Heather McCarthy

@heather-mccarthy | contributor
Heather McCarthy has been a seventh-grade language arts teacher for the past 13 years. She is also the cofounder of Someone Special Uniquely Personalized Books, a company inspired by her daughter that creates personalized picture books for children with special needs. Heather has been married for 11 years and is the mother of Maya and Christian.

10 Ways to Give Back to the Medical Community on MLK Day

One of the greatest civil rights leaders, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., lived his life serving others. He believed in inclusion for all and made the civil rights movement about universal acceptance. Following his example, millions of Americans use Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a Day of Service. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, breaks down barriers, and brings us closer to Dr. King’s dream of a world where there are equal rights for all human beings. As a mom of a child with extra medical needs, I use this day of service as a reminder of what I can do to give back to the medical community that has helped my family. I believe giving back is one of the greatest lessons we can teach our children. Here are 10 ways anyone can give back to the medical community. Ronald McDonald House We collect pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House all year long. The Pop Tab Program shows how little things can make a big difference. Collecting tabs you pull to open soda, soup or other aluminum cans greatly offsets the house’s expenses. The Ronald McDonald House also accepts volunteers for baking cookies, cooking dinner and for other activities such as house cleaning and working the front desk. 5K Walks Participating in a 5K family walk is an excellent way to support organizations that have supported you. Our family walks in a variety of 5Ks each year supporting hospitals, special needs organizations and rare disease research. Kindness Rocks The Kindness Rock Project was created to spread inspiration and a moment of kindness for unsuspecting recipients through random inspirational rocks dropped along the way. A lot of family fun can be had collecting, painting and delivering the rocks. Think about spreading the rocks near your local park, children’s hospital or other places you enjoy visiting as a family. Donate Blood Blood donations are a precious gift. Blood donations can help save a life or even several lives depending on how the blood is used. It is easy to find a location and it takes less than 30 minutes to save a life. You can donate blood once every eight weeks. Lemonade Stand A good old fashioned lemonade stand or an upgraded popcorn, Kool-aid or treat stand can generate a lot of money. Choose an organization to donate your funds to and celebrate making a difference. Toy Donations Hospitals can always use toy donations. For the safety of the patients, hospitals usually only accept new toys. Some donated items will be kept in-hospital for ongoing use, while other donations will be gifted to patients to take home. You can always check online for urgent needs, everyday requests and holiday wish lists. I have found many hospitals have a strong music and art focus and appreciate donations of art supplies as simple as boxes of crayons. Portable activities to help distract children during painful procedures, treatments, and exams are always a great idea. Monetary Donations Keeping a jar for spare coins can add up quickly. Saving your change for a month or two or even a year can make a big difference to one of your favorite organizations. First Responder Goodies If you have a medically fragile family, you may be using first responders a little more often than you would like. A nice way to thank them is to send over some treats or thank you cards. We have found our local first responders are extremely grateful when we stop by to show our appreciation. Thank You Cards Thank you cards are a simple way to show your gratitude. First responders, doctors, nurses and the hospital staff in general will be delighted to receive a thank you card. We also enjoy handing out thank you cards to people who would least expect it such as the UPS delivery person who delivers our medicated formula and the pharmacist who fills our prescriptions. Notes on Cars at Hospitals One other way we enjoy giving back to others and spreading a little joy is to leave random notes of encouragement at our local hospital. As a family, we create inspirational signs such as, “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” Our cards, notes and signs are put on random cars throughout the hospital parking garage providing a spark of hope and love to its recipient. In the words of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The time is always right to do what is right.” Have fun serving others, paying it forward, and enjoy your Day of Service. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

