Autism, anticipation and meltdowns

After writing the Special needs parenting and the “tough decisions” this morning I was thinking. I know, scary, right? Well anyway, I was thinking Gavin doesn’t do well with blood drawls or needles in general. Part of the way we have made it through those so far was that we didn’t give a lot of time to anticipate what was going to happen. For kids with Autism anticipation is a horrible, torturous experience. It does nothing but induce anxiety for many kids on the spectrum. Anxiety is one a the MAJOR components or contributing factors to meltdowns.

I foresee us having major problems with anticipation. Gavin will know that for the foreseeable future (or FOREVER as far as he’s concerned) he will be getting at least one shot every week…FOREVER. This is actually very concerning for me because the more anxious he gets the more he decompensates. The voices will become louder and WE will see MANY more meltdowns, lord only knows what Gavin will see. I’m not sure how we are going to deal with this. Maybe it won’t be a problem but history is a very powerful tool to use for predicting future behavior. We are going to have to have some type of plan in place in order to address this should it become an issue.

This is just one more thing that a special needs parent has to think about when caring for their child. It CANNOT be a deciding factor but as parents to a special needs child (or children) we have to do what we can to minimize the impact, in our case not only on Gavin but the rest of the family.


2 comments

  1. I just commented on that other blog when I read it about the needles…

    For some autistic kids having a regular schedule can actually help with their anxiety, I don't know whether it's true for Gavin but it may be that he'll be able to resign himself to it after he's done it a few weeks and it's become "part of the schedule". I hope that's true for him.

    Perhaps the 'positive reinforcement' thing could be useful… come up with a special type of treat he gets, just for getting through the ordeal. Then the amount he gets goes up if he does well, and up more if he does great. This could be something like time on video games or extra ice cream or something, whatever works for him, something he loves but doesn't get much of normally. That way he has something good to look forward to to help cancel out the bad he knows is coming.

    1. That's actually a really good idea. We tend to do that after shots anyway. That hadn't occurred to me yet.

      Thanks a bunch 🙂

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