Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason

Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason

Many of us have experienced meltdowns along the way on this journey we call special needs parenting. Sometimes there are obvious reasons for a meltdown and sometimes there isn’t. I personally feel that it’s important to try to find the reason a child is melting down because it may be possible to provide relief.

However, as I said, there are times when it seems like there is simply no rhyme or reason to the behavior.

I experienced one of these situations on the other day. Emmett and I were going to pick up the boys from school. He insisted on going with me, so it wasn’t like I had dragged him along. Everything was fine and we were even singing the alphabet.

Then seemingly out of nowhere, he began to freak out and this freaking out lead to a huge meltdown.

With Emmett, it’s really hard to tell what is upsetting him as communication is still a challenge, despite the tremendous progress he has made. I used my phones, front facing camera and stuck it in the visor thingy and was able to use it like a mirror so I could see him. Nothing I could do would console him.

The only thing I got out of his screaming was something about wanting a cake. A freaking cake. Where the heck did that come from?

He screamed the whole way home. I had to hit the pharmacy on the way back and he screamed so loud that I couldn’t hear the pharmacy tech.

He didn’t really seem angry but instead very anxious. Maybe all the light reflecting off the snow was overwhelming for him? Either way, I never figured this one out and likely never will. He did eventually settle down but not before completely exhausting himself and stressing me out beyond all belief.

This is one of the things I find the most frustrating about Emmett’s Autism. I hate that we can’t better communicate. I wish he was able to tell us what was wrong so we could try to help him. I would be happier if I could simply understand better, what his needs are so I could figure these things out on my own. It’s heartbreaking to watch you child go through something like this and not really be able to help.

Below you’ll find the video of this meltdown that my phone recorded while being used as a monitor.

I welcome any insight you might have into this.

One a positive note, Gavin and Elliott handled this situation very well. Elliott even showed off for the camera.


As always, this video is for educational purposes only. I share these situations with you as a means of helping educate.

[youtube width=”720″ height=”480″][/youtube]


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wanda partin

try putting a dvd player in your car and a movie he realy likes . it workes some times for me .:*

wanda partin

i have two boys with autism one is 3 and one is all most 2 . it gets very hard some times but you just got to hang in there . my 3 year old has melt downs quit often and it takes a lot out of you be cuse you dont know whats wrong . or what to do to help them .but i take one day at a time in hopes that i will find a way to help hin through it <3


Wasn't sure where to post this on but its a blog post by a mother about her child having a meltdown at a store. A "dear shopper" type for the other shopper that may be staring.


Thank You! I really wish people would see that, while some meltdowns are absolutely preventable, some absolutely are not!! It sometimes gets to me when I hear people say things like, If you just use this or take this class–all meltdowns will magically disappear. This is not so for many of our kids no matter how skilled we are as parents or how much intervention our children have had. Sometimes, it's all about the child's needs at that moment–in their world– and we may or may not ever get the real cause of a partcular meltdown.


Elliot was too cute with his camera hogging! He is a little ham!

Angela still had meltdowns like that at 18. All it takes is a memory, a thought, a sound, a smell.

If we assume that they think in pictures, a scary thought is just the same as if someone showed them a picture of something scary. Very real, and very terrifying.

It's all so very confusing.

The other boys did great.

Deb Provost

Reminded me of our little guy Eric. I really understand how hard it is for you not to know what is wrong and what to do. Our Eric is non-verbal as well. He would have been out of the car seat and all over the vehicle. We usually have to pull over till he can be calmed. Hard when one of us is alone with him. The boys did very well handling it. Wish I had answers for you Rob —


He definitely seemed really scared, maybe he had a weird thought that scared him and he started freaking out over it?
Maybe there could be a way that you guys can develop a picture communicating system for when he's upset, so he can show you if something hurts, something is scary, etc. Pictures, flash cards etc that you can keep in the car might help. Kinda like PECs system but as a way to supplement the words he can say.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x