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Autism - Support Across the Spectrum Autism - Support Across the Spectrum

Empathy and Meltdowns.

Posted by on Oct. 23, 2013 at 11:18 AM
  • 18 Replies

So when it comes to my son he is, I swear, selective about who and what he shows empathy toward. If it has to do with his baby sister it will really upset him, expecialy if it is his fault. He is empathetic towards people that things on tv or in movies. However when it comes to DH or myself he thinks it is funny. It has gotten so bad that last night I caught a heel right on my toes! I screamd because he stomped on my foot. He laughed and tried to run off. I grabed him and touched his foot with mine. I didn't put any weight on it just touched my toes to his and then there was a complete meltdown. He was taken to his room and layed on the bed. He then started to bring toys in the living room and started throwing toys. I had to put him in his room and close the door. 

Does your little one do anything simular or did I just jump in the rollercoaster?

by on Oct. 23, 2013 at 11:18 AM
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Replies (1-10):
kajira
by Emma on Oct. 23, 2013 at 11:46 AM

I know as hard as it is, but when he's trying to engage you in a negative way like that... ignore him.

My son would do attention seeking behaviors like that... I usually would say "I don't talk to mean children." or some other line to indicate how his behavior made me feel... then walk off.

I do it with my toddler now too... if she's mad and about to lash out... I remind her to use her words, that I can't give her what she wants if I don't know what she wants.... And, her dad and I won't engage if she's being onery.

I know it's hard, especially when their development isn't normal for their age. I'll give you a great example to put it into perspective for you, I was doing a check list for 3-4 year olds... I wanted to see how close my 2 year old was to making those mile stones. (she's made every milestone for every 2-3 year old check list and will be 3 dec 5th. I just wanted to see how many of the older ones she met....)

She met over half of them.... my son, who's almost 10 and my special needs child.... uhh he met less then half of the check list on milestones for teh 3-4 year olds.

Kind of puts that mentality into perspective when you think about how mature they actually are and their brain reacts to processing information and impulsivity.

And when my son was little, I used to put up with a lot more.... Actually, as mean as this sounds, he bit me once, and I reached over it was just instinctual and I bit him back. He looked at me with this just total look of shock... he was stunned.... but you know what? He never, ever bit me again. I did happen to pair words with that action... told him biting hurts... this is why I normally don't bite you, it's mean and it hurts... so please don't bite me again. (that's not word for word, this was like 6-7 years ago. LOL)

With my NT kiddo, I've never had to do something that drastic to be honest... I just look at her and go, if you bite me, it hurts... then she kisses me better and will pretend to bite softly. She can actually process those kind of things and adjust her behavior and how hard she plays to make sure she doesn't hurt the other person on purpose.

My son still can't entirely do that - or if he can... chooses not too. I haven't quite decided which way it is most of the time... it's about 50/50 on if it's intentional or not. LOL

Basically... I can sympathize. It's mean what your son did. I think you reacted instinctually.... and he over-reacted to your reaction.... and if that's the kind of kid he is... you're gonna have to learn to show ZERO reaction when he acts that way... and seperate him from you and not let him come back to engage.

Even if it means repeatedly putting him in his room and holding the door shut until he calms down.

I've had to do that with my son when he was a toddler... (and we had holes in our wall in his rooms when he was younger.)

But, for his safety and out of control behavior, I wasn't going to let him run all over the house throwing things and hitting ora cting out of control like that.

emarin77
by Silver Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Yeah my son was like that, empathetic to some things but other times behaved horribly at age 3.  He was acting out his frustration. My husband and I disaplined him with time outs and we taught him to use his words to say "I'm angry."  I said we do not throw toys we use our words when angry.  My son is 5 now and does not do that any more.  

If you search what a meltdown means in Autism terms, a meltdown is when a child does not talk or give any communication to their parents.  They stay still and do not move.  They might fall to the floor and sit there.  Parents are not able to communicate or consol the child.  It is one of the most scariest things that a parent can witness.

kajira
by Emma on Oct. 23, 2013 at 11:54 AM
1 mom liked this

I agree with most of what you said... except I do think there's different kinds of meltdowns, and reasons for them.

