Monday, October 14, 2013

Meltdown Mayhem

Today was a day of the cosmos reminding me that youngest is autistic. Okay, honestly every day there are reminders; they are just part of every day and I guess we don't think much of them anymore, and those "things" are all parts of him and if I haven't said it lately, I wouldn't change a thing (hand flapping, bounce-hop-walking, pacing, turning circles, scripted and repetitive speech, habits, aversions, phobias, etc, etc, and etc).

I knew a meltdown was coming. Amid the joy and celebration of Z overcoming so many learning difficulties and becoming a Bar Mitzvah, small and translucent but steady storm clouds were building. He controlled himself so well and kept himself composed and polite through the ceremony and party, through the further celebrations in the days following, through his actual birthday, and through a weekend of changes and new things; yet the autism characteristics were increasing—especially the scripted speech. Z got a great new Lego set, one of the really big Star Wars sets, and set out to start building late Saturday night and continued as soon as possible on Sunday, completing it in record time by this morning (Monday). While we (and many of you lol) know that he builds the most amazing Lego creations straight from his mind, for this set he stayed with the directions the entire time; this was probably only the 4th or 5th set he has put together with the directions and by himself, and this was definitely the largest by far. As early afternoon approached, so did the meltdown. One part of the ship kept falling off and would not stay put. He kept bringing the Legos out into the living room then back into his room then back again out into dining room, then yelling—no, roaring at his sister when she reminded him “no Legos out here.” He went back into his room and was yelling, so I went in to see what was wrong and to remind him to change his shirt. He yelled and growled and screamed and I told him if he acted like that I could not help, to which he replied “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!!” Almost comical in that it was such a teenager thing to say, except it was far from a teenager reason. Also just a little comical was his comment “and, no, I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE A BREAK FROM IT,” as I guess he knew he needed to take a break from it and that he knew what I was going to suggest. I left and he headed back into the dining with his ship.

He was working so hard but that piece would not stay put. It was not making sense to him because if he followed the directions it should stay! Soon he was crying, and while he initially let me comfort him, the frustration and meltdown took over. He “roared” louder, yelled at all of us (it does not help that he is the baby, so the girls were stifling giggles because they can’t take him seriously when he’s angry….) I reminded him he was certainly allowed to be angry but reminded him at this level he needed to be in his room and on his bed so he could pound/hit/kick his pillows or mattress, and to leave the ship where it was. He grabbed it and ran to his room and attempted to lock his door—mom was quicker and I had my hand on the doorknob, insisting he give me the ship, and that if he didn’t give it to me other things would need to be taken away. Remaining calm was the only option. He finally gave in, gave me the ship, and stayed in his room until the timer rang. Later he completed the ship and all was again well in his world. These are the only times I will admit to feeling some sadness. When his disabilities crash head first into and through his abilities, I’m saddened for those moments of struggles he has faced and will face. 

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