Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What's acceptable?

I'm gonna get right to the point here. There are meltdowns and there are tantrums and they are NOT, this bares repeating, NOT the same thing.

I think a good chunk of parents who have autistic children would agree with me on that statement. They understand that a meltdown is actually behavior communication in motion. Sometimes that motion is your kid deciding to test the aerodynamic strength of the iPad when the wifi goes out or screaming and covering their ears when they hear the vacuum turn on.

To those quick to say those reactions are bratty, naughty, selfish, rude, bad tantrums, I say Back the truck up. Aw Hell to the No! In fact I feel so passionate about this I decided to make a meme about it.

Did you all catch the bat was named "Hot Sauce"? All Hail Queen Bey! 

Of course, the majority of you got what I was saying here but because I put something on the Internet, someone(s) had to get offended by it. I mean, I expect that. In fact it's needed to help maintain balance in the universe or some kooky new aged mumbo jumbo like that.  Here's some comments that stick out.

"Are you going to be "Beyonce with the Bat" when they are grown and can't get or keep a job??? Need to be prepared for the real world and the real world won't tolerate meltdowns."

"Oh yeah. Flip out. Model parent there."

Cue the flurry of replies by folks who were on Team "Are you serious?" I appreciate you all having my back. I both live in awe and fear of you. (I really hope I never piss you all off.) One of you even replied with a single picture that said it all. This:

Dorothy Zbornak is my spirit animal.  How did you know? ;-) 

But really? First off, slow your roll if you think I'm advocating taking an actual bat to someone. Please, I'd break my nails and this Jersey girl doesn't do that. However, I will take a figurative one to knock out the idea I'm advocating my kiddo gets to do whatever he wants.  No way. Not even close.

Did you all miss the blurb I added where I stressed "BEHAVIOR IS COMMUNICATION!!" Let me say it again. BEHAVIOR IS COMMUNICATION!!!" One more time for those in the back in the cheap seats, "BEHAVIOR IS COMMUNICATION!!!!!!!!"

Let's get down to the "WHY" your child is doing something. That's the part we as autism parents can work on so we can figure out what triggers our children. What I am asking the rest of the non autism world is the space and the time to do that. That means, you are all gonna see some meltdowns.  Of course I know the behavior isn't the acceptable norm for society. I am trying my best to teach my son the skills he needs to handle what life throws at him.  Seeing as he is a child with communication issues, this is going to take some time. Help me to help you understand that you all need some patience and understanding or I am going to lose my ever loving mind. You make it hard to teach my Kiddo empathy and compassion when you won't even show it to us.

What kills me is those comments might have been left by folks who have kids with autism. I'm going to have to think that maybe they are so busy with the autism in their house that they have forgotten what autism is like in other homes. Yeah, that's what I'll have to tell myself here. See? That's me using some empathy and compassion on my part. Works both ways. ;-)

"You should be more serious about autism!"

Honey, you are following a blog called "Autism with a side of fries". Not a scientific journal. Did you think you were signing up the "Doom and Gloom Daily". That's not how I roll. So I'll keep cracking wise and posting pics of the thoughts in my head that I turn into memes. Cause clearly some other folks need a laugh or two themselves.

This idea of meltdowns being "acceptable" or not is a dangerous one. It's like asking someone with epilepsy "Try not to fall down and have a seizure here.". We do our best to keep them from happening in the first place. We also try our best to manage them if they do. Do me a solid though and understand that they happen. Judgment doesn't help here.

Fries do. Want some? (You won't be offered fries by serious medical journals. That's the perk of following this one.)


  1. Mama Fry is my spirit animal.

    1. Me too! I told her that once in one of her live chats.

  2. Love what you do!! You say what all of us are feeling, be it the good the bad or the ugly!!! Thank you!!

  3. That last bit reminds me of something someone wrote to the Autastic podcast boys. Saying that they gave the impression that autism was easy because they found the funny side of it. Maybe if they had a PROFOUNDLY autistic child, they'd take it more seriously. I hope they listened to the reply stating one of them did, thanks.
    It is essential that people see the funny side too. Humour keeps relationships together and helps us deal with the times when nothing is funny. My husband and I constantly have a laugh about our life as parents of two autistic children. We'd have gone mad by now if we didn't!
    I pity anyone who could read your funny musings and tut tut that you should take it all more seriously. I'm glad I'm not in their family!

    1. Laughter is the best medicine. It helps rejuvenating our soul. I agree with you. Laughing through the impossible makes it seem easier. It has to be done we might as well see the best in our days not the worst. <3

  4. Can someone please pass the ketchup?

  5. Its always something isn't it. I particularly like the complaint about meltdowns amd holding a job. I can't even get my child a decent education much less thinking about he'll ever hold a job. And heaven forbid I die. What will happen to him then.

  6. OMG, YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! My son may seem normal to those who don't really know him. And he is just like every other 10 year old boy. Until he isn't. My understanding *why* he is having a meltdown (not an entitled brat temper tantrum), is not making excuses for behavior. It's explaining behavior.

  7. Our ASD son was 11 the first time we went to Japan. In Japan, they have a very accepting, hands-off approach to kids, & if your kid is having a tough time, they let you deal with it. We arrived in Chicago on the way home, awake for more than 24 hours, to a Customs line a mile long. When he melted down, every person around us just stared, judged (except security, who hurried us to the front of the line, bless them). I was ready to get on a plane right back to Japan. Unfortunately, they aren't as progressive with special ed there, so not practical. But I never realised how amazing it was to have a break from the judgy parents until we went there, because it rarely happens here.

  8. “Can’t get or keep a job”....hehehe. Yeah, that falls on the worry scale right below “ most likely won’t get early acceptance into Harvard”