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meltdowns in public......today knocked my confidence

(14 Posts)
BONKERZ Fri 07-Aug-09 17:52:00

i was just wondering how other people cope.

DS is 9and has ASD and is very strong. I generally avoid public places with him. This summer we have been really lucky with respite and today was the first day i have had him all day with no break (he has had 2 days at playscheme and 6 hours with childminder this week!)
i decided to take him and DD (3) swimming and a friend came along too with her DD and DS.
Swimming was great, i could see after an hour and a half he was starting to simmer so we got out and i managed to calm him before we went for lunch. After lunch we had no choice but to go and get a couple of bits from icelands. Just as we were paying he decided he had had enough and started to kick me so i asked him to stop.
When i turned to look at him i saw he had actually gone (he gets a blank look in his eyes when he has gone into overload IYKWIM) and i knew i had to get him out of the shop. I picked him up holding him round the chest under his arms and started to carry him out of the shop. He was screaming at this point and yelling he wanted to die and kill himself and smash the wondows and hit me etc............. I managed to get him from the shop and into a corner where i felt he would be safe and restrained his hands at the wrist so he could not hurt me or himself. this whole time he is yelling and screaming and im having to keep him in the corner using my whole body as a guard.
Thankfully my friend took her 2 DCs and my DD off to a bench not far away.
after about 10 mins of him screaming murder the secruity guard from the shop came out and asked me why i was manhandling my child and he will have to radio for assistance. i tried to explain DS has autism but TBH i think he had already judged me as a terrible parent and my DS as a hooligan......also by this point a crowd of about 10 people had gathered around the door entrance and were staring.
i did turn to one woman and said (with tears in my eyes) that i was not a bad mum and i was doing my best to prevent my son from hurting himself and others and that my son has autism and is not in control of himself right now...thankfully this woman said she worked with SN children and recognised DSs behaviour and did disperse the small crowd with a short explanation for me.
It took DS about 30 mins before he started to relax into me and i managed to distract him (by talking about the yucky chewing gum on the wall! ) i then let him walk to a bench where he sat for a further 5 mins and i could see he was coming back round.
Once he was calm it hit me what a dangerous situation i had been in and i could not stop shaking and crying.....my poor friend didnt know what to do!
DS was fine, infact he was a completely different child...very helpful round the shop and very cuddly as if he had got rid of everything he had to!
me on the otherhand im terrified of taking him anywhere again. My confidence has been completely knocked....

cornsillk Fri 07-Aug-09 17:54:53

Never mind about the guard - it's not his job to judge. It sounds like you handled the situation really well to me.

lou031205 Fri 07-Aug-09 18:07:57

BONKERZ - you are a competent, loving mother who knows her son well enough to recognise when he is overloaded before it happens.

You did the best you could, and took your son to a place of safety.

You respected your son & the fact that people were challenging you means that you don't look like a bad mother - they wouldn't have been shocked if you did.

You talked about chewing gum long enough to distract him, which in itself is medal-worthy!

A horrible, horrible time for you, but you handled it amazingly, and neither of you got hurt.

BONKERZ Fri 07-Aug-09 18:15:26

thanks for replying, im still shaken. i keep running over it all in my head.....did i hold DS too hard? should i have just let him run off? did i make him worse by restraining him? so many things im now doubting in my head.....

BONKERZ Fri 07-Aug-09 18:17:41

mind you it is quite amusing that i managed to distract him talking about chewing gum!

i knew he was coming down IYKWIM when he touched the gum and moaned it was sticky.....5 mins before he had been rolling around on floor covered in fag butts and had touched the gum about 10 times but had not noticed it!

silverfrog Fri 07-Aug-09 18:24:52

it sounds like you did all you could to me.

you planned the day, kept an eye on ds and when you could see it was getting a bit much at swimming you called a halt.

you kept him calm then, and through lunch, and you got him all around a supermarket before he overloaded.

even then you saw it just in time to get him out to a place of safety, where you could have a chance to talk him down, which you did (grin at chewing gum!)

sadly you will always have onlookers in these situations, but I agree with lou - people obviously didn't think you looked like a bad mother. they were concerned about the situation and one or two poeple looking at something will always draw a crowd.

I'm doubly impressed that you managed any kind of explanation in the situation you were in - I usually get through dd1's public meltdowns by blanking out everything around em and pretendign the other people aren't there!

BONKERZ Fri 07-Aug-09 18:40:48

i reckon i need to get a tougher skin, normally im as cool as a cucumber with so much patience (used to be a childminder and am more than capable of caring for 3 under 3s and 3 over 8s at same time!) i think its just today scared me with how strong DS is now.
I have avoided taking DS anywhere by myself for well over a year now and im so relieved i had a friend with me today to look after DD BUT its made me realise this is just going to get harder the bigger DS gets.
Im a large lady with alot of weight on me so can use my bulk to help BUT DS is close to overpowering me and that scares me.

mumslife Fri 07-Aug-09 20:14:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

saintlydamemrsturnip Fri 07-Aug-09 20:54:19

Just ignore the tut tut brigade. DS1 kicks off almost every time we go out, I often have to physically restrain him. (He's 10). We attract our fair share of gawpers, but hey ho.

5inthebed Fri 07-Aug-09 20:55:23

I think you handled the situation really really well. Better than I could have handled anything like that.

Your DS is luky that you know him so well, that you can judge before he has a meltdown and how to handle him if he does have one.

So sorry tht those other made you feel so uncomfortable, and that you had to explain yourself to them. The security guard sounds like a bit of an arse as well!

Deeeja Fri 07-Aug-09 22:34:43

Wow, you did so well, wish I could handle situations like that as well as you. I am ashamed to admit, that I would never dare to take my asd 6 year old ds out on my own. blush, especially not to so many potential hotspots.

busybeingmum Fri 07-Aug-09 23:35:35

Message withdrawn

magso Sat 08-Aug-09 12:09:03

I understand the fear of not being physically able ( anymore) to keep control of a dangerous meltdown. Happened to me recently ( ds also 9, LD/ASD) in the swimming pool had to vertually sit on slippery ds! Gradually what I will attempt on my own with ds has deminished! Of course you revue what has happenened and how you handled it etc, -(well by the way -though the constant rewinding and self questioning is difficult to stop after a traumatic day!)-but the point to notice that your usual technique ( isolating and holding) still works!
I may take ds swimming again ( although perhaps dh will need to come the next time to stop ME having a melt down!) not sure yet - but if I do other checks will need to be in place. Perhaps making it short ( ds forwarned), deciding where best to escape to, that sort of things.
It scares me too that ds is so strong and oblivious to safety!

pokhara Thu 13-Aug-09 22:58:31

i know the meltdown not a very nice thing for you, its horrible but for me to read what happened has hlped me alot, my son definatelt has these meltdowns you described it just the same as it happens with my 3.5 year old. Trying to explain to other people what happens is so hard they just think he had a temper tantrum whileout, but its so not, it last usually upto 40 mins and is so sad when he is coming out of it as he is so upset and doesnt know what is happening, the thing thats gets me the most during a meltdown with my son is that he scream for his mummy, he doesnt recognise that i am his mum and this kills me so much. xxx

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