Why a #meltdown kept my son home from school today

Emmett was in rare form this morning. He began melting down the moment he woke up. I’d say he woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but I don’t think it was that simple. 

I’ve spoken many times about my understanding of Emmett and meltdowns. 

Emmett is extremely sensory driven, very easily overstimulated. He spends a good deal of time, looking for stimulation his body needs to know where he physically exists in time and space. 

It appears that Emmett had a really good time at the zoo yesterday, with his school. It also appears to have drained his resources. When his resources are drained, he doesn’t cope well with anything, and today was one of those days. 
As far as Emmett is concerned, his day was shot before it began. 

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We worked with him all morning, and here are a few things we tried:

  1. Deep pressure
  2. Brushing
  3. Ferrets
  4. Tight hugs
  5. Reasoning (which is pointless during a meltdown) 
  6. Redirection 
  7. Removing him from the immediate environment that was causing him distress

Unfortunately, nothing worked. Frankly, when a child with Autism is in the midst of a meltdown, there’s very little you can do, aside from hunker down and ride it out. 

Emmett was very much over the edge this morning. He was so far over the edge in fact, we couldn’t even see the edge in the rear view. 

He ended up missing school because he was so upset, he’d made himself sick. 

I can only speculate as to the cause, because there are simply too many possibilities. I do think it was likely fallout from his field trip yesterday. He may also be entering a fever cycle as well. We’ll see this kind of thing when a flare is imminent. 

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Punishing him for this is wrong. Punishing any child with Autism for having a meltdown is wrong. These are involuntary acts, meaning the child in question has absolutely no control. Not to be confused with a tantrum, which is all about manipulation. 

For the most part, Emmett’s feeling better but it’s still been a difficult day.