Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tantrum vs. Meltdown

this picture has made the rounds online.  It always reminds me of my son and the early days.  I wonder how the little girl in this picture feels about her picture floating around there in cyberspace!
I've talked before about Limefreckle Jr's meltdowns.  He used to have them almost EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.  Back when he was 2, it was a lot easier to handle, because he was small, we could pick him up and remove him from situations.  It's not so easy anymore.

Of course, his meltdowns are not as severe as they used to be.  He used to get very aggressive, often towards other children. That is hard, when your child hits another, it's very hard to have to face that mother, and hope that she will understand. and not judge you, or your son.  Most people I've encountered have been wonderful, very understanding.  Occasionally I've run into mothers that aren't so wonderful, but that's life, you're going to encounter those women no matter what.  You learn to navigate, and find people who understand.

Limefreckle Jr. also can become very aggressive towards me.  For awhile it was constant, so much so that when I spoke to his doctor about it, we discovered it was probably his ADHD medication that was causing it.  So we took him off of everything, and he got MARKEDLY better.  It was such a relief.

But he still has episodes where he gets upset.  Not towards other children anymore, thank goodness, but towards me.  I've met many moms of kids on the spectrum that tell me their son does the same thing.  I guess it's their comfort zone, I'm not sure.  Part of me is relieved to know that he understands that he can't do that to just anyone.  Now I'm just waiting for the day the he realizes he can't do it to me anymore either.

One thing that helps me is to remember that there is a difference between a toddler tantrum and an Autistic meltdown.  One of the hardest parts of his public meltdowns was always the judgement and observations from strangers.  Why do we as Moms worry so much about what other Mom's think?  Furthermore, why do moms not support each other more, instead of judging?  IT TAKES A VILLAGE PEOPLE....

I found this chart courtesy of Autism Daddy, and I think it really sums things up.  It does a good job of outlining the differences between a tantrum and a meltdown, especially the part about "audience to perform".  Personally I think that is one of the biggest ways to tell the difference.  We are so conditioned to assume that a child misbehaving is doing it for our attention -- but sometimes they have no control over what they are doing.

 I wish I had read this when Limefreckle Jr. was younger, it really puts it into perspective for me.  I've had so many instances in my life when my son was misbehaving, where I was made to feel that he was a bad child, I was a bad mother, and really, we are all (Limefreckle Jr. included) just DOING OUR BEST!  It's hard to raise a child, let alone one with special needs, so if you are in the throws of the "difficult" behaviours, please remember that you are not alone, many have been there before you.  Work on helping your child cope with those stressors that are causing him trouble and try not to worry about the judgements (perceived or otherwise) sent your way by other people.  Have confidence that you are doing the best that you can.

If you haven't entered already,  I'm hosting a giveaway this week, a book by Big Mama, Melanie Shankle, one of my favourite bloggers, called "Sparkly Green Earrings".  And of course, being a jewelry designer, I couldn't pass up the chance to make a pair of "sparkly green earrings" to do with it!  You can enter the contest here, it closes Thursday March 7th, at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And today I'm linking up with these blog hops.  Go visit everyone!


Lisette said...

One of my old coworkers' little daughter has autism. I see on Facebook that she struggles with her daughter even to just walk out the door. Keep your chin up! Thanks for the book giveaway, and thanks for linking up!

Catalyn H said...

My cousin's daughter has Autism and I know from her what you are talking about. She has a blog - www.mymanyconfessions.com - I definitely think you two should get in touch!

thanks for linking up!

Mum2twopreciousgifts said...

I came to your blog from Love that Max. I LOVE this post. It sums up my daughter's autism meltdowns perfectly. Thank you!!

Joanne said...

My son, who is now almost eight, had meltdowns every day for more than two years and I thought I'd lose my mind. The only thing that helped was for us to completely ignore them, to communicate to him that that wasn't how to get attention. Then the second that he'd stop, we'd shower him with attention and praise. Now that I say it, who knows if it was that or if it was just time, but I'd say it helped, I guess. Anyway, you have my empathy, it's a horrible thing. It got better for us, and I hope it does for you too! For all of us!