I posted this in April 2010 for Autism Awareness Month:
Transitions are going from one activity to the next. For many people with autism transitions are hard. ie, watching TV then taking a shower, or dinner/homework then bed. The mental focus has to be diverted to the next activity. That is excruciatingly hard for some people on the spectrum. Meltdowns may occur during transition times.
True story: My (12 yo) daughter needed a new swim suit. I said, “get in the car.” She started crying and screaming and wailing. I hadn’t given her any advanced notice, I had not told her why we were getting in the car, and she didn’t have her shoes on. In her mind, all of those things were a major crisis. Besides that was a secondary transition issue. She was ABOUT to talk to her little sister. In her mind that was the next thing on her list, so when I came in and said “get in the car” I screwed up her list. After calming down, she got her shoes, we went to the store and thank the Lord – she tried on the first suit she liked and it fit. We bought it right away and left the store. Praise God for miracles.
Anyone that knows Julianna would tell you she has major skin sensitivities and trying on clothing is NOT a task she likes…in fact it can make a 20 minute shopping trip turn into what seems like a milenium trying to bathe a cat
Temple Grandin said that she was having panic attacks so regularly that she started taking meds for them at 30 years old. I think that sometimes our kids will have to have medicinal intervention sometimes to get over these hurdles.
Julianna has been doing her “thinking position” which is where she lays on her bed with her knees and hands under her. That calms her down. I guess it’s better than screaming and raging!
But medication does seem to help!