Ms. A writes:
My 12 yr old autistic daughter has had a rough year. This summer she broke her foot at the pool. After starting school on crutches, she was hit by a door when another student pushed it open. This caused a concussion. She has really struggled with controlling meltdowns and other stress reactions. She is starting to feel better, and is attending a full day of school again. But has started damaging things at home after a meltdown. She has never done this before. She is usually a sweet and very helpful girl. I was hoping you might understand what she is feeling and offer some insight.
Hi Ms. A,
People like me may have severe reactions to trauma. In my life I have many fears related to past experiences. When I was little I once had a cold shower. I was so traumatized by the feeling of the cold water raining like hail on my body that I have not taken a shower since. I am still fearful someone might accidentally turn on the shower while I am in the tub. People need to know that autistics have intense memories of lots of things. Your daughter had 2 traumatic experiences in a short amount of time. I think your daughter is having her fears take control over her. She has had some big accidents happen to her body. This would cause me tremendous anxiety. I am paralyzed by fear when I remember something awful. People need to know mean sensations can come while thinking about a past bad experience. Mean sensations are like mighty attacks of war on my stomach or head. I sometimes feel like I might die. It is the worst feeling. Peace comes when I am left alone to rest until the feeling passes. Make your daughter understand she is loved and that you are not mad at her.
I can eventually lessen the effects of trauma. For example, when I was 9 I went to bike camp for the first time. I was doing well, but on the last day I fell. I did not want to go on a bike for years. But mom signed me up for bike camp again when I was 12. This time I could communicate. Being able to communicate has helped me not be as anxious to trace a trauma to my memory. I can peacefully process my feelings. With people knowing I am smart and capable, I can trust them to help me do something that makes me nervous. Now I love to ride my bike.
I wish you and your daughter the best.