We had one of those days.... eye opener for dp. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 06-05-2008, 01:57 AM - Thread Starter
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DP is not ds's bio-dad. DP has known about the autism diagnosis for a long time. DS and I have been living with DP for almost a year now and he's never seen a *major* meltdown (he's seen smaller ones and a few medium ones, but none of the mega ones).

Well, tonight was the night. DS had been having an off day all day so after I got out of work we took him to the pool for a little bit. He had fun and was in a good mood so we went to the grocery store. It didn't take him long (less than 2 minutes) for that good mood to turn totally upside down.

I won't go into all the details (since I'm sure a lot of you have BTDT!), but I'll say the shopping trip ended with a lot of screaming, a lot of dirty looks from other people, some not so friendly comments, ds falling asleep partway through and then waking up and resuming the screaming, ds having to be restrained more than once and, at the very end, a friendly woman stopping to say we were doing a good job and she knows it's hard (turns out she has a dd who is on the spectrum who is now 18 and she just knew ds was too).

I'll admit we had some not so fine moments. This was the first time dp had seen ds like this and it shocked him and definately frustrated him. In his not so fine moment he suggested spanking ds. Of course, I refused (dp now realizes it was a stupid thing to suggest) but that led to me speaking in a not so quiet voice so the people around me could hear (at the time I was getting a lot of dirty looks) that spanking an autistic child won't help. The eyes diverted rather quickly A few minutes later an older man asked "what's wrong with him?". Ohhhh... I could have decked him. I could only manage to get out "it's late and he's a bit tired" as I walked away.

All this to say.... how do you keep your cool and remain partners with your dp during moments like these? DP *finally* understands what I'm talking about with ds sometimes (thankfully these episodes don't happen too much anymore, as I can mostly avoid them, but they do happen).

Also.... as ds is getting older and stronger I'm afraid for our safety sometimes. Any tips on dealing with it? He's a very sweet boy, but during these episodes he can be pretty violent. Is there a certain kind of therapist/doctor that can help me out here?

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#2 of 9 Old 06-05-2008, 02:09 AM
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Depends. Was he hungry? My ds gets violent when he is hungry, hot, or tired.
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#3 of 9 Old 06-05-2008, 02:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Maybe hungry, but not starving as he had a snack. Not hot, we had just left the pool. He was tired, but that's the strange thing. He almost never naps during the day unless he's getting sick. In the middle of his screaming I had put him in the cart and just gave him big bear hugs while pushing it. He fell asleep for about 10ish minutes. When he woke up he looked into the cart and saw the loaf of bread (one of the things that set him off before sleeping) and the screaming started again (it was the wrong kind of bread. Or, rather, it was a "broken" loaf of bread because HE broke it and we insisted that he couldn't break all the loaves and then get the loaf that wasn't broken).

We are wondering if he's getting sick. He's been really restless all night since he fell asleep.

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#4 of 9 Old 06-05-2008, 02:47 AM
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HUGS- so sorry you had such a rough day. I really don't have advice- jsut support!

Married to Michael and Mother of Jake 14, Jillianne 11, Jensen 9, Jacen 8 & my dog Kota 3
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#5 of 9 Old 06-05-2008, 02:57 AM
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OMG i will never ever ever forget the first time DH saw DS have a meltdown. i was surprised he called me back at all and we'd been dating for a month then. sorry you had such a rough day. i know what it's like. it can be kinda scary when you see that your partner who is not your child's bio parent has finally grasped the hugeness of the situation. normally i'm all about enumerating the positive sides of autism but a full on meltdown is just so damn draining. i have sympathy for the kids and what's bothering them but it really is more than mildly unpleasant for us too.
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#6 of 9 Old 06-07-2008, 12:37 AM
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This is kind of an every day thing with Brandon--I'm actually surprised this is the *first* major meltdown Owen's had in over a year--Brandon has these on a daily or weekly basis (by the way, if a banana breaks when you peel it, it is then a dirty rotten horrible toxic banana that should never come within 20000 feet of Brandon...if it does, major meltdown will ensue. : )

What would help is if you were finally able to get him into a place that could help you--nobody should really be doing restraints unless they are properly trained to (I was trained as part of my job, and we learned how many children actually die from restraints that were not done properly--the good news is a mother will usually be able to exert less pressure than what's needed, and many of the deaths come from teachers/care providers that put too much physical pressure on the child--especially in basket holds and face down prone holds).

Getting him into weekly appointments with a child psychologist/autism expert (Brandon's is a psychologist who created and executes social skills therapy on an individual and group basis, plus a behavior intervention specialist for an assistant). That way, any problem behaviors can be discussed on a weekly basis, and a plan to nip dangerous ones can be developed. I am a behavior specialist and can create behavior plans, but I won't do them on my own child because I find I'm not nearly as objective with him (but if you need some help, email me some of the behaviors Steph and I'll do some functional analyses and come up with a couple things for you to try. )

I don't know what the weather was like down there, but today it was over 90 plus extremely humid. We couldn't even take the kids into the pool because the last time we tried in this humidity, Brandon started vomiting an hour after we got to the store following the pool. Their little bodies handle weather differently--he might have just felt very badly. And honestly, as much as it sucks, since there were two of you there at the time, it might have been best for one person to take him home while the other person shopped--it seems like he might have been awfully tired (an almost 5 year old falling asleep in the shopping cart is not that common. : ), and the combination of being tired, the weather, the stimulation of the grocery store, and his little quirks might have been too much...

That said, I would definitely recommend setting him up with regular appointments with a psychologist that specializes in autism, as well as with a behavior specialist. They'll be able to see certain things that sometimes even parents miss (it's amazing what the psychologist has noticed about Brandon that I just took for granted as "normal behavior" when they were actually signs that something major was going to happen).

Hang in there hon...I'm right there with you. Brandon's in the middle of a week long regression right now, and it sucks. He's started abusing animals, so we're right smack in the middle of "how the $#^@ do you deal with this!" right along with you...

~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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#7 of 9 Old 06-07-2008, 12:45 AM
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The pool is awesome, but it's a totally overstimulating environment. It's a sensory hotspot, so even if he has a great time, he's happy and looking good, odds are you shouldn't push it. Mark has a blast at the pool every time, and a major disastrous meltdown about 10 minutes after we leave. Every. Single. Time. The grocery store was probably just that one thing that put him over the sensory edge.
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#8 of 9 Old 06-07-2008, 01:00 AM
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Wow, you did better than I do in that type of situation. I become very flustered when that happens.

Some of our biggest arguments are usually over DD, and for almost the first two years of her life, we could not go ANYWHERE without a huge meltdown, crying, screaming and all of it. It was so stressful. Groceries, restaurants everything was horrid. We would fight over who would be the one to take her outside. so the other one could eat!

I never thought we could have a normal time with the regular population. EVER. For whatever reason, DD has mellowed out, but what ended up working for us was "Plan B", we talked about what we would do when (it was/is never if because it was always) DD started freaking out, and he would do the first hour and I would do the next so we would each have a break.

As far as strangers are concerned, really does it matter? I become exasperated by the rules our society puts on all children, SN or not. they are so new, learning every day...let them just be children.

If you were at home and the same situation occurred would the response be the same or are you just worried about what people in public are thinking? I know I was/am like that.

Big hugs to you, I think you did the best you could do!!!! As for DP and spanking, it seems like it was just a reaction to the situation.
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#9 of 9 Old 06-07-2008, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post
, at the very end, a friendly woman stopping to say we were doing a good job and she knows it's hard (turns out she has a dd who is on the spectrum who is now 18 and she just knew ds was too).
That was nice!

Tis the season, for hot apple cider!
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