Firstly, I’m so sorry that you and your son have been captured on video for the world to see. I know that when my son has a meltdown, people watching does not help.
I’m sorry you had to stand being judged.
I’m sorry you felt there was no other solution but to pull your son along by his reins.
I’m sorry you felt unsupported.
I’m sorry you felt that you and your family are misunderstood.
Maybe mostly, I’m sorry, that I get it.
An autistic meltdown is not like a tantrum. It does not stop because we say ‘come on’ or ‘get up’ or ‘you won’t get TV at home’. I’ve been here. Both our older children are autistic. My middle child, David, is non-verbal and is the most likely to have a meltdown. He’s an escape artist so we’ve never been able to use reins. This along with the fact that I’m just not strong enough to pull my lad anymore means I’ve not been unlucky enough to have my actions put online. But I’ve been here.
I’ve carried a flailing screaming child under my arm like a rugby ball through a supermarket checkout and across a car park because he didn’t understand why he can’t open all the toys in the store.
I’ve fireman lifted him off a bus because despite my best efforts, he still he doesn’t understand why we have to get off.
I’ve pinned my son to the floor, put my whole body on top of him because I was afraid he will hurt himself or others when he got upset that his sister lost a shoe.
I have had to physically restrain him in a car because he doesn’t understand that someone is sitting in a different seat.
There is usually nothing that I can do for my David when he collapses in a meltdown except remove him from whatever is upsetting him. And that’s not always easy.
Some days I have the time to help my son through the pain he feels. Some days I can’t because there is school run or doctor’s appointment we have to make.
I may not know who you are, or the circumstances surrounding this time when your were filmed. I wonder if anyone offered to help. I wonder if you’ve been supported. I know that sometimes I’m at wit’s end and I don’t know what else to do. I know I’ve been given much advice and strategies to help and sometimes they just don’t work. I know that many people don’t understand my kids or what it’s like to parent them. I know I love my kids to bits and would never do anything to hurt them. Nevertheless, I still know that this woman and child on a video, could easily have been me.
If you’d like to know more about what it’s like having autistic children, please feel free to read stories from my family at Rainbows are too beautiful, on facebook or twitter.