How I Helped Another Parent When Her Child Had a Meltdown


I was at an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting for my son, Sebastian, who has autism spectrum disorder. During the meeting, while the coordinators are putting together their findings and the paperwork for you to review and sign, they place you in a room with other families. One time, I shared the room with a young lady who had a newborn and a 4-year-old daughter. Sebastian was also 4 at the time. However, I noticed she was a little higher on the spectrum than he is.

The little girl and Sebastian began to play together and she started to play a little roughly. I felt she didn’t understand what she was doing, so I didn’t make a big deal out of it. They’re children, and it’s to be expected sometimes. Her mom asked me if Sebastian had autism because of the flapping he does and the fact that he’s nonverbal. I told her yes, and we proceeded to talk about how smart our children are despite what others might see. We also began to discuss how difficult it can be sometimes, and the stares we get when our children make certain noises or exhibit certain behaviors deemed “not normal.”

As we continued talking and our little ones continued to play, her daughter hit Sebastian in the head with a ball or something, and she went to give her a time-out. Her daughter began to have a meltdown and the mom looked so uneasy. As she sat on the floor cradling her daughter while her daughter struggled to get loose, I came over and sat down on the floor with her and began to share some of the things I learned from attending therapy with Sebastian. I explained to her that trying to control her meltdown wasn’t going to work; it would only make things worse. I told her to allow the meltdown and then when she calms down, explain to her why you wanted her to sit for a moment.

We continued to talk and share information. I told her about places she may want to check into for assistance. She was so grateful and wanted to keep in touch. I gave her my email address and told her she could contact me anytime because we all need to support each other.

As I was sitting with the parent, one of the IEP coordinators came in and saw what took place. She pulled me to one side and said, “That was a great thing you just did. We do not have many parents that will sit with one another and try and help each other deal with situations such as the one I just saw.” She then gave me a hug and said, “We need more parents like you in the schools to help parents who might be struggling with a child with special needs.” I thanked her and explained to her that we need support and it’s difficult to get. As the parent of a child with special needs, my responsibility is to support those going through the same thing.

I want to be as supportive as possible to parents like me because there are so many obstacles we already have to face in this “normal” world. As an advocate, parent and student of a child with special needs, I stand with them to offer support, guidance and understanding. Together, we can make a huge difference in how our children are viewed and treated in this world. We are their voice!

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: Describe the moment a stranger — or someone you don’t know very well — showed you or a loved one incredible love. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

This Man With Down Syndrome Is Now a Sworn-In Reserve Officer

There’s a new officer patrolling the streets of Minneapolis. In June 2015, Sam Hesla was sworn in as a reserve officer, KSTP News reported. Hesla, 24, is one of the first reserve officers with Down syndrome to serve in the country, according to the outlet. Before earning his title, Hesla completed 12 weeks of training in which he [...]

To the Stranger Staring at My Son Having a Public Meltdown

I know it can be hard not to stare. But I am the mother of that child you’re staring at. I am the mother of that child who is screaming, biting and yelling while running wild around the store. I am the mother of that child who is far too old to be “behaving” like [...]

When Kids Refused to Go on a Field Trip to Support My Son With Special Needs

A school trip to the zoo is exciting, especially for kids 7- to 8-year-olds. Except when your son has autism. And sensory issues. And severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And severe food allergies. And the list goes on. My son was excited and wanted to go, but I knew it wouldn’t be a good experience for [...]

Hospital Makes Special Arrangements for Elderly Couple Who Can’t Take Separation

Tom and Arnisteen Clark, from Fayetteville, Georgia, have hardly been apart from one another in their 68 years of marriage, according to a post on the Piedmont Fayette Hospital’s Facebook page. The only time they were separated was when Tom, an Army veteran, was stationed in Korea. The couple was recently admitted to the orthopedic [...]