Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ever have one of these days?




I felt like this guy today......as many of you know, I have an almost 7 year old son that has autism. He's pretty mild, and I THOUGHT our meltdown days were behind us....but today he had one, at the local pool -- he wanted to go to the Snoezelen room at the recreation centre (it's a room designed to relax the senses) -- we've been several times before, not in a few years, and he's swam at this particular pool many times without insisting on visiting the snoezelen room....but today, he was having a hard time understanding that we couldn't just go into the room and use it -- (you need to book the room, a "facilitator" accompanies you in, etc.) His meltdown wasn't too bad, as meltdowns go, not nearly as crazy as the little guy in this video, but there was some yelling involved, some pulling of hair (him pulling mine) some crying (both of us) --- it was NOT FUN!!! What occured to me, as I sat on the floor of the rec centre desperately trying to convince my son that we needed to get going, and that we could come back to use the room another time, was that the meltdowns aren't really that hard to deal with on your own....it's the reactions of everyone around you when they are happening that make them so hard. Take a look at the faces of the other shoppers in this video....I know them well! And don't get me wrong, it's natural for people to be startled when they see a child melting down......it's just human nature to turn your head and watch ---- I suppose it's just something that I will have to learn to live with. One time I remember when my son was young, he had a MASSIVE meltdown as we were leaving a store....I was wrestling with him, the cart, my packages....a kind, older gentleman was trying to cajole him into good humour (he was I think about 2 or 3 then, couldn't yet talk, and I'm not really sure how much he understood). When we got out to the parking lot, I had to abandon my packages at the door to the store, and head to the car with my kicking and screaming son. The older man came along, and did he offer to carry my packages? No ---- he came up to my son and said "stop crying, or I will take you away from your Mommy, and you will never see her again!".......I don't know why, but that struck me as absolutely HILARIOUS!!! Here I was, mid meltdown, and this guy thought that threatening to kidnap my son and never return him was going to help this situation!!!!! It was just what I needed at the moment to lift my mood, get my son into the car, and get us home......I will never forget that! Many people thought it was shameful of him to say that....but I guess I just sensed that he was truly trying to help...no matter how misguided.....like I said, perhaps carrying my parcels would have been a great option.....but hey, he at least made me laugh in the midst of it all.....

So I do always try to find the humour in the situation.....I try to be patient, to help my son work through his frustration and his anger -- but it's hard!!! Today, just as I was thinking that our new home was going to be this recreation centre, because my boy was NOT budging until that door opened......one of the front desk employees came over to tell us that a "facilitator" had been found, and we could go into the room! Oh joy of joys!!!!!!! I wrestled for a moment with the fact that I would be rewarding the bad behaviour....but I figured that, as the snoezelen room was designed to help people with sensory and other related issues, we should probably use it to help whatever was bothering him today.......so in we went, for some much needed relaxation for him AND for me!!

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