Something happened yesterday with Dylan that hasn’t ever happened before.
We are used to his meltdowns. During a meltdown he screams, hits himself, throws himself at the floor, bangs his head off the wall, lashes out at us or anyone around him along with many other things he does during a meltdown.
Generally I can tell when a meltdown is coming on and will try to get him to relax with some deep pressure massage, distraction with colouring, his iPad or turning the lights off and using his star light that he has that projects stars onto the roof.
Yes they are very tough to deal with, but I suppose in a way I have grown a thicker skin to these.
They are not fun to deal with, and when he is in bed or once he has settled and is fine I will have a cry. They are emotionally and mentally exhausting, sometimes physically too when you have to restrain him from hurting himself or others around him.
Yesterday though Dylan had a shutdown. This is something that I have never been aware of, or heard of until it happened.
Dylan & myself were happily playing, I stood up to get a drink and he happily carried on playing then about 1 minute later he burst into tears.. he was crying like he had really hurt himself.
I quickly went back to him and picked him up and checked him over to see if he was hurt anywhere (a really tough thing about him having no communication skills or verbalization is that if he is hurt etc he can’t tell or show you) He buried his head into my chest and was clinging to me, I sat down on the sofa to which he normally rejects and makes you stand up to sooth him, but he just buried his head in harder. I talked calmly to him and tried to lift him away from me too look at him and distract him. This was not going to happen. He is pretty strong when he wants to be!
I took his clothes off incase he was too warm, or a label had been annoying him all day, but still he refused to look at me, or to be moved away from my chest.
I went and got a blanket and put over him to ensure he didn’t get cold and he pulled it over his face and then grabbed my arms into it and pulled them around him to hold him close. This is something he hasn’t ever done before.
I tried a few times at the start to sit him up and interact with him, but he got very distraught by these attempts so I stopped.
I held him close, while he snuggled in with his eyes tightly shut from the world, and I cried.
I felt so helpless, so useless, like I had failed him, how had I not spotted that things had got so tough that he had to shut down, hide away from it all.
I hated this cruel world, autism, my ability to not read his mind, not knowing how to help my son, it’s an awful gut wrenching feeling. A feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Thinking about how useless I felt and was then is putting tears in my eyes again now.
He sat with his head buried into me with no response, no babbling or anything at all for an hour and a half. He then responded a little and would get up and go for a short walk but then would be straight back to me, with his head hidden from the world.
It then took about another 30-45 mins till he was back to his usual self.
There was no warning signs, nothing out of the ordinary happened, he seemed very content before hand, no triggers that I can think of, nothing I am aware of that upset him.
I’m stuck wondering what made it happen, desperately wanting to prevent it from happening again, but with no clue how.