I want to help people have a better understanding of what it’s like to raise an Autistic child. Not every Autistic child is the same and not every Autistic child will meltdown the same way. However, for many of us, this is a reality we face every single day. Many times this happen several times though out the day. This can and will happen at home and in public. A lot of the time there is no rhyme or reason for these meltdowns but they will “usually” be tired to over-stimulation, stress or anxiety.
My goal here is NOT to paint Autism in a negative light but instead be realistic and honest. These meltdowns are just one small piece of the puzzle that makes up an Autistic child. In this video my youngest son, Emmett is melting down. Emmett suffers from severe speak and language delays and so we work with a significant language barrier. This makes communication VERY challenging, especially when he’s distressed. Here’s what happened. Emmett had a balloon and wanted the string cut off. He screamed until we figured out what he wanted and then screamed after it was cut. There was no making him feel better. It took a considerable amount of time and energy to help him defuse or de-escalate. This video only shows you 4 short minutes of this particular meltdown. Now imagine having to do this several times a day, EVERY day, in both public and private settings. This will also happen when trying to get him dressed. He can’t stand the feel of clothes on his skin. How long do you think you could keep that up?
As special needs parents we are doing this every day and many times, with little to no outside help and certainly no breaks. There are many AMAZING qualities that Emmett (and other Autistic kids) possesses but this is just one of the many challenges we face helping him to reach his potential. Hopefully this will give you a bit of insight into the plight of the special needs parent. If you know a special needs parent(s), it’s likely they may be facing similar struggles. Perhaps this allow you to better understand where they are coming from. As special needs parents WE NEED HELP but many times will not ask…..Food for thought.