Thursday, September 22, 2016

Meltdowns and Shutdowns at School

(Lisa's note:  Philip has come a looonng way since starting at public school 2 and half years ago.  At his school's open house, all his teachers had great things to say about how he is doing.  Philip's home base is the autism classroom.  The teacher is trying to help all his students come up with a calming ritual for when they do have trouble keeping it together in school.  He asked Philip if he had any insights into this matter.)

I would like to explain meltdowns in the classroom. Meltdowns can happen for various reasons. Peace to me feels like being able to control my body the way I want to. I have a hard time controlling my body. It does not obey my mind. It acts like it has a mind of its own. A lot of times it either won’t move when I want it to or it won’t stop doing what I don’t want it to do. Faring well at school requires me to keep my body in control for long periods of time.

I am addressing my senses all the time. Loud, echoing sounds and high-pitched cries particularly cause me distress. I mean to turn off the stimuli and focus on what I should. But it is hard. I want to not disturb people so much with my autistic actions. I am powerless to stop my various noises. I am geared to move all the time. I know I can be annoying.

Making myself quiet and still takes all the energy I have.  When I no longer can take trying to control myself, I crash. I have to shut down or melt down. A shutdown is when I cannot function. I mean to participate but I cannot get myself to do it. A meltdown is when my body discharges all its negative energy in the worst ways. My worst fear is having a meltdown and doing something embarrassing. Sometimes I cry and make a scene. Other times I get aggressive. I hate when I hurt or scare people in a meltdown. I want to be able to cope better so I can avoid shutdowns and meltdowns.

My teacher at school is helping me find a coping routine. I work hard and very long at school. I love it there. I learn meaningful things. I make friends. I can try to give thanks. I can pray. Learning to cope better will help me a lot in life. Do you have a coping routine that works for you?


Copyright 2016 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.