to the privacy of my pillow so that I can wash it with my tears.

That one little meltdown is this morning going to create a discussion on how far he’s come with learning and practicing social skills. That one little meltdown reminder is resulting in a privileged visit to a place Boy has been longing to go to for ages: Cable Skiing.

That one little meltdown has reminded me that I forgot to reward Boy for his excellent anger management and social control of late. If he’s trying hard, so too must I.

I went back and read a creative plea of help I wrote some time ago, Living with Autism. How well I remember my intense pain the day I wrote that. How far I have come too. Perhaps we require a double celebration: Cable Skiing for Boy and a big fat chocolate for me!

Photo is courtesy of dkg at sxc photo exchange.


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Elisheva Hannah Levin said...


Make sure it is really GOOD chocolate! You deserve it!

I know I go through what I call mini-denials--those times when I think maybe the diagnosis of AS was all a mistake because N.'s behavior is so,...well, normal. But reality comes back sooner or later.

Fortunately--it is a spiral reality--this is only a meltdown in relation to the really good behavior you have been seeing. So you are teaching and Boy is learning!

I think you get TWO chocolates!

Megan Bayliss said...

Thanks Elisheva.

Two chocolates sounds great - except that I'm supposed to be dieting because we're getting married in March and I want as flat a stomach as is possible after having had 4 kids!!

I have many days where I entertain misdiagnosis...but the reality comes tumbling back to hit me in the face.

I needed last night though to remind me of how far Boy has come. This morning he is calm, happy and back to being a delightful kid.

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Good luck with the wedding!

I did read about it in one of your earlier posts.

I got married to my DH (2nd marriage for me) in 2002. N. was pretty good about it. Bruce asked him gravely if it was alright for his mom to get married. N. agreed!

As a truly AS child, he told our rabbi: First we had a divorce and now we are having a wedding!

We included him in the wedding ceremony. I'll have to find the picture of him in his little tux.

At the reception, we allowed him to change back into casual clothes after pictures.

He had fun.
And he was quite disappointed that he didn't get to come on the honeymoon!
For awhile.
When he heard his cousin Dylan was staying with him (my sister stayed at our house for that time) he recovered well.

Anyway--have ONE really nice chocolate!

This blog is no longer kept. I am instead blogging only to Imaginif Child Protection became Serious Business