Friday, 25 June 2010
When I told my dear dad that Lyla had gone into meltdown, he wondered if it was something to do with the hot weather?
Meltdown is nothing to do with the sunshine or even volcanoes and is much much more than a tantrum.
Meltdown is where the person completely loses control of themselves and their temper for an extended period.
Once an autistic person is in meltdown, the situation is irretrievable, the meltdown will not stop until the person is ready to stop. Usually this takes between half and hour to several hours. And the person is at very high risk of having further meltdowns over the next twenty-four hours.
Last night Lyla's meltdown lasted for three and a half hours.
She completely trashed our home: every wardrobe ransacked and clothes ripped/ vintage posters ripped up, cod liver oil bottle smashed into the carpet, box of scissors thrown at us (me and her sister), sofa cut with scissors, plants ripped up, pots smashed, files thrown around the rooms, trampoline net cut with scissors, storage cupboard contents thrown stairs, sister's birthday present destroyed etc
When Lyla started to smash the patio doors I knew it was time to take her out to walk it off. I was worried about whether this was a good idea as she was screaming at the top of her voice and hitting/ scratching/ kicking and biting me. Her face and hair and clothes were covered in mud and grass (from when she was ripping up chunks of grass and pulling up plants) and her little face was stained with tears.
To put it mildly, we looked odd! As she walked down the road, she was swearing and screaming and kicking the walls and fences of every house we passed. At one point I had to restrain her from really hurting her sister and a man in a car stopped and started watching us, looking like he was on the verge of calling 999. He wasn't alone. I can understand it up to a point - I would probably be worried if I saw a woman wrestling with a child on the street (and another child running away, shouting 'I can't take it any more). I'm normally pretty resilient, but this did get to me as I just felt like we looked so scummy- how can you explain what's going on to somebody? I expect for most people it was the first time they'd ever seen a spectacle like it.
Unfortunately that wasn't the case for me and Mya, her sister.
After three hours, we were all exhausted and she finally calmed down.
This used to happen every evening for a year until she started taking her sleeping medication.
It was hell.
So why did she do it? Who knows? It all kicked off when she refused to take her medication. But obviously that wasn't really what it was about.
Lyla's been having some friendship trouble at school and I suspect that her frustration with this is what caused the meltdown.
She will tell us what's the matter when she can.
For now, I'll have to spend the weekend putting the house - and myself- back together and helping Lyla - and Mya - to stay calm.....
In other news, the Horse Therapy was a galloping success (sorry), more info to follow later.
Doodle by Me.