Monday, March 26, 2007

Meltdowns

When Zoe has a rough time, she is prone to having meltdowns. They don't happen as often as they used to--the gluten free/casein free diet has a lot to do with her success--but they are still tough to handle sometimes. When Zoe was a toddler her meltdowns would be comprised of hours of uncontrollable crying and screaming, and a heightened sense of urgency about the fact that everything needed to be just so. Now that she is older and more verbal, the crying and screaming have been greatly reduced; but oh man, she gets very rigid about things when she's having a meltdown.

The past two days have been a challenge. I think part of it is because Zoe's been off her typical schedule due to spring break. She's obsessing (rather loudly) over things that typically wouldn't get much attention from her; she's chewing on her clothing again; and she's doing a lot of "stimming."

Stimming, for those who have not been introduced to the term, is a common behavior of autistics. It's a self-stimulation behavior, and different kids have different stims. For many, it included things like hand-flapping and rocking in place. Zoe's stim includes rocking back and forth while squeezing her left hand and wrist with her right hand. If left unchecked, Zoe can do this for HOURS.

Truth be told, if her stim wasn't harmful to her body I wouldn't mind it so much. Parents of other autistic kids I've spoken to all say that their kids find comfort in it, since it helps them deal with their sensory integration issues. However, Zoe has caused damage to her left wrist and hand due to the stimming--even with us stopping to remind her to stop when we see the behavior. Ayden even tells Zoe to stop stimming if he sees her doing it.

These behaviors appear periodically, and the worst of it never lasts for long. That's something that I always keep in mind while we're going through it; that certainly helps me keep my cool (somewhat). Zoe is a child that's going through a transitional period, so I'm trying my best to remain calm and keep a positive outlook. Her classroom situation is gradually changing; and hey, she's growing up. Moving from childhood to early adolescence is tough on many kids. It's different for her because she has other social issues to work on, so it's tough for her to process these changes sometimes. Sometimes it's hard for parents too.

4 comments:

Annie said...

Hope today is better :)

Take Care.

Flamenco Mom said...

Thank you. Zoe is doing much better today, due in large part to the fact that she's back on her normal schedule.

Lynn Barry said...

Changes throw everyone off and I can only imagine how it throws off someone who needs to stick to routine just to feel okay. My heart goes out to Zoe (and you all) as she finds her way. And what a perfect family to be part of...THE FLAMENCO's ARE AWESOME! Especially her caring, wonderfully fabulous MAMA...HUGS

Flamenco Mom said...

Thanks Lynn for your kindness. Thankfully Zoe is doing better, so is her mama. You're awesome too, friend. HUGS