Access: The Meltdown
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My partner read this blog and comments, and learned that other people have similar reactions to me. To unplanned stuff.
That was nice.
(I did write a massive long story with examples, but have decided to just get to the point).
Russell Brown, in reply to
That was nice.
Yay. That's so nice to hear.
Do feel free to post what you like of that story if you change your mind. We're all about stories.
From my observation it seems the main issue is around predictability. Things need to be predictable for a sense of security. Otherwise anxiety, resistance or meltdown can result. As a parent I have had to learn to explain to my son and others (and some parents do that with visual aids such as social stories) what is going to happen, when, how long it will take before we get home again or back to a regular routine.
I have also learnt over the years that you also need to have a Plan B as part of the predictable plan. So if the bus doesn't come Plan B is to ring a specified person on a programmed number in a cellphone (which always has to be charged and paid up) rather than wait all day at the bus stop.
My friend Mike Grigg, who is a crusading advocate for community understanding of meltdowns, has given away several copies of a simple book called Managing Meltdowns by Lipsky and Richards, to politicians, police and community organisations. It's a great little book which advocates a sensible, predictable and planned response.
Thanks for this Russell, I’m curious, does the medical community have an alternative to the terminology “meltdown” or is that as advanced as our current description of these issues reaches (replete with the implied associations with irreversible destruction, toxicity, radioactive half life, genetic mutation, evacuation and death)?
Hilary Stace, in reply to
What term do you suggest might be more respectful?
Moz, in reply to
I've been conditioned to expect failure, because it happens so frequently - and I think I find a certain comfort in powerlessness.
This. I find I actually quite like Jetstar and other "we'll have a go" airlines because I just turn up to the airport with my book and hope to get where I'm going eventually. Similar to how I quite liked hitchhiking when I was younger.
With more organised airlines I seem to always end up having to fight about something, usually an extra fee, and that's annoying. Coming back from Alice Springs the staff looked at our printed tickets with pre-paid bicycle luggage allowance and said "yes, that'll be $240 for two bikes". The woman behind the counter agreed that I'd paid for the bikes already, that I'd paid the correct amount (about $50), they were going to take our bikes, but only if I paid $240 to her right now. Fortunately my partner was there and I could just walk away. She paid, we flew home, she spent an hour or so on the phone getting that extra payment refunded.
With Tiger or JetStar I'd just expect that they would screw everything up and that I'd be lucky to get my bike on one of their planes at all, having it travel on the same day as me would be a miracle. Also, I'd have to pay for the actual weight at a per-kilo rate made up on the spot.
Moz, in reply to
rather than wait all day at the bus stop.
For reasons that have never been clear to me (beyond the trivial "he's an arsehole") my birthfather used to love the "joke" where if someone got out of the car he'd drive off a little way, they'd run to catch up, he'd drive a little further, until eventually he let them get back in the car. Except me. I would just sit down and wait for him to back up. Or in one case, my mother drove back to get me once they got home. I didn't actually mind sitting on the side of the road, as I recall, by my mother was livid.
T. Rawhiti-Forbes, in reply to
Timing is very important.
To throw some context around my story, I didn’t really understand that I could have been on the spectrum until I was 31. Funnily enough, it took a kind of meltdown – albeit a gentle one where I realised I just didn’t see the world the way others seemed to.
As I’d had a history of concussions (I was a magnet for them in my schoolboy league days) I wondered if perhaps I’d been affected by brain damage. I asked some questions, got some answers, and the most likely answer was Aspergers.
It took me three years to get a diagnosis. First came a terrible feeling of isolation, and then I felt like everything was unfair – because I’d have to work harder to understand and to communicate with the world than the world would have to do to get along with me. It just didn’t seem right.
I got over that, eventually, and put the work in. First I worked with a counsellor who specialised in helping men who were on the spectrum, and he gave me the basic building blocks for a new – or perhaps just modified – set of communication behaviours. I then moved on to a therapist who took the treatment and investigation further, and ultimately gave me a diagnosis.
I’m incredibly fortunate that I’m able to, for want of a better word, exploit my particular mutant powers into a good and productive career in journalism and communications. It turns out I can survive quite neatly even at the dreaded middle management level of the corporate hunger games.
I don’t walk about making a big deal of what I have, but I will spotlight it if it’s going to create distractions or deficiencies in our work, or in any interactions. For example, I’m prone to looping a conversation or otherwise repeating myself if I realise I don’t know how to close-off a verbal sentence. So rather than let that happen, I’ll just say I don’t know how to end the sentence, and move onto the next one.
Funnily enough, the one situation in which that doesn’t really happen is when I’m addressing very large audiences, and I’ll thank Russell again for his invitation to join a LATE at the Museum panel in 2013, which still ranks as my favourite public speaking experience.
mark taslov, in reply to
I’m neither qualified nor experienced Hilary, I was just wondering if there is something a little less loaded, in order to better distinguish these episodes from their temper tantrum namesake.