I don't usually have meltdowns as an adult, but what you're describing, the lock up and non responsive variety, to me is a shut down, not a meltdown.

And I do those as an adult, and yes they are scary for outside people.... but your brain overstimulated to the point that it breaks temporarily... and you lock up.

A meltdown is a little more... uhhh active. LOL but it's been a long, long time, since I kicked the car tires with my soccer cleats. ^.^

Quoting emarin77:

Yeah my son was like that, empathetic to some things but other times behaved horribly at age 3.  He was acting out his frustration. My husband and I disaplined him with time outs and we taught him to use his words to say "I'm angry."  I said we do not throw toys we use our words when angry.  My son is 5 now and does not do that any more.  

If you search what a meltdown means in Autism terms, a meltdown is when a child does not talk or give any communication to their parents.  They stay still and do not move.  They might fall to the floor and sit there.  Parents are not able to communicate or consol the child.  It is one of the most scariest things that a parent can witness.


emarin77
by Silver Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:09 PM

 

Search what meltdown means for Autism online.  That is where I found the meaning.  When a child is acting out it is a temper tamptrum.

Quoting kajira:

I agree with most of what you said... except I do think there's different kinds of meltdowns, and reasons for them.

I don't usually have meltdowns as an adult, but what you're describing, the lock up and non responsive variety, to me is a shut down, not a meltdown.

And I do those as an adult, and yes they are scary for outside people.... but your brain overstimulated to the point that it breaks temporarily... and you lock up.

A meltdown is a little more... uhhh active. LOL but it's been a long, long time, since I kicked the car tires with my soccer cleats. ^.^

Quoting emarin77:

Yeah my son was like that, empathetic to some things but other times behaved horribly at age 3.  He was acting out his frustration. My husband and I disaplined him with time outs and we taught him to use his words to say "I'm angry."  I said we do not throw toys we use our words when angry.  My son is 5 now and does not do that any more.  

If you search what a meltdown means in Autism terms, a meltdown is when a child does not talk or give any communication to their parents.  They stay still and do not move.  They might fall to the floor and sit there.  Parents are not able to communicate or consol the child.  It is one of the most scariest things that a parent can witness.



 

puertoricangeek
by on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:15 PM

I know he knows the differance when it comes to his sister. He can softly touch her, play with her. No problem. But mostly with me, he is just so agresive at times. I mean down right mean to me sometimes. I joke that my DH is brainwashing him, I work he doesn't, but honestly I don't get it. Like when it comes to him and grinding his teeth. He did this when he got his front four teeth. I told him no and about  month later he stopped completely. Now that his sister is here he does it all of the time right in my ear. I makes my skin crawl. I put a finger on his lips and tell him that we do not grind our teeth. He will flip out. I know they are just baby teeth but I don't want him to do it when he gets older. I grind my teeth in my sleep and will wake my self up.

Quoting kajira:

I know as hard as it is, but when he's trying to engage you in a negative way like that... ignore him.

My son would do attention seeking behaviors like that... I usually would say "I don't talk to mean children." or some other line to indicate how his behavior made me feel... then walk off.

I do it with my toddler now too... if she's mad and about to lash out... I remind her to use her words, that I can't give her what she wants if I don't know what she wants.... And, her dad and I won't engage if she's being onery.

I know it's hard, especially when their development isn't normal for their age. I'll give you a great example to put it into perspective for you, I was doing a check list for 3-4 year olds... I wanted to see how close my 2 year old was to making those mile stones. (she's made every milestone for every 2-3 year old check list and will be 3 dec 5th. I just wanted to see how many of the older ones she met....)

She met over half of them.... my son, who's almost 10 and my special needs child.... uhh he met less then half of the check list on milestones for teh 3-4 year olds.

Kind of puts that mentality into perspective when you think about how mature they actually are and their brain reacts to processing information and impulsivity.

