From Anxiety to Meltdown How Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Deal with Anxiety, Experience Meltdowns, Manifest Tantrums, and How You Can Intervene Effectively Deborah Lipsky

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Deborah Lipsky, the self dubbed Raccoon Lady, has written a must read for people like me.  People like me with children on the spectrum are apt to sit on my children’s shoulders and try to examine the insides of their heads.  It is a less than perfect arrangement.  More often than not, what with the speech delays and such, my translations are usually just my best guess with a dollop of wishful thinking.

So here, Deborah provides great insight into the thought processes and thinking patterns applicable to many people on the spectrum.  Her perspective may not be unique, in that there are lots of other autistic people with similar viewpoints, but the trouble is that not enough of them have written a book about it to enlighten us.  So here is the opportunity.

 

I particularly warm to her distinction between a meltdown and a tantrum, but that is probably because I agree with her.  You may well think otherwise, as you are entitled to, once you have read the book.

 

Her insights, tips and approach should prove invaluable to many, but for me, I was particularly interested to read about the interplay between anxiety, OCD, stress and how these elements can affect someone in their adult life.  Her account provides ample evidence about the importance of intervention early in life, to provide our children with as many coping mechanisms as possible, as well as the need to teach and practice flexible thinking.

 

I was delighted to read about Deborah’s challenging and fulfilling life, which I’m sure will prove inspirational to both parents and autistic children.  It would be far too sweeping to say, ‘Nothing holds you back except the limits imposed by yourself,’ but the impulse to self-censure is a commonplace part of the human condition.

p.s. lastly, I would like to add a request, namely, that a sequel might look at another black and white issue:  depression, autism and the mire of inertia.  How can parents intervene effectively?

 

Available from JKP.

 

And you can visit Deborah Lipsky here.

 

P.s.  Added later – thanks to Trish for this link where you can hear and see Deborah lecture where you can get a flavor of her wit and wisdom.


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Unraveled – code cracker

 

I attempt chat of the 'how was your day?' variety, as I herd them towards the car.

Traffic is everywhere and Mr.Skippy is in 'dart' mode. I grab the back of his back pack in a gesture uncannily similar to a dog's choke collar. Once initial contact is made, I'm able to secure his hand securely. Our palms are clamped together. It is as if I wear one of those joke buzzers in my hand and an electric current jerks through his system as jumping jacks, leaps and spins charge his body. His mouth empties a continuous commentary on the subject of tyres and Pokemon powers. I remind myself that I should be trying harder to park the car in the same spot, to make this exercise smoother. I should park the car in an empty space at about 1 p.m., an hour and 40 minutes before school is out, the new school stalker.

The electric doors close without dismembering anyone and I glance at their daily reports for a quick update.

Oh no!

He did what?

I speed read… 'he' .. 'hit' ….. 'baseball bat' …… 'lost recess' ……I flip round to look at the small thug struggling with his seat belt. He'll be expelled! What on earth could have happened to make him behave like that? I dither. Perhaps I should go back and seek out his teacher? Perhaps I should go back and prostrate myself in front of the Principal and beg for mercy? Perhaps I should try and find out the secret identity of his victim to pour balm on mother and child?

There are few things that provoke such an immediate response in foreigners, but the magic words of 'baseball bat' are always automatically translated into 'lethal weapon,' probably due to excessive American telly watching. It is surely the first true sign that you've produced a serial killer, that and pulling the wings of flies.
“Who did you hit dear?”
“I dun hit.” Typical! An endless stream of drivel about Pokemon and tyres and now suddenly he doesn't have anything to say for himself.
“See here?” I flap the report card, “your teacher tells me that you hit someone. Who did you hit dear?”
“Accident.”
“Who?” I try to keep the panic out of my tone, but I'm not sure if I'm succeeding?
“Michael.” Poor little Michael, he's but a mere scrap of a little thing. Poor little Michael is supposed to be his new, best and only friend. At least I know his mum well and her telephone number.
“Why did you hit him dear?” I command myself to remain calm until I have all the facts at my disposal, so that I can panic in a more dignified manner.
“No hit.”
“See here? Your teacher tells me that you hit him. Why did you hit him dear?” I hope I sound persuasive but I think I sound like an interrogator.
“No hit. Bump.”
“Bump?”
“Bump.” How on earth do you bump someone with a baseball bat? Talk about colourful explanations!
“Where did you bump him dear?”
“Recess.”
“Not when, where dear?” Be patient, just be patient, we'll get there in the end, eventually, hopefully before they put me in my coffin.
“On dah recess time.”
“Oh right. On the playground at recess, right?”
“No.”
“No?”
“Yard.” Of course, silly me.
“Where…..er….where on his body did you bump him?”
“Not body.”
“Not body? Where then?” I am losing the thread.
“Face.” FACE! He hit him in the face with a baseball bat! And since when is your face not part of your body?
“Did he cry? Was he very badly hurt? Did the nurse come?” I know that this is too many questions, but I think I am now officially off my head.
“Er he don bin cry.”
“Mom, can we go home now? Why are we just sittin here?” I look at my daughter who does not seem in the least bit phased by the conversation that I am extracting from her little brother.
“Did you hear what he said?” I squalk at her in a very good imitation of a headless chicken.
“Sure,” she adds nonchalantly. I can feel myself begin to sputter, when she continues, “yeah, Mike's fine.”
“How do you know?”
“Coz I was there.”
“You were there! What happened? Why didn't you tell me?”
“Er coz,…. I don know?” I wait. I give up and prompt, “could you tell me what you saw dear?”
“Er. He already told you.”
“Yes, you're right, he did tell me but I'd like you to tell me too. Is that o.k.?”
“Sure. Um…. anyway, he was buzzin around, ….you know how he does…..he and Mikey were playin…….real crazy wild…..super excito kiddo kinda thing…..he had the ball on his shoulder runnin around in circles and they bashed into each other……that's all.”
“That's all? What about the bat?”
“What bat?”
“The baseball bat?”
“Er there weren't no bat.”
“'Wasn't any'” I snap. “I mean….” What do I mean? “Did he hit Mikey with a baseball bat?”
“No. He bumped his face with the ball. He missed recess coz he was crazy, wild, fizzin and wouldn't calm down.”

Hmm. I pick up the daily school report and read it, slowly. It would appear that they are all completely right and I am all completely wrong, and possibly dyslexic!

New post up on the “alien.”

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