My Kids With Disabilities Helped Me Have a New Perspective

Growing up we had a sign that hung over our kitchen sink that read: “Thank God for dirty dishes, for they have a tale to tell.While others may go hungry, we are eating well.With health, home, and happiness, we surely shouldn’t fuss,For by this stack of evidence God has been very good to us.” Despite the sign, my parents still made me do the dishes all the time and liked an empty, clean sink. The poem, however, stayed with me and showed a different perspective. I often think about that poem when I look at my own two children with disabilities. I remember to be grateful when my kids disagree and argue with each other. While no one loves to hear kids screaming, yelling, arguing and fighting over something as simple as which cartoon to watch, I am reminded if they are yelling and screaming it means they have energy. If they have energy, they are healthy. When Maya and Christian are running through the house, playing outside games inside or trying to be Ninja Warriors on my furniture, I remember to be grateful. Watching them flip over couches is better than watching them lay in a hospital bed. It really bothers me when my 7-year-old has 14 different outfits laid out for school. Then I remember to be grateful she can attend school. She is healthy enough to go learn and play with her friends. The clothes can easily be put away. No matter how much effort goes into the clean-up, the toy room often looks like a tornado went through it. However, I’d much rather have them destroy our toy room at home instead of walking down the cold halls of the hospital to get to the sterile toy room available for patients. I remember to be grateful for the clothes covered in mud because it means my kids were able to go outside, play, explore and get dirty. They were exposed to germs and did not get sick. They were able to play like any other child who doesn’t have a rare metabolic condition. I remember to be grateful for when they constantly ask for a special treat, an extra cookie or more dessert. Their hunger means their Propionic Acidemia is stable. They are able to eat, be healthy and happy. I’m not saying that a messy house, piles of laundry, and screaming hungry children don’t ever bother me. Trust me, it does! But when I stand back and look at it from a different perspective, I can see by that stack of evidence that God has been very good to us. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

TSA Tips for Parents of Kids With Disabilities or Medical Needs

My whole body breaks out in a sweat even though I’m in a frigid airport.  My heart is beating so hard it’s making my ears hurt. Maya walks through first, followed by Christian, and finally me. Getting through the metal detector scanner is the easy part. Now we wait for our bags to be pulled. Summertime is travel time for my family. However, traveling with two children who have disabilities is not an easy task. We usually travel by car to avoid the TSA. I can only imagine what they see from their professional eye: a bag full of liquids, containers of powder, milky substances, formulas, medications and machinery with tubes and buttons — all accompanied by an extremely nervous-looking woman. Back at the checkpoint, our bags get pulled to the side as I stand trembling with our doctor-issued travel letters for each child. My speech is prepared and my mind is racing. What could appear to be a security threat is the lifeline for my children. Every single liquid is needed. Nothing can be dumped, quickly drank or discarded. By the grace of God, I meet Stephanie. She is a TSA agent working in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Stephanie saw the fear in my eyes and heard the shakiness in my voice as she looked over my travel letters and walked me through each step of the process with ease.   In hopes of assisting others through this process, here’s what I learned from Stephanie: 1. Get a travel letter. Both of my children have a travel letter from their doctor. This letter states they have Propionic Acidemia and will be traveling with medication. The letter states the names of all medications and says, “We request that you provide the family with assistance while traveling and allow them to carry Maya’s medically necessary formula and medication with them.” The letter also provides a phone number to contact with any questions regarding the patient’s needs. 2. An emergency protocol paper can help. While an emergency protocol paper is not necessary for a TSA screening, I personally feel it helps them understand the severity of the situation. Since we never go anywhere without this letter, I add it to the travel letter for emphasis. 3. Medications are always allowed. You are exempt from the 3.4 ounces rule. You’re allowed to bring medically necessary liquids, medications and creams that would normally be considered too large for a carry-on. They also do not have to be in a separate plastic zip-top bag. It is recommended that medications are clearly labeled. They will need to go through a visual or x-ray screening and possibly be tested for traces of explosives. Stephanie recommends informing the TSA officer about your medications before the screening begins.   4. Frozen is good. Anything frozen cannot be explosive. Ice packs, freezer packs and gel packs can all be used to keep medicine cool. You can also bring frozen or partially frozen water bottles no matter what size they are. 5. Everyone stays together. If your child has an intellectual or developmental disability, they can be screened without being separated from you. It is recommended you talk to the TSA officer about the screening ahead of time. You can even get a TSA notification card to help describe your child’s condition. 6. Mobility warning. All walking aids, crutches, canes or mobility aids have to go through the x-ray screening. If they do not fit through the machine, the TSA officer will need to inspect them. TSA officers will screen wheelchairs and scooters. Stephanie says to let the officer know if you need your device back immediately. If your child can stand with his or her arms above their head for five to seven seconds without support, then they will use the advanced imaging technology. If they cannot stand let the TSA officer know and they will use the pat-down method. 7. Service animals stay together, too. Your child and his or her service animal will be screened together by a walk-through metal detector. Even if the animal sets off the alarm, the TSA officer will not separate your child from their animal. Service collars, harnesses, leashes and vests may need additional screening, but do not have to be removed to be screened. 8. Give yourself extra time. Most people follow the two-hour rule to get through security and to their gate on time. When traveling with medical equipment, make sure you give yourself extra time. You do not want to rush the TSA officer and you don’t need the additional stress of worrying if you’ll make your flight. 9. Go for TSA PreCheck. Stephanie highly recommended TSA PreCheck. If you’re approved, you do not need to take off your shoes, belt or jacket. You still go through a screening checkpoint and might have your hands swabbed, but the wait time is usually under five minutes. The TSA PreCheck approval starts with an online application. Traveling with children is difficult. Traveling with children who have disabilities adds an additional layer of difficulty. Thank you, Stephanie, for alleviating some of our stress! We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Propionic Acidemia: What I Learned From This Rare Disease Conference

