Emmett’s Day: From Meltdowns to More Meltdowns

I mentioned previously that Emmett had a rough morning. His morning was actually going quite well until he realized that Elliott was going to be home sick. In case you’re new here, it’s important to understand that Emmett does not like change. It would be more accurate to say that Emmett hates change with every fiber of his being.

Not doing well with change is a trait that many on the Autism Spectrum share, both children and adults.

Emmett was fine this morning until he found out that he would be going to school by himself, meaning that Elliott wouldn’t be in the school building because he was sick. This is a change to Emmett’s routine and it totally threw him off.

He was so freaked out over this that it led to a massive meltdown and refusal to go to school. It took quite a bit of time to help him work through this and it wasn’t easy. There was a lot of talking, redirection and it even came down to picking him up and carrying him to the car mid-meltdown.

This short sighted new school attendance policy, put out by the State of Ohio, doesn’t allow for Emmett to miss many more days of school this year. A meltdown simply isn’t enough to avoid going. We need to save what few days he has left for when he’s sick or in a fever flare.

He did end up walking to the car himself and his demeanor became more positive once he arrived at school.

It’s important to understand that there are some situations in which pushing him is appropriate. This was one of those situations. If this had been about his clothes hurting him or something like that, we wouldn’t approach it the same way.

When I picked him up after school, he was in a great mood until I asked him if he wanted to go see the new Thor movie while Mommy was out of town with Grandma this weekend.

That set him off like a stick of dynamite. He screamed how he hated the Avenger movies and didn’t want to see them, ever.

I’ve no idea where that came from. I don’t think he’s upset about Lizze going out of town because we’re going to have a bro weekend and he’s excited about that. Maybe school took more out of him than it appeared to at first.

Either way, he’s doing a bit better now.

We’re going to kill tablets and TV for the evening, while we play boardgames. Hopefully, this will further help to decompress him further.

I definitely got my fill of meltdowns today and I’m praying that tomorrow is a better day for everyone.

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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kimmy gebhardt

I haven’t spoken to adults with autism but I don’t doubt what you are saying. When I said ‘over two weeks’, I was basing it on a 5 day school week not actual weeks. Also, I thought your original post said that both boys had gotten letters sent home. As for it being a State issue you are correct except for the part where the boys missed time for vacation. That is the same for any kid no matter what diagnoses he or she may have. Schools tend to frown upon days off for things like that.

Rob Gorski

I’m picking up what you’re down. It didn’t occur to me until later that you were referring to the school week.

I don’t disagree with you. It’s a difficult situation to manage but all we can do is avoid absesnes like the plague… ☺

kimmy gebhardt

Is it really in his best interest to miss school just because Elliott is home sick? I know and understand your frustration with the new policy, but at some point he has to realize that meltdowns don’t get him out of school, and not having your brother in the school doesn’t mean you don’t have to go. It won’t be that long before they will be in separate schools when Elliott moves to secondary. Now that the State has changed the rules, there is no time like the present to force the issue. I know I’m oversimplifying it, but at some point Emmett has to learn to deal with his non-illness issues which would have kept him out of school in the past. The other thing about this new policy is that you’re blaming it all on the State, where part of the responsibility for the letters being sent to you lies on you for pulling them from school when they weren’t sick. They both missed days when Cleo was put to sleep and also when the house across the street burned down, and then of course Florida. They even took an extra day when you got home and you said the school was fine with it; problem is, it’s not up to the school anymore. It’s certainly a slippery slope but looking at it from a less emotional point of view might help. The main point which you seem to be missing or ignoring is that your kids missed over 2 weeks from the end of August to the 2nd week in October. That’s a huge number of days to miss and more than most kids will miss all year.

Rob Gorski

Kim, I get what you’re saying but I’m wondering if you’ve ever spoken with any adults on the spectrum. Many adults with Autism struggle with the same things they did as kids. Many of these symptoms are lifelong companions.

That doesn’t mean we just throw our hands up and quit.

When it comes to kids with Autism, forcing anything is rarely the best option. These aren’t stubborn kids. Their brains are hard wired to be different. Some things we can work through but many we cannot.

Kim, this is an issue with the state. You’re welcome to think what you like but the reality is that kids with Autism miss lots of school. That doesn’t apply to ever single kid on the spectrum but it’s a very common problem.

Our situation with attendance is not unique in the slightest. This isn’t about accepting responsibility for anything.

When we put our cat down, it might as well have been one of their Grandparents, because they took it that hard.

They couldn’t go to school when the house burnt down across the street because we were completely blocked in and one one was able to pick the kids up if we walked them to the other side of the block. That’s out of my control.

They haven’t missed over 2 weeks. Emmett is at 8 days and that’s from the trip. Elliott is at 14 after today, 8 was from the trip and the rest were illness.

Lastly, it’s so important that you not compare any of this to a typical situation because it’s not.

Compared to neurotypical peers, they’ve missed a lot but compared to other kids with Autism and or health issues, it’s not.

Does that make sense?