So a question that some of you have asked, is What a Bad Day Looks Like! To be completely honest, they don’t happen too often now, but they do. Today was one of those days. Wasn’t the end of all days, but it wasn’t a walk in the park either.
Surprise, surprise…. it all started with an iPad. Carter’s ABA therapist was here for his usual 9-1 session which consists of playing with quick work intermixed throughout the session. One of the main factors that Carter is working through with ABA is transitioning. Going from one thing to another, without having meltdowns from the transition, and understanding why transition can be important in life.
Well, it was time to do one of those transitions from iPad to do some quick work, and Carter was asked to pause his iPad and transition to the quick work for five minutes. It had just happened to be the start of a new video when Carter was asked to pause it. Then the start of What a Bad Day Looks Like begins.
This initiated the frustration and the meltdown. When you hear the word meltdown, it cannot be described with words. There is screaming, kicking, throwing, head banging, straight destruction. You feel bad for the kid because you can just see the emotional outburst that he doesn’t know how to control. He cannot hold in the anger that he feels and it comes out in the form of a bomb. Things get broken, and if your lucky you can quickly get a hold of him and give him that sensory deep pressure bear hug that helps them calm down and know somewhere is there to protect them.
Sensory overload occurs when one or more of the body’s senses experiences over-stimulation from the environment. There are many environmental elements that affect an individual. Examples of these elements are urbanization, crowding, noise, mass media, technology, and the explosive growth of information.
Once Carter is calmed down, he acts as though nothing has happened. He goes back to playing legos and doesn’t understand the turmoil he has caused. He actually fell and got a small carpet burn on his knee today, and blamed his ABA therapist. All of the screaming and throwing and kicking himself around, and he blames the therapist for a carpet burn that Carter did to himself.
You also can tell through the rest of the day that there is something off with him. Like he keeps thinking about what happened, but then forgets about it. He has a couple outbursts throughout the day, but that likely has something to do with him knowing he cannot get his iPad for a few days after one of those meltdowns.
However, we had a command function tonight for dinner, and he was fantastic. Years ago, a meltdown would cause the entire family to be in shambles. We had no idea what to do, how to react, or even if it was safe to go out. That is no longer the case though, as after the meltdown and everything calmed down, we carried on through life as normal.
Meltdowns are not the end of the world, they are just what they are called. Meltdowns are meltdowns, and they are nothing more. Just because Carter is currently having a hard time adjusting to transitions, doesn’t mean that he has no life to live. The boy remains happy, he forgot about his anger, and we are helping him work through this stage in his life.
Want to know what is important to understand. In this current stage in our life, for every bad day we have, there are 20 good ones that we wouldn’t trade for the world.