Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ring Ring, Meltdown Crisis Hotline

I was a little alarmed by the phone call I received from Javi's teacher this afternoon.  Apparently, Javi had had one of his 4 alarm fire meltdown's at school today.  We are not totally clear on what caused the meltdown, but it has made us evaluate whether or not Javi was ready for such a huge transition to non-severely handicapped (NSH).  While we are not quite ready to throw in the towel and pull him out of the program, we are going to try to figure out if he is just anxious about the change, or whether he needs more support than they can offer him.

I spoke pretty candidly with the teacher when she called.  She said she felt she could handle his behaviors, but felt that if meltdowns like the one he had today were a regular occurrence, we needed to evaluate whether or not this is the right fit for him.  

I am hoping that this was just a one time incident, since this was a huge change for Javi.  I think it would be a huge change for anyone to be at a new school, new friends, new teacher, new way of doing everything.  I guess we had to expect a little backlash.  

It's hard not to be the rescuer in this situation.  My first instinct was to go and pick him up, take him away from all of it and protect him.  The teacher had said that he calmed down and he was starting to eat his lunch.  She said it would probably be a good idea for him to stay, since he may think that any time he had a big enough meltdown, that he could be rescued.  I agreed with her.  She did a good job working through it, since he manage to clam down.  She said that she would call if he just couldn't handle it and needed to be picked up.  While I don't think that the meltdown had anything to do with him trying to escape anything or because he wanted to see how much he could get away with.  I think he just had reached his limit with the stress of all the changes and this was his way of expressing it.

He did manage to finish out the day and take the bus home.  We talked about what had happened when he got home and how to work through things and tell people when he needs a break when he is feeling frustrated.

I hope he has a better day tomorrow.

For more information on autistic meltdowns, visit this link...I think it's important for people to be aware and understand this is not a behavior that happens as a result of poor parenting or undisciplined children.  They can happen for many reasons.  Change, overstimulation, disappointment, frustration, extreme emotions of any kind can cause a meltdown.


~Mama Skates~ said...

i hope he has a better day tomorrow too! thx for this post & the link to that very informative thread! it's hard for most to understand that there's a difference between the meltdowns our son's have & a 2 yr old's temper tantrum....they might look the same to most - but i'd much rather deal with a tantrum! :0)

Shanna Grimes said...

Me too! Javi's are pretty scary, which is why she called. I have been thinking about ordering some of those arm cuffs so he can't self mutilate when he has a tantrum. I also think they may be useful in providing some kind of sensory input. Getting them on when he has a meltdown is the problem. I doubt he will let me put cuffs on when he's in that state. He'll bang his head, scratch himself, draw blood, the classic scary self injurious freak out. I feel so bad when he gets to that point. We try to do a lot of deep breathing. He also has a hug vest at school. At home he has a weighted blanket, weights and we do "Javi burrito". We were thinking of installing a therapy swing when we finally get in to our new house too, since all the kids could use it. It can be used for vestibular and proprioceptive stimulation, so it's a win win. My neighbor made their therapy swing, so I was going to ask her hubby to help us when we get ours.

Shanna Grimes said...

I really need to sit down and update Javi's website with all the therapy tools and things that we use. A lot of stuff can be made at home. My friend Carrie is making a new weighted blanket for Javi. She had a really cool technique for making it that provided really even pressure.

~Mama Skates~ said...

i've so wanted one of those therapy swings - r u talking about the body sock?