This week has been hard for our families. This is strange - the weather is perfect. The hills are green - all should be splendid.
But it’s not.
Kids who find their truest kindness in the animals have inched toward cruelty, parents are stumped. Open hearted kids have been rude, and meltdowns occur more regularly.
Yesterday, a beautiful girl who has become more and more anxious went from cuddly to screaming in a matter of minutes. Suddenly, we were in a back arching, garment renting, limb twisting fit that was terrible to behold. She pounded on her talker two words “Please” and “More” she couldn’t give me any more information than that. When we finally got her into the car she wanted to be in, she regulated and was soon blowing raspberries at all of us and giggling. Her mother cried and I held her. She said something for the second time that broke my heart.
“The behaviorist said we can’t give in to the tantrums.”
“We’d be re-inforcing the behavior is what she said.”
ARE YOU KIDDING?
I hugged the mom and explained to her as gently as I could that this behavior is her daughter desperately trying to communicate that she is in a panic and that the only person who wants the tantrum to stop more than her mother - is this child herself. She’s miserable in this state and there’s nothing she wants more than to not be in this state.
The mother cried some more. She felt guilty and conflicted. To whom should she listen? To the therapist or to me? To her heart? Perhaps if she really committed to what the therapist said, then eventually, the tantrums would stop. But what if they don’t?
Truth is - if the child were having an epileptic seizure - no doctor in the world would tell them to ignore it. They would get her care and keep her safe.
Our work is clear - we MUST change the conversation about autism. We must fix this notion that meltdowns are anything other than a neurological storm and that the person desperately needs support during them. Resilience will only grow when that person feels supported and safe and heard.
Today I will honor that I too, must feel supported, safe and heard.