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Earthymama

ASD daughter having melt downs out of the blue

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Earthymama

So, my daughter is 10 and has been diagnosed for about 3 years. She is being home-schooled at the moment, because she found it hard in her school - too many kids, bullying, no friends,...through home-schooling she has made some friends that she really loves, so she gets to socialise pretty regularly. She goes horse-riding and music school and is into anything to do with nature and animals. When she is interested in something she's like a sponge, but it's hard to get her to do stuff she's not into.

Anyway, at the moment our main problem is that she'll have melt downs for seemingly no reason. Like this morning, when I put out her clothes, I gave her a shirt that she wore yesterday. All of a sudden she starts whinging and being really pissed off with me and her dad. As she won't say what the problem is, we can't really help and her whinging gets everybody riled up and into a bad mood, so it ends in a shouting match between her and my husband.

In the end, it turned out that she didn't want that shirt, because the neck got stretched yesterday when her friend pulled on it and it keeps slipping down her shoulders. So, instead of actually SAYING this, she kicks off and goes into full melt down mode.

Situations like that happen daily in our house and we are really clueless on how to deal with it. How do I get her to talk about her problems, so it doesn't always get so out of control. Any insights would be very helpful!

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Eli

I wish I could see a video of exactly what happened. Subtle things are involved, more than likely. What exactly got the answer out? You said she did eventually reveal what the problem was. What lead up to it? Without loads more information, I doubt anyone could tell you exactly what's going on. Sometimes people see those with AS as being sort of all lumped together in their behaviors and what sets them off, but we all differ widely, just like everyone else. I remember being extremely sensitive as a child, and the tiniest things my family might say or do would make me feel condescended to, and I would become enraged. With a child diagnosed, knowing she is diagnosed, I would also say be careful that she does not begin to use her AS as an excuse. It's a developmental disorder, which means she is capable of adapting, it's just not as easy.

I do remember that when I would have a meltdown, there was no reasoning with me, punishing me or comforting me. The only thing that helped was to leave me alone completely. In fact, the more I was probed, even if it was intended to be comforting, the worse I felt. This is actually still the case, to tell the truth, I've just grown up and have learned to control myself a bit better.

As an Aspie, to me it sounds like a dream to be your child. I knew something was different about me, that life seemed harder for me than other kids, but when I tried to talk to my parents about it, it was entirely poo-pooed. I was alone. Plus, had I been home schooled, I am quite certain there would have been far fewer opportunities for social trauma that made my condition much worse. So, there's the compliment.

Having said that, of course if her negativity feeds into you or her father, a mole hill becomes a mountain. This is also where social traumas are born. It can be very difficult to express "what's wrong". Sometimes I don't even know at the time I'm asked, especially if my mind is clouded by negative thoughts. Whenever possible, if you're sensing she's headed toward a meltdown, you might just give her some time alone, but not as a punishment. Just, " Hey, I can see you're having some bad feelings, do you want to just be alone for a minute?" That way, she can take a moment to calm down without feeling observed or judged, and also gives her time to maybe assess what is wrong, how to collect that knowledge into something tangible, and then translate that into words, and then verbally pass it to another person in a way that makes sense. The process is more arduous for people on the spectrum. It's rarely that we want to cause problems, it's just so damn hard to learn how to communicate effectively sometimes, especially when emotions are involved, and when you feel like a specimen in a jar while you do it, it makes it nearly impossible. So a parent of someone on the spectrum either must learn Zen master-like patience, or become another person who demands too much and gives too little, like the rest of the world. It's not easy. But it sounds like you're putting in far more effort then a lot of parents to kids on the spectrum, so kudos to you for even getting on this site and asking.

One last thing to note, she's also ten. I was not exactly at my best at ten, and I had less offered to me than you're daughter, and I still managed to adapt, albeit slowly and painfully. She'd probably get better even if you were a bad parent, because eventually she'd have things she'd want out of people and realize she has to adapt or not get those things.

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Little Guy

Wow @Eli beautifully put!!
@Earthymama - everything @Eli said.
In addition, light, sound, air can all affect people on the spectrum but often very differently. I hate bright light to the point of distraction. Others hate dim light. Sound. Sometimes I enjoy the radio when nothing else is going on but while others like it as background, I can stand it because I have trouble switching back and forth and so just get angry. Likewise, one on one is the only way I can communicate effectively. With even two or more people, I can get confused at best; at worst, I will withdraw and become surly and paranoid.
And don't forget clothing texture and color can greatly affect some on the spectrum but in different ways.
Beyond that, sometimes I just feel uptight and overwhelmed for no apparent reason but as @Eli given space, I can calm right down.:)

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