Take a look at @bbcnewcastle’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/bbcnewcastle/status/707145561711972352?s=09
This morning, we had a phonecall asking us to speak to Charlie and Alfie on BBC Newcastle with regards to our little people who have autism. (click the link above!)
In light of the story yesterday about the lady who was asked to leave John Lewis because her child was crying too much and irritating some customers, there seems to have been a split consensus on just how much we should expect others to tolerate our unhappy children.
The difficulty is, when a child has Autism. Yes, obviously they can still have tantrums, that is not in question, but a tantrum stops as soon as a child gets their own way. However, us parents of children on the spectrum also have the incredible stress of dealing with an autistic meltdown.
When a meltdown takes place, it is generally an external environmental trigger for example a repetitive noise (supermarket cashier), a smell (coffee shop/fish counter/fresh bread), too many people (nudging/brushing past). The person having the meltdown is in their own zone- they are now completely oblivious as to their surroundings, people or dangers.
When our children start to enter the beginning of a meltdown, we try Makaton. It’s a sign language that is taught to pre school non verbal, special needs children and is often used in mainstream schools now.
The hand gestures can often help a child focus, holding their mind and concentration sometimes allowing us to calm them, take them away from the trigger and resume our plans.
When one of our children are well into their meltdown, we again, sit with them and sign. Not too much in their face, Give them space, but close enough to catch their eye.
This does two jobs, not only does it focus the child, but it also shows ignorant onlookers that your child has difficulties- they will soon divert their judgmental glare!
As one of our little rascals also suffers from Epilepsy, we have noticed that both with an epileptic episode and an autistic meltdown, both enter their own world for a period of time. Be aware of that, and as parents, don’t be hard on yourselves! Makaton is amazing, even a few simple signs will help!