Managing a behavioral crisis: 04/04/2012

Please be aware that we are in the midst of handling a behavioral crisis with Gavin. We are in the process getting Gavin a psychiatric evaluation at Akron Children’s Hospital. He may actually be admitted to the psychiatric unit once again. There is a great deal of time spent just waiting right now so I want to document the process so that you can experience some of what we are going through right now. This is not easy and I hate having to make these types of decisions but it’s part of being a special needs parent.

We had a very difficult decision to make this afternoon. Gavin has experienced a significant personality shift in the last month or so.

We have been seeing a significant increase in the number and severity of his meltdowns. Self-injury has escalated as well. This afternoon, Gavin had the worst meltdown he’s had in over a year. He cut his leg up and significantly escalated in the land of self mutilation.

His meltdown terrified the other boys and he literally shook the entire house. The screaming, I’m afraid, is going to earn us a visit from the police.

Watching this video will be an eye opener for some, others will more easily relate. It’s very loud and some of the footage may be a bit on the disturbing side.. However, I think it’s important that people see the reality of what my family faces because there are so many others out there going through something similar. It’s not easy, in fact, it just plain sucks.

My hope is that by sharing our experience, maybe those going through something similar won’t feel so alone.

I also want people to see what a serious meltdown can be like. It’s one thing to know what having a meltdown meansand it’s another thing entirely to actually witness one. A meltdown like this is experienced with many senses. I see what’s happening, I hear what’s happening and I feel what’s happening.

I’m writing this from an interview room in the behavioral health side of the ER at Akron Children’s Hospital. This is a long and unpleasant process and most of the time is spent waiting. Writing this is helping me stay sane.

I don’t feel good and I don’t want to be here. I hate this part of special needs parenting.

Please be aware that this video is very loud and at times is violent. This is not child Friendly at all. This is for educational purposes only.

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

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
0 0 votes
Article Rating

Join The Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

most voted
newest oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Heidi Bigelow

Enter text right here!


My now 12 yr old with serious OCD/anxiety and sensory disorder did the whole ugly thing, the screaming – the tearing at himself, ripping his clothes….we drove him twice to Akron Children's in extreme emergency intervention mode and the first time he was seen, talked to, (he was a complete animal in the emergency room…ripped the paper lining off the table into shreds…)_ and they still sent him home with us. The second time I said we are staying (because we had help at home and could stay forever at that point if we had to), and they admitted him because we kept insisting his stomach pangs be explored more (of course our insurance had a fit – but we worked it out), and he was there for about 5 days – while he was there we had him evaluated with the psychiatric team while a stomach doctor did some tests and it worked out …of course we weren't sure if the horrible anxiety was causing the stomach distress or vice-versa. Turns out he was so OCD it wasn't even funny and at age 9 he couldn't cope with it. Most children that can't cope – so we learned – manifest it in physical outrage as their outlet. You are on the right track in getting Gavin help — it probably doesn't help he's got hormonal turbulents going on added into the mix. My son as improved so much, not perfect, not returned to those wild days of screaming and fits, with medication (SSRI) and behavioral therapy – we go to Phoenix Rising on Higbee Ave. Dr. Choksi is his psychiatric doctor and Kaolene his therapist for learning relaxation and coping skills. It was the closest that would see children that our insurance would pay for, without a trip to Akron all the time as it's an hour from us. My son has a driving phobia anyway, that has improved so he does better with it – but in the beginning was total hell to drive to Akron!….Getting help is so hard – so hard to advocate and get them mental health help…but it's worth all the frustration and trouble. Best wishes
My recent post Nerves on edge today…..


Thanks Denise. Wow, what a story…. Thanks for sharing that. I\’ve lost track of the trips we have made to Akron Children\’s Hospital for Behavioral issues, PICA or cardiac issues. At least it\’s a good facility and they are almost always very pleasant.

Best wishes to you as well.


Oh, the stories I could tell 🙂 I can't believe we haven't been reported or pulled over, or arrested in parking lot decks (that's another story)! Before we made the last emergency run to Akron Children's I actually had an appointment set up with Dr. Reynolds (out of our insurance network, but we had to do something and were trying to find something closer – not Akron – because of how horrible the driving with this son was at the time), in the way of child psychiatry — it was getting SO obvious this son needed help – RIGHT NOW- but so hard to find the right place and evaluation – it was all new to us – we had no clue — so it was Akron Children's or bust! you learn fast don't you?! I'm reading about your Elliot now and med changes and no seizures….that's good — My other son with autism has a neurologist at Akron Children's and we love the neurology there — we go for his therapies at Concorde Kids right now and it's working out pretty well. Never a dull moment though….Thank U for sharing your stories
My recent post Thirteenth & Fourteenth Stations w/Meditations: "We do Not Belong to Ourselves…" Gal 2:20


Thank you so much for sharing this. I know very well how difficult going through this is. My son (also a Gavin) is Autistic and has Bipolar Disorder. Subtract a few years and change your voice to mine and this could be my house. It breaks my heart to see other children and parents suffering the way we do, but a small part of me is relieved that we aren't all that "unique". You all are in my prayers tonight.


I understand. It\’s nice to know that we aren\’t alone. My thoughts are with you and I want to thank you for yours 🙂


You are an amazing person! The way you were able to calm him down like that. I feel so bad for Gavin, how tormented his mind must be! I will say a prayer that they have some answers for you at the hospital and that Gavin can be helped tonight.

Heidi Bigelow

I feel your pain. My daughter also has frequent meltdowns, with lots of screaming. I'm sure you already know this, being a father of 3 boys on the spectrum, but I'm going to throw some ideas out there anyways. One thing I noticed is Gavin saying over and over he can't stop, and it got me thinking,: some people with autism or sensory issues literally fight within themselves, their mind is telling them to do one thing and their brain is making their body do another. One thing to look at may be new sensory issues?? I've noticed my daughter reacting to flourescent bulbs, and she needs a compression vest and chewy tube, and music to help her be even remotely calm. I hope you find some answers when you go to the hospital, Dr.s can be so frustrating. Does he have a sensory free tent or "cave" of pillows or anything where he can retreat from everything if he feels overwhelmed? Best of luck


Just breaks my heart. For you…for him. As a mother of an autistic child and a nurse I have a hint of what you're going through! ((HUGS))


So sorry you all are going through this and that Gavin is having such a hard time. He is struggling and I know you are too. Your dog made me chuckle – mine always has to be right in the middle of the most stressful situations. It's so frustrating, but seeing it here made me realize how we all go through some of the same things (in one way or another).

Good luck.
My recent post Mysteries Solved


Thanks. How are things going with you and yours?

Maggie has to be in the middle of everything. It\’s like she\’s supervising or something. We have to be careful though because was kicking Bella, Emmett\’s puppy.


I didn't know it got this way at anyone else's house but mine. It breaks my heart to see my daughter do these things also.


You\’re in good company. There are many of us out there. It\’s nice to know we aren\’t alone. 🙂