Asperger’s “Meltdowns” – First Hand Experience

Let me tell you about a “meltdown” that my son experienced. It’s the worst that I’ve ever seen, and it took us both days to recuperate. For some reason, he freaked out. He said it was because he didn’t have any red crayons, while all the while there were red crayons all around the house. Why red? It is his favorite color.

Anyway, to make a long story short, he laid on his bed for over an hour, crying and shouting that no one cared that he didn’t have any red crayons. I tried reasoning with him to no avail. I pointed out all of the red crayons in his room while he lay on his bed, tears streaming down his face, saying he had no red crayons. I was at my wits end and left him alone to see if he would be able to gain control of his emotions. I checked on him several times, but didn’t interfere. I know that the overwhelming emotions have to be played out for him to gain control.

I knew that his “meltdown” had nothing to do with red crayons. There was some underlying factor. It may have been something that happened at school that day, or it might have been something that happened a week or month previously. One never knows exactly what sparks an Asperger’s “meltdown”.

Finally, I voiced my opinion: “This is not about red crayons,” I told him. “What exactly is it about?” To my surprise he lifted his head off the bed and told me that he had been teased at school earlier in the day. I felt a thrill go through my body from head to toe. My son had actually identified what had caused the “meltdown.” This is something that Asperger’s kids have trouble doing -- and if they do know, they don’t know how to communicate their feelings.

I told him that it was excellent that he had told me what was causing his problem and offered to help him solve it in a positive way. He listened carefully as I told him what we would do to correct the actions of the child who had teased him. He accepted my solution and then fell asleep exhausted. There was no recurring “meltdowns” from this incident.

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•    Anonymous said... I've had the same experience with my, now 14 year old daughter. She would get fixated on something and say that was what she was upset about. Eventually I would find it always had to do with her frustations with children at school. I had a wake up call this summer when she was misbehaving... I asked how she could be so good at school and fall apart at home. She said, do you know how hard it is for me to hold it together at school?" I said no honey, I don't.
•    Anonymous said... luckily we now know how to bring her out of one.ADELE, she hears her voice and she smiles and starts singing.
•    Anonymous said... My 11 yo son has these types of melt downs the reasons have changed as he has gotten older. This summer it seems to be he is sorry he is not a good big brother and they always happen at work, it's so hard to reason with the inconsolable.
•    Anonymous said... Thank you for sharing this. Somehow, it makes me feel understood. My 9 year old Aspie has similar meltdowns
•    Anonymous said... thank you, I have shared this.
•    Anonymous said... Thank you. Ive experienced this with my little one. Triggers recently have been all the changes that come with summer.

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