Will called tonight because he was very upset. His Wi-fi thing-a-ma-gig broke down. This component is a necessity because part of his work at the computer corporation is done at home. One of the projects he is working on is going “live” this weekend. So it is an understandable crisis.
He needed to call home to help him calm down and talk through his options. His ability to handle his emotions has improved over the years. When he was younger, he had several meltdowns in school and outside of school. We tried to talk through possible options ahead of time. But when he was in the midst of a crisis, he couldn’t see that he had more than one option. He could go to his room of refuge in the middle school. He could use words instead of crying or throwing his desk at a wall (an alarming option he chose once in his precalculas class in high school). Sometimes his outbursts made him a target for bullying, but he was fortunate that he had such a support group around him, including most of his classmates.
If we could, we tried to help him plan for difficult social situations using Social Stories. Many times, to our dismay, we were unable to predict possible meltdowns and prepare Will for them ahead of time. So we had to review with him possible outcomes that he could have used. We did a lot of talking with Will in very forthright and explicit manner. If an outsider would have been a fly on the wall during these sessions, I think it would have been difficult to understand why Will would put up with these discussions.
We had him meet with a therapist who specialized in helping autistic children. She helped him develop strategies for dealing with difficult social situations during his middle school years. What seems simple to us, was very difficult for him. At that time, our insurance did not pay for these sessions.
He has had a few of these incidents since he moved out. Sometimes I receive emails at work asking me to pray for him because he has made a mistake. Last fall we were at the hospital having Ralph’s heart checked out due to an episode of severe dizziness and collapse. Will’s boss had threatened him with the loss of his job, which would be difficult for anyone to handle. In a full blown panic, Will poured out his despair. Ralph and I sat in the emergency room calming Will down. I think some of Will’s coworkers have figured out that Will may have autism, so some of them came to his aid.
So tonight Will and I talked about getting a replacement for his Wi-fi. Possibly finding a store that would be open. He was also frustrated that his wi-fi device was no longer eligible for technical support because the model isn’t manufactured any more, unless he paid 40 dollars. “The device cost 40 dollars, why should I pay that when I can get a new one!”
He finally decided to text his supervisor regarding the breakdown of his equipment, and to get up at 8:00 the next morning and go to Target and get another wi-fi device.
I have dealt with two meltdowns so far this week. First Ralph was very frustrated at work and ready to give his two-week notice. I calmed him down by email and texts. Then Will called me at 10:10 pm tonight venting about his Wi-fi problem. Patty just came down stairs “to talk” after I finish writing this post.
Oh the humanity!