And when my son was little, I used to put up with a lot more.... Actually, as mean as this sounds, he bit me once, and I reached over it was just instinctual and I bit him back. He looked at me with this just total look of shock... he was stunned.... but you know what? He never, ever bit me again. I did happen to pair words with that action... told him biting hurts... this is why I normally don't bite you, it's mean and it hurts... so please don't bite me again. (that's not word for word, this was like 6-7 years ago. LOL)

With my NT kiddo, I've never had to do something that drastic to be honest... I just look at her and go, if you bite me, it hurts... then she kisses me better and will pretend to bite softly. She can actually process those kind of things and adjust her behavior and how hard she plays to make sure she doesn't hurt the other person on purpose.

My son still can't entirely do that - or if he can... chooses not too. I haven't quite decided which way it is most of the time... it's about 50/50 on if it's intentional or not. LOL

Basically... I can sympathize. It's mean what your son did. I think you reacted instinctually.... and he over-reacted to your reaction.... and if that's the kind of kid he is... you're gonna have to learn to show ZERO reaction when he acts that way... and seperate him from you and not let him come back to engage.

Even if it means repeatedly putting him in his room and holding the door shut until he calms down.

I've had to do that with my son when he was a toddler... (and we had holes in our wall in his rooms when he was younger.)

But, for his safety and out of control behavior, I wasn't going to let him run all over the house throwing things and hitting ora cting out of control like that.


kajira
by Emma on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM

An out of control child who can't stop himself isn't acting out, that's a meltdown... 

Acting out, is acting out, and yes, they can have control over it, but i've seen plenty of tantrums get started in my son, that ended up with him losing the ability to have any control of himself and turn INTO a meltdown too.

http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt182205.html

The above post is an aspie forum, and they define it the same way I do.

http://life-with-aspergers.blogspot.com/2008/12/shutdown-specific-type-of-meltdown.html

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110314125343AAQvWv0


If you google "The difference between an autistic meltdown and a shutdown" you'll get pretty much every link describing it just the way I did.

This is also how my ASD doctor defines them as well.

A shut down is a loss of ability to communicate, to function, because your brain shuts down... a meltdown is an active, out of control behavior. IT's not a tantrum.

It sometimes may start off as a tantrum, but once it escelates to the meltdown stage.. It's no longer a tantrum.

Quoting emarin77:


Search what meltdown means for Autism online.  That is where I found the meaning.  When a child is acting out it is a temper tamptrum.

Quoting kajira:

I agree with most of what you said... except I do think there's different kinds of meltdowns, and reasons for them.

I don't usually have meltdowns as an adult, but what you're describing, the lock up and non responsive variety, to me is a shut down, not a meltdown.

And I do those as an adult, and yes they are scary for outside people.... but your brain overstimulated to the point that it breaks temporarily... and you lock up.

A meltdown is a little more... uhhh active. LOL but it's been a long, long time, since I kicked the car tires with my soccer cleats. ^.^

Quoting emarin77:

Yeah my son was like that, empathetic to some things but other times behaved horribly at age 3.  He was acting out his frustration. My husband and I disaplined him with time outs and we taught him to use his words to say "I'm angry."  I said we do not throw toys we use our words when angry.  My son is 5 now and does not do that any more.  

If you search what a meltdown means in Autism terms, a meltdown is when a child does not talk or give any communication to their parents.  They stay still and do not move.  They might fall to the floor and sit there.  Parents are not able to communicate or consol the child.  It is one of the most scariest things that a parent can witness.





puertoricangeek
by on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM
I understand the "correct" term also by definition I have a "meltdown" once a week. I see it too as more of a shutdown. I have to be alone and find something repetitive. to my son it is as if his whole world is "melting" down around him. The worse part is he is non-verbal regardless.
Quoting emarin77:

 

Search what meltdown means for Autism online.  That is where I found the meaning.  When a child is acting out it is a temper tamptrum.

Quoting kajira:

I agree with most of what you said... except I do think there's different kinds of meltdowns, and reasons for them.

I don't usually have meltdowns as an adult, but what you're describing, the lock up and non responsive variety, to me is a shut down, not a meltdown.

And I do those as an adult, and yes they are scary for outside people.... but your brain overstimulated to the point that it breaks temporarily... and you lock up.

