Monday, January 11, 2016


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.



  1. Philip, your words continue to teach me so much. I am very grateful and am taking what I learn to use with my students. I also can share your words with parents and teachers. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

  2. Hi Philip, thank you for sharing your insight! After I read your post with KK, I asked her if she had similar experience. She told me she was once hit by a ball at the beach and since then she was scared of the beach. I did suspect that to be the reason of her refusing to go near the beach. But on the other hand, it just didn't make sense. Thank you for sharing! It has definitely help us parents understand our kids more! May God continue to use you to bless many!

  3. Hi Philip, your life experiences always touch my heart and teach me life lessons. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences.