April is Autism Awareness Month. Since we want to promote awareness, we should have several posts this month. I had several ideas and plans for the web-page and new blog posts in mind. So, what happened, you might ask? Autism happened.
We recently had spring break. Laura and I were making plans to work with my son to put together some videos along with other blog posts. I also thought that my family and I would have a great time with my mom visiting us. We could do some craft projects together, visit some local spots, and just have fun. But that was not the case.
Things did not go as planned. We still had some fun together, but we had to change a lot of things because of many outbursts Nate was having. I thought once the kids returned to school and got back into that routine, it would settle back down. No such luck. Even then Nate was very dysregulated and all over the place. My husband and I were just flabbergasted. What in the world was going on? It was like ramming into a brick wall repeatedly.
To borrow a term from the television production world (My husband and I were both working in TV when we met), we needed to “stop down.” When we were recording an episode of a program and a major problem occurred, we would stop down. Sometimes it was as easy as moving a set piece, so the fern wasn’t growing out of the host’s head from the viewpoint of one of the cameras. Another time, it could be as difficult as chasing down a bad cable in the hundreds of feet running from cameras and microphones to audio and video control boards. This current stop down seems to be a more difficult problem to solve for Nate.
Sometimes as parents and caregivers, we often feel that we must keep to the same routine or something will break. Most often, this is very true. Routines are extremely important for those on the spectrum. Other times, there can be that one small kink in one tiny wire that is causing all sorts of problems. That’s when we need to stop down. For us, our stop down included holding off on all but one therapy appointment for the week. It has helped, a lot, but we still haven’t found the kink. It still may take a couple weeks to find what is throwing Nate off. However, a one week break from all most all forms of therapy has been good for all of us.
Give yourself the freedom to cancel or take a break from therapy for a while. Sometimes your autistic child or family member needs some special one on one time with you. It won’t hurt them, especially if things are not going well no matter what you do. Taking the time to hit the reset button can usually be a big help in the long run. Autistic or not, sometimes we all need that.
With a lot of faith, love and fidget toys,
Have you had to “stop down” before? Tell us what you have done to “reset” in the comments below!