#Autism Fact of the day: 07/26/2013

Today’s Autism fact of the day is a really important one.  There seems to be a great deal of misconception about this particular fact and I believe that the community as a whole would benefit greatly from a better understanding.

I am of course, talking about the meltdown.

So many people assume that when a child with Autism  is throwing a fit that it’s a behavioral issue or that there’s bad parenting involved. 

The reality is that majority of the time, the child or adult with Autism in question, has absolutely no control over these outbursts.

These are called meltdowns and can easily be confused with tantrums. The main difference it What’s going on behind the curtain.

In the simplest terms, a meltdown is the body’s way of purging when it’s taken in more than it can process. Typically, a meltdown is a result of something called sensory overload . Many Autistic people struggle with sensory processing disorder as well. Essentially, they experience everythinggoing on around them, all at the same time.

Their body reaches a point where they can no longer cope and a meltdown happens.

Things that are common triggers of sensory overload include things like, bright or flashing lights, smells, being touched, constant or loud noise, colors, taste, texture, stressful/emotional situations and even large groups of people.

Many people incorrectly assume that a person in this state simply has behavioral problems.

I would challenge anyone to spend a few minutes in the shoes of a person with Autism, dealing with sensory overload and see if you could do better a better job of coping.

Please remember that a true meltdown is outside the control of the person in question. Also, parents do not need to hear things like, “your child needs his or her butt whipped”. Not only is that an erroneous assumption but also a pet peeve of many special needs parents.

This site is managed almost exclusively via WordPress for Android. Please forgive any typos as autocorrect HATES me. 😉

Follow @Lost_and_Tired

Visit the My Autism Help Forums

To reach me via email, please Contact Me

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.

1 Comment
most voted
newest oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I remember once a few months ago when my boyfriend Michael had a friend over, named George. George was taking some college classes and Michael was helping him with some of the homework. Meanwhile, my computer was having a virus I couldn’t get rid of. I knew that problem could wait and George only had so much time for Michael to help him, so George took precedence. But having anything bad happen to my computer makes me very anxious, and I was rocking back and forth on the couch and whimpering and stuff and in obvious distress. If you didn’t know me you would have thought I was in extreme pain — which, in a way, I was.
I really was trying to keep it together and I think I did a good job. But my distress became obvious enough that Michael thought it necessary to stop helping George and start helping me. He went to my computer, got rid of the virus in twenty minutes or so, and returned to George. I calmed down. Then Michael’s roommate (who knows I have autism) started chewing me out, saying I was “disrespectful of George” and George’s time, and George only had so much time tonight whereas Michael could fix my computer any time, and why did I expect everybody do things the way I wanted all the time, and basically accusing me of manipulating the situation so I would get help for my computer faster.
I was really hurt and upset because I had tried so hard to keep myself under control. I wouldn’t call it a meltdown — more like a pre-meltdown. Did I hit anything? No. Did I scream or cry? No. Did I start throwing myself against walls? No. All of which I badly wanted to do and would have ended up doing a few years ago before I learned some coping skills to help prevent my anxiety from reaching meltdown point. I truly could not keep it all inside as far as the rocking and whimpering and such goes, and it upset me that nobody bothered to recognize that I’d actually done a good job controlling myself.
Fortunately, it was only Michael’s roommate giving me hell about it and Michael understood perfectly. I think he went and helped me to head off the meltdown that might have been coming.