When Lizze and I decide that it’s best that we don’t make an appearance somewhere, it’s because we have to think about how the kids are going to cope or react to the situation we would be putting them in. That shouldn’t be misinterpreted because even an overwhelmingly positive situation can still have a negative impact on the kids.
That negative impact takes the form of overstimulation.
Overstimulation can happen in both positive and negative situations. There’s a great deal of confusion about this because I think people in general don’t recognize that even the best, most awesome experience can lead to overstimulation in kids with Autism.
The problem is that most of the time, the fallout from this overstimulation doesn’t occur until after the fact. In other words, most of the time, my kids will do fine at the event and then fall apart when they get home. This means that no one but my wife and I will experience the fallout.
When I say fallout, I am of course referring to the dreaded meltdown.
The thing about meltdowns is that they are exhausting for everyone involved and when you are a chronically, sleep deprived, Autism parent; you do everything you can to avoid them. It’s quite honestly a matter of survival.
I hate seeing my kids in the kind of distress that occurs with a meltdown because they are so overwhelmed by everything, that their bodies simply purge. It’s very much a last, desperate act of their bodies to unload all the anxiety and stress in the only way they can.
As Autism parents, my wife and I desperately try to avoid situations that will cause our kids to experience overstimulation because it’s not fair to them.
Frankly, we’re already completely overwhelmed ourselves and while it’s bad for our kids, we can’t afford to put the boys in a situation that’s going to make life even more challenging than it already is.
Even after all these years, I still find that not everyone understands that we aren’t being antisocial or avoiding anyone.
We are simply trying to do right by our kids and ensure that we don’t put them in a situation that will lead to overstimulation, just because we want to go somewhere.