A meltdown is a little more... uhhh active. LOL but it's been a long, long time, since I kicked the car tires with my soccer cleats. ^.^

Quoting emarin77:

Yeah my son was like that, empathetic to some things but other times behaved horribly at age 3.  He was acting out his frustration. My husband and I disaplined him with time outs and we taught him to use his words to say "I'm angry."  I said we do not throw toys we use our words when angry.  My son is 5 now and does not do that any more.  

If you search what a meltdown means in Autism terms, a meltdown is when a child does not talk or give any communication to their parents.  They stay still and do not move.  They might fall to the floor and sit there.  Parents are not able to communicate or consol the child.  It is one of the most scariest things that a parent can witness.



 

emarin77
by Silver Member on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:34 PM

 

If non verbal then teach him to sign or IPad.  It is just going to get worse if he does not know how to communicate.

Quoting puertoricangeek:

I understand the "correct" term also by definition I have a "meltdown" once a week. I see it too as more of a shutdown. I have to be alone and find something repetitive. to my son it is as if his whole world is "melting" down around him. The worse part is he is non-verbal regardless.
Quoting emarin77:

 

Search what meltdown means for Autism online.  That is where I found the meaning.  When a child is acting out it is a temper tamptrum.

Quoting kajira:

I agree with most of what you said... except I do think there's different kinds of meltdowns, and reasons for them.

I don't usually have meltdowns as an adult, but what you're describing, the lock up and non responsive variety, to me is a shut down, not a meltdown.

And I do those as an adult, and yes they are scary for outside people.... but your brain overstimulated to the point that it breaks temporarily... and you lock up.

A meltdown is a little more... uhhh active. LOL but it's been a long, long time, since I kicked the car tires with my soccer cleats. ^.^

Quoting emarin77:

Yeah my son was like that, empathetic to some things but other times behaved horribly at age 3.  He was acting out his frustration. My husband and I disaplined him with time outs and we taught him to use his words to say "I'm angry."  I said we do not throw toys we use our words when angry.  My son is 5 now and does not do that any more.  

If you search what a meltdown means in Autism terms, a meltdown is when a child does not talk or give any communication to their parents.  They stay still and do not move.  They might fall to the floor and sit there.  Parents are not able to communicate or consol the child.  It is one of the most scariest things that a parent can witness.


 

 


 

kajira
by Emma on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:40 PM

I agree with Emarin on the communication devices.... you need to find some way to give him tools to communicate more effectively with you. That will definitely help in the long run.

Quoting puertoricangee
puertoricangeek
by on Oct. 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

I have tried. He will not sign. I have not thought about using a phone or tablet. Maybe just print out some sheets with different items. 

Quoting emarin77:


If non verbal then teach him to sign or IPad.  It is just going to get worse if he does not know how to communicate.

Quoting puertoricangeek:

I understand the "correct" term also by definition I have a "meltdown" once a week. I see it too as more of a shutdown. I have to be alone and find something repetitive. to my son it is as if his whole world is "melting" down around him. The worse part is he is non-verbal regardless.
Quoting emarin77:


Search what meltdown means for Autism online.  That is where I found the meaning.  When a child is acting out it is a temper tamptrum.

Quoting kajira:

I agree with most of what you said... except I do think there's different kinds of meltdowns, and reasons for them.

I don't usually have meltdowns as an adult, but what you're describing, the lock up and non responsive variety, to me is a shut down, not a meltdown.

And I do those as an adult, and yes they are scary for outside people.... but your brain overstimulated to the point that it breaks temporarily... and you lock up.

A meltdown is a little more... uhhh active. LOL but it's been a long, long time, since I kicked the car tires with my soccer cleats. ^.^

Quoting emarin77:

Yeah my son was like that, empathetic to some things but other times behaved horribly at age 3.  He was acting out his frustration. My husband and I disaplined him with time outs and we taught him to use his words to say "I'm angry."  I said we do not throw toys we use our words when angry.  My son is 5 now and does not do that any more.  

If you search what a meltdown means in Autism terms, a meltdown is when a child does not talk or give any communication to their parents.  They stay still and do not move.  They might fall to the floor and sit there.  Parents are not able to communicate or consol the child.  It is one of the most scariest things that a parent can witness.







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