Sunday, June 29, 2014

Helpful Guide to Understanding Meltdowns

One of the most common questions that I am asked is about meltdowns. It is understandably one of the biggest issues a person on the spectrum can face, and it can really make loved ones feel helpless. I always feel a little bit hesitant on giving much general advice. I find that there are about as many different types of meltdowns, as well as ways to help as there are autistic people. What works for one may not work for another, and vice versa. So, I thought that I could offer some general tips and ideas based off of what I have seen in my life. Some of these won't apply to you, or the autistic people you might know, but hopefully a few will be able to at least provide a little insight.

So, what is a meltdown?

This questions jumps right to the center of what this entry is about. It's also one that is really hard to answer. I don't know how to describe something that has no physical form. It's almost like trying describe what an emotion is. I just can't quite find the right words to convey the depth of a meltdown, and it's many, many facets.

I think a common misconception is that there is only one kind of meltdown. This is what makes it seem so elusive to onlookers who want desperately to problem solve when their autistic child/loved one is in the throes of what they think is a meltdown. What worked last time might not work this time, and a trigger that seemed to be mild last Thursday might be too much today. There's different types of meltdowns, as well as different combinations of things that tend to set one off at different times, and believe it or not is even unpredictable to many of us adults who are very self aware.

I can list a few different general types, and triggers so that you might be able to gather some info from here to possibly compare to your own situation. One thing that I heard once from a behavior specialist is that a meltdown is like a seizure in that you cannot stop one once it's started. You can make one worse, and you can prolong it's effects, but once the brain has reached that tipping point it is over. You can't unspill the overload, which is is to me what a meltdown is. It is an acute reaction to too much happening all at once, in which the brain has no way to cope, or contain. The excess must go somewhere. From what I can gather there are three main categories of meltdowns. Sensory, Executive functioning mishaps, and Emotional.

The different types of meltdowns:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wife and Mother of Two Unable to Express Affection on Social Media [Satire]

*********This blog entry is satire, and intended for entertainment purposes only.
 I know this is not my usual writing style, but it is truly how I think. I really enjoy satire comedy, and would like to incorporate some of this natural thinking style into my blog writing. I hope you enjoy it, but if not that's okay, too. All that I ask is for you to NOT leave comments if you are not fully understanding what satire means. Thank you.************
 

-Local mother, Jane Smith scrolls past a cheerful graphic on her Facebook wall that says "Share if you love your daughter" leaving room for doubt in her family that she does indeed love her 10 year old daughter Sarah.

"She always scrolls right past them, and never shares." says Sarah tearfully.

Jane admits that what Sarah says is true. She maintains that she doesn't share graphics about having the 'best son ever', either. "It's just that I find that amount of sharing to be nonsensical" she explains.

Jane's husband, Bob also finds himself wallowing in doubt about his wife's true feelings for him. "While other wives share their affections openly via social media about their husbands Jane is always suspiciously quiet about her personal life when posting on social media sites."

"Bob is not incorrect." says relationship guru Dr. Fruad. "We often see many women posting via their mobile devices how much they love their husband to Twitter, and Facebook right from the couch where they both are sitting. If a man wants to know how his wife feels about him he can usually tell by checking her timeline." he explains.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sensory Solutions Part 3- Auditory

In the first two sensory solutions posts I discussed the different types of sensory input and began to break down the different ones by category starting with visual senses first.

In this post I would like to discuss the sense of auditory as it relates to someone with sensory processing issues.

I feel like this topic is one of a very wide terrain. It will be a difficult task to cover every auditory type of issue one might be prone to with sensory processing issues, and autism. I will try to touch on all of the ones that I know about, and have heard of in this post.

From what I have seen auditory issues are the most frequent of all sensory issues to affect people on the spectrum in a way that really alters our life. I have found this to apply to those diagnosed with Asperger's to those with profound autism. We all tend to be able to relate to each other in the way of auditory stimuli wreaks havoc on our lives at times.

As with all sensory issues those auditory in nature can be hypo and hyper sensitive.  With auditory issues I find that there is certain things that bother each person that would make them hyper, and hypo sensitive, as well as have what is known as Auditory Processing Disorder- which I will cover in greater detail later in this article.

Hypersensitivity to noise

What are some the things that can cause someone with auditory processing issues to be sensitive to noise?

* Children yelling/babies crying.
* Dogs barking.
* Horns and sirens
* Motors
* White noise- such as fans blowing, water running
* Chewing noises
* Breathing/snoring noises
* Any repetitive banging, ticking, or clicking
* Lots of people talking at once
* High pitched noises- some of which others seem to not even notice
* Toilets flushing
* Phones ringing
* Other people's music
* Voices in general can cause overload 
* Any noise that is unexpected 
* Any noise that is above the level of a quiet conversation has the potential to be too much for someone with an auditory processing issue.

What are some of the things that can cause hypo sensitivity to noise?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Altruistic and Autistic- Coexisting and breaking stereotypes

I know there is a TON of stuff out there about how us autistics really do have empathy, and all that. I don't have a long windy argument to support that argument.

Instead, what I have is the photo below.

The worksheet that is pictured there is one that I filled out when I was in 4th grade. As I have mentioned before, I have a formal diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, yet even as a young 10 year old child I held very strong values, and ethics about helping my neighbor.

I set the value of wanting to help others above fame, admiration, and power. This was not the outcome of sophisticated behavior, or social skills training. These things did not exist for me people like me back then. I wanted to help others, because that is who I am, and what I am naturally driven to do. I didn't need to be coached to have a strong need to treat others with kindness. I recognized their humanity as important, and I wanted to lift the well being of everyone up. Sometimes, my way of going about this may have needed tweaking, and others I might have missed the mark, but empathy was always there. I have always cared, and extended efforts to help others anytime I had the opportunity.

What examples do you have the support autism and altruism coexisting within the same person at the same time naturally?

Also, as a side talking point..... Do you think that we should have more worksheets like this one in school nowadays?  It's been about 25 yrs since this was filled out by my class. I wonder if these types of activities get kids thinking about values, and behaviors further supporting thinking about how they treat others. I haven't ever seen my kids bring home worksheets that support this type of thinking exercises.


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