Autistic burnout is legit

Usually when WonderBoy shows growth in one area or another (being able to try a new food, for example), there is a backslide later.  It’s kind of a two steps forward, one step back situation, except we never know how many steps forward or back each time.

For the last few months, he’s been steadily jumping through hoops- going to summer camp for the first time, trying new foods, building his speech and language development, getting better at reading, even sitting up in front of 100 donors to showcase his development as a result of the integrated preschool setting he was in.

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(All dressed up and ready to present to 100 people)

During this time, we watched as all of this amazing growth took place, but we did so knowing that at some point very soon it might all go to hell.
On a weekly basis I would check in with his behavior specialist, and we’d remark about how incredible this was to see.  He had been meltdown-free, he’d been progressing, and it was wonderful to see.
I would like to take a moment here to mention something important to me.  We do not try to “normalize” him (ew).  We give him stim time, we allow scripting, and we give him what he needs in terms of sensory down time or up time.  We love who he is, and we would never want to change him.
What we do want is for him to be able to feel comfortable navigating life, and so as such we provide him with every opportunity to try new things in whatever way makes sense for him. If he likes the opportunity, he may try again!  If he doesn’t, we don’t force it-ever.

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(Making slime- I had to mix it for him because there was no way he’d stick his hand in a bowl of glue, but once it was done this made him really happy)

After his speaking engagement (yes, my 5 year old is apparently a motivational speaker now), things started to go sideways.  It was too much, and he made it clear to us that he needed time and space to recover.

What’s important to recognize is that he was able to Do The Things (so so many things) and that he was able to advocate for himself when he was totally over doing so much.

I wish that for all people, frankly.  To be able to say “No! I’ve had enough and I need a break” is something that too many people are convinced is impolite.

Take a moment for yourself.  Make some slime.  Go stand in the woods, close your eyes, and feel the glow of the sunlight as it crashes through the leaves on the trees.  Put on headphones and play music that moves you.  Whatever you need to recover from the daily barrage of life, do that.  Advocate for yourself.

 

 

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