I’m sitting in a conference room listening to researchers, doctors, and dietitians challenge each other. They’re questioning each other’s studies, pressing to gain more information, debating on best practices. This would normally sound like a nightmare, but I’m in heaven. As a mom to two children with propionic acidemia, it’s music to my ears to sit in a room full of specialists wanting to find the best treatment, solutions, and care for my children and our rare community. I had the privilege of attending the Propionic Acidemia Foundation’s Warrior Wisdom Conference. When you’re part of a rare community, you don’t always have the opportunity to meet likeminded people. Today I sit with 15 different affected families from 17 states and Canada. The room is full of doctors, dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, researchers, school support, and genetic counselors from 10 leading institutions.   From this conference, I learned that we may be small, but we are mighty. It’s understandable that researchers want to find a cure for the most common diseases. If you cure something that affects many, your cure has a greater impact. So to find so many people listening, challenging, and debating, I could not be happier. Research shows only one in 100,000 people in the U.S. are affected by propionic acidemia. While that puts us in a rare category, it also helps us to become even mightier. Every time we can get doctors and researchers to communicate, connect, and debate with each other, we become stronger. Every time we can bring families together to talk to each other, share stories, and help each other, we become mightier. Every time we can challenge nutritional guidelines, therapies, and funding, we become more powerful. From this conference, I learned that we are important. Moms and dads, siblings, and other family members in the rare community always find each other important. This conference showed we are important to the researchers. We are important to the doctors. We are important to the nutritionists, to the genetic counselors, the nurses, to the undiagnosed, to the future medical field, and to the children who may be born with propionic acidemia. Finally, I learned there is hope. I learned that together we can expand newborn screening processes, work to get coverage for medical formulas and foods, and begin drug trials and new studies. We can expand patient registries and open additional grants for new studies and research projects. If you belong to a rare community, you are not alone. You can be rare and mighty at the same time. You are unique and you are important. Have hope! The Propionic Acidemia Foundation is dedicated to finding improved treatments and a cure for propionic acidemia by funding research and providing information and support to families and medical professionals. To find out more, visit http://www.pafoundation.com/. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

7 Pictures Showing How Propionic Acidemia Affects My Kids' Lives

Rare Disease Day takes place on the last day of February each year. The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness among the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives. Both Maya (age 7) and Christian (age 3) have a rare metabolic condition called propionic acidemia. This rare disease means their bodies cannot process protein properly. In honor of Rare Disease Day, here are seven pictures showing how life can be affected by a rare disease. 1. Small illnesses such as a common cold, a virus, or stomach bug end up being a big deal for children with propionic acidemia. We work hard to avoid germs. 2. Our kitchen doubles as a “science lab.” We have cabinets dedicated for formulas, medications, food scales, nutrition books, and medical supplies. Each formula is used for a different purpose. One is used daily in a strict recipe. Others are used for increased calories and for when the kids are on a “sick diet.” 3. Medical equipment turns into commonplace toys. Syringes become water shooters in the bathtub and medical gloves are used as balloon animals.   4. We need a “prize box” for successful trips to the doctor. Propionic acidemia requires Maya and Christian to see a genetic team including the geneticist, dietician, and genetic counselor besides their regular pediatrician. Blood