Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Why saying "no meltdowns" is wrong


So today I went to the school to donate my son's weighted vest that he had outgrown. Not all insurances cover them. I would be blessed if someone gave one to us. So when I got there, I was waiting for the appropriate staff member to give it to.


There as a boy around 12 years old being dropped off for an egg drop competition. He was excited. He showed me the contraption he made to make sure his egg does not break. I did this event with my scouts and it can be a lot of fun.

His mom as with him. As they were ready to receive him, she tells him "No meltdowns."

Let that sink in. She told her autistic son not to have a meltdown.

I am going to assume that his mother is typical and has no idea what a meltdown is like. Let me enlighten you.

I will bring you back to the first meltdown I can remember. We do not remember them all. They can be very traumatic.  I was about eight. My abusive mother was holding on to me when I did not want to be touched. We were at the train station, leaving for her car. I was watching where I was going. She was only holding on to my brothers, I was fine with that. Then in the middle of the parking lot, she just grabbed me.

Keep in mind that I was just on public transport. The Long Island RailRoad is not quiet by a long shot. The lights were flickering. There was background noise. There was a lot of conversation. The train car where we were was packed full of people. Sardines had more room to move in their can. I remember trying to control my breathing like I learned in martial arts. G-d knows my mother never taught me anything about coping skills. I was just a burdern.

Imagine dealing with all that, trying to keep calm. Then all of a sudden, you get grabbed on the shoulder hard. I of course reacted.

I remember screaming and crying, I tried to hide in a corner under the overpass of the train track (It was a raised railroad station. ). I was starting to calm down, then she grabbed me by the arm. I reacted and then a lady walked by and asked if I was ok .My mother's response was "She is emotionally disturbed."

Granted, at the time we didn't know I am autistic. But things still make sense now. Even if I was diagnosed as a child, she would not have acted any differently.

Back to this little boy. She probably has him in ABA. I am willing to bet by the way she was forcing eye contact.

Autistics need to be accepted for who we are. If there is a meltdown, then there is a good reason for it. Find that reason and you will solve the problem. Do not make our meltdowns about you.


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