Tiger parenting most certainly falls into the "DO NOT become angry with me or raise your voice" category. It's been cited as a major factor in the emergence of Japan's hikikomori.
Kumara Republic, in reply to
As much as my son wants more work, I do worry about him going into a workplace I don't know and trust. It's really easy for this to happen.
Gainful employment remains a biggie for us aspies. I've said it before, but an on-the-job training approach seems to work best - when you can find one in this deregulated labour market. And the advice I've been given by an ICT industry mentor is that "the reality is that without a stellar CV, connections are the best way to enter the ICT sector - it's not what you know, it's who you know." Much easier said than done for the neuro-diverse.
Rosemary McDonald, in reply to
First I worked with a counsellor who specialised in helping men who were on the spectrum, and he gave me the basic building blocks for a new – or perhaps just modified – set of communication behaviours.
Many thanks for that...and a much deeper answer than I was expecting...and you closed off your sentences...is that only an issue in verbal communication?
Thinking about the paragraph I've quoted...I guess there is a difference between the way men and women communicate, (or society has an expectation that there is a difference?) so I was wondering if there are women counselors for women Aspies, or could either gender help either and tailor the therapy to match the client?
If that makes any sense?
Thanks again for your reply...
Hilary Stace, in reply to
I know at least a couple of women counsellors (one is my daughter) who work with children and adults on the spectrum (not gender specific). Person-centred, person- specific, with a bit of understanding of autism, seems to be important.
T. Rawhiti-Forbes, in reply to
Yup, sentence-closing is only an issue with verbal communication. Part of the trouble is, as fast as my mouth can go, my brain goes that much faster and if something chucks a spanner in the works, I can get lost that way.
The second therapist I worked with was a woman - Colleen Emmens. She's Auckland-based, info here.
Steve Barnes, in reply to
I realised I just didn’t see the world the way others seemed to.
That may just be the key…
I don’t think anybody can see the world as others see it.
We may have consensus on many things but that doesn’t mean we “see” them the same.
ie. I see a red chair and we agree, it is “red”, we have been told that when our brain receives this response it means ” the colour of this object is red”
How do we reconcile this?
When the retina is hit with light with light of a particular frequency, in this case between say 650 and 750 nm, it reacts in a way that is as individual as a fingerprint, it sends that to our brain, which reacts in a way that is as individual as a fingerprint…..
This, of course, is fine but we have far more senses than colour recognition.
When you consider this, its a wonder we can live as a society at all.
If you think that you are the only person that “sees” the world the way you do, then you are completely right, its the others you have to worry about….
!!!FFS!!! Sorry, Russell, but this seems to keep happening over and over with public transport drivers -buses, taxis, Uber, whatever. Their management's human resource section seem to be lazy-to-incompetent when it comes to training them about their responsibilities toward disabled clients and service users. Service user discrimination against all people with disabilities is illegal under the Human Rights Act 1993.
And when I say disabled, it's not only people with autism/neurodiversity concerns that it happens to. Wheelchair users, blind and visually impaired people with guide dogs and so on and so on.
Rosemary McDonald, in reply to
Service user discrimination against all people with disabilities is illegal under the Human Rights Act 1993.
Thanks for giving me the best laugh I've had in simply ages and ages and ages.
Even 'services' that have been specifically designed for disabled people consistently refuse to accept that this group of Kiwis actually have rights.
And remember, the government legislated away the right for disabled Kiwis to take one of their more important issues back to the Human Rights Commission after nearly 13 years of successful argument that those disabled people who need disability support services actually have an entitlement to those services and the right to chose who delivers them.
Sorry to rant...but "rights" and "disabled people" in the same sentence????
The discrimination comes from the very, very top.
From the latest MindsforMinds newsletter is some of the first detailed NZ specific autism data. People can also sign up to be part of their research
We observe the well-reported male to female gender bias (4:1)
• The population distribution reflects New Zealand’s latest census
• Anxiety disorders, depression and epilepsy were highly prevalent amongst individuals with ASD
and their families
• 48.5% reported at least one other co-occurring condition
o The most common co-occurring condition in those under 7 is ADHD, then in decreasing
frequency dyspraxia, followed by depression and anxiety
o The most common condition in those aged 8 to 17 was depression and anxiety, then in
decreasing frequency ADHD, followed by dyspraxia
o The most common condition in those over the age of 18 was depression and anxiety,
then in decreasing frequency gastrointestinal symptoms, followed by ADHD
• The number of co-occurring conditions increased with age
• 91.2% of individuals reported one or more condition among first-degree relatives
• The most common conditions occurring in relatives were ADHD, depression and anxiety, ASD/
Asperger syndrome, dyspraxia, and obsessive compulsive disorder
This morning on Natrad....Sue Haldane talks about, amoungst other issues, how to better 'manage' meltdowns.
I'd be interested to know what those closer to autism think.
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