Monday, August 20, 2012

Meltdown Schedule Explained

Tomorrow (technically today as I'm writing at midnight) is Ava's first day of school!  She's in for 1/2 days this week, two days off, and then full time on next Wed.  I'm scared.  Nervous.  Excited!  And I can tell she is too.

I've been tracking our schedule, and with it Ava's meltdowns.  She has a lot of them.  The good news is, Daddy & I have gotten better at helping prevent them.  This doesn't mean she's spoiled and always gets her way.  She has Autism.  Sometimes she just doesn't get it.  Sometimes we do change our minds & it looks like we're giving in.  All the time, with every kid, you have to pick your battles.  We fought a BIG one today.

Ava had a meltdown that lasted an hour.  I'm not exaggerating.  Sixty +/- minutes!  Over walking the dog.  You see, we were headed for a walk in the mountains.  Both of the big girls wanted to hold the dog's leash.  So we played rock-paper-scissors to decide who would walk the dog up the hill, and who would walk her back down the hill.  Ava lost.  We're working hard with her therapist on making a plan & sticking to it.  This was one I wanted to change, but I held firm.  Poor Daddy & Omp (our special name for Grandpa) were left behind.  It was heartbreaking - pounding on the window, screaming so loud we could hear her 3 cabins away, drooling because she was so upset.  I can't imagine how exhausted she was from it.  A meltdown takes a lot of energy - both emotional & physical.

Here's our chart of the last week.  Sunday was the meltdown.  All meltdowns are in black, but you can see how short most of them are.  Last year, when we first started therapy, they could easily be 2 hours long.  And they were 30 minutes at a minimum!  THAT is improvement.  Even if our outside world doesn't see it - we do.

Its all color coded.  Purple is sleeping; Green is active play, household chores, being outside, running around;   Blue is quiet play, reading books, quiet imaginary games; Red is anything tv, computer, ipod related (not counting using the ipod for music).  And of course Black is the meltdown.

See the two days where I can't remember what happened?  They were either really good.  Or really bad.  I honestly couldn't remember.  I now fill my chart out several times a day.  We used to always see meltdowns during transitions - sometimes they occur because of a transition.  Other times we need a transition to get Ava OUT of a meltdown.

Wish us luck & say a prayer.  We're going to need it!  It will be interesting to see how our chart changes with school starting up.


1 comment:

  1. Melissa, this is a wonderful idea! It will help you, and Ava, and the doctor. I think you and Brad are doing a great job working with Ava on the issues. Good luck to all of you - and prayers that the rest of school year will go better. Extra prayers for holidays that will interrupt the school schedule.