A mom from one of my autism parenting support groups asked why her autistic son has meltdowns after school. This was a really good question and I wanted to share my answer here. If you’re following me on IG, you may have already seen this.
There could be a million reasons but I wanted to share some insight into why this may be happening.
I think we, as parents, can underestimate how challenging it can be for our kids just to make it through the school day. School is not sensory friendly and there’s a great deal of expectation during the school day. Simply put, school can be incredibly overwhelming for our kiddos on the spectrum and the fact they hold it together as well as they do is quite inspiring to me.
When they come home, however, they often crash. This means meltdowns and other emotional outbursts are more common during this transition period.
This is incredibly common and my kids still struggle with this at times and they’re much older. If this is something you’re seeing in your home, know you’re not alone. I know how overwhelming and exhausting it can be to deal with these things as parents, but at the end of the day, your child feels safe enough in your home to be this vulnerable. This means you’ve done a great job of making home a safe space for them to experience this.
I should also mention that a friend of mine pointed out that it could be related to bullying at school. It’s entirely possible, and it would be difficult to know that, especially if your child struggles with communicating. While this may be true and always something to keep in the back of your mind, I wouldn’t jump to this conclusion right away.
Sometimes the simplest answers are the right ones. In this case, it would be that school is just overwhelming and they come home overstimulated, resulting in the aforementioned meltdowns. You could try to help your child decompress in a healthier way. Maybe swing by the park on the way home and let them burn off some of that energy. Go for a walk or even use a weighted blanket. Many kids respond well to deep pressure and it’s very grounding for them.
These are just suggestions. Everyone is different and your mileage may vary.
Anyway, I hope this helps.