Adult Meltdowns….

As a parent of a child on the spectrum, one of the hardest skills for me to learn was how to identify and anticipate a meltdown. I had a very strict upbringing and any lack of self control was unacceptable. Meltdowns, regardless of cause were met with swift and stiff penalties. I cringe to think of how I responded to Daniel’s early meltdowns.

Thankfully, implementing my inherited  “cure” for meltdowns was so completely unsuccessful that it led to looking for alternatives. Through that search, I discovered not only healthier avenues for working with children in general but also began to identify the threads of symptoms that led to Daniel’s Asperger’s diagnosis.

I have often worried and wondered how Daniel will fare as an adult. Will he learn how to predict and control meltdowns? And what will happen when there are unavoidable, meltdown-triggering circumstances beyond Daniel’s control? I was thrilled this week to read a blog post by one of my favorite Aspie bloggers, Gavin Bollard titled Adult Meltdowns and the Problems of Restraint.

I was glad Gavin mentioned Police Action.

One of the most common occasions in which an adult meltdown is triggered is during police action. Unfortunately, this is probably the worst time for one to occur because violent or noisy outbursts are often met with both violence and legal action.

When the police are called in to deal with stressful situations such as domestic issues, car accidents or minor infractions, the adult aspie is already stressed.  As tension builds and they feel a meltdown looming, they will attempt to remove themselves from the situation.  Unfortunately, during police action, this ability and this “right” is significantly reduced. It’s quite common for innocent aspies to run from the police and it’s equally common for aspies to resort to violent outbursts in these situations.

It’s probably important to let the police know that you have aspergers syndrome as early as possible and to ask to be able to talk in a less confrontational situation.  In some cases, “taking a ride downtown” might be a safer option than trying to discuss it at the scene of the issue.

I think that as we see the ever increasing number of children and even adults being identified as on the spectrum there is an expanding need to provide law enforcement with the proper training to identify the possible signs of a meltdown and steps that can be taken to reduce the pressure on the individual and give them the time and space needed to be able to de-stress and respond appropriately.

How can we as parents prepare our children for this particular aspect of the adult world? How can we as members of our community work towards accommodations for our children as they enter the adult world? 

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About aspergersmom

I am a 35 year old woman. I am the wife of an amazing man, who keeps me sane. As a recent California/Florida transplant to the midwest and the mother to a combined family of 6 children; 3 boys, 3 girls, my life is an adventure. I blog and raise our family with my best friend.
This entry was posted in Blogs I Read, Challenges, Dark moments, Parenting on the Spectrum, Reasources. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Adult Meltdowns….

  1. benreillyuk says:

    Its very difficult for people who don’t have Asperger’s not to think, ‘Have some bloody self control.’ My wife to me. I have aspergers as well and a volcanic panic anxiety reflex. On the whole I can keep it covered up outside the home. So don’t worry too much.

  2. benreillyuk says:

    Reblogged this on Aspergers me? and commented:
    I thought that as a person who has Asperger’s syndrome, this blog made sense as something to share. I think it is all too easy to forget the trouble the parent’s have with the behaviour patterns I occasionally fall into, or indeed my wife has to put up with.

  3. jeff says:

    Meltdowns were the BIG trait that led us down the “threads” too. I wanted to cry thinking of “I cringe to think of how I responded to Daniel’s early meltdowns.”… me too. Been there… am there. The major struggle of “what is acceptable?”, should I allow meltdowns to give him a free pass? He’s smart enough (VERY SMART) to realize “I just need some time” will buy him a few more minutes. I’m starting to realize when he is faking… but when I call him on it… usually a real meltdown starts. But it is VERY evident when emotion, not reason, overtakes his body. (My wife’s meltdowns are now equally evident.)

    Keep up the fight… not just for him… but for all of you! – jeff

    • aspergersmom says:

      I am so glad you found me and that my experience resonates with you. Finding commonalities with other parents and aspies has helped me along my way too.

      Regarding the free pass. I too struggle to find that balance all the time. I know my son will live in a world that will not tolerate lots of meltdowns so my goal is to teach him to self moderate. That is why I think the goal is self awareness. As Daniel gets older, I talk to him about finding what works for him, making the tool his own and taking responsibility to monitor himself so he doesn’t meltdown so often. However, a lot of the time, it is really a intuition thing.

      I have find that often I can’t react to Daniel’s first response. This first response is often, “No! UH-uh! I am not doing that!” as he stomps away.

      I will say, “That can’t be your final answer,” as calmly as I can and then just wait. Usually, he will come back within a minute or two. Longer than that, I need to check that he hasn’t headed off to video game world. However, giving those extra minutes, has helped reduce the meltdowns lately.

      It is hard because they aren’t just children, pre-teens or teenagers and they aren’t just Aspies, they are both. It is a brave new world!

      So glad you guys are researching and looking for answers in conjunction with seeing professionals! Way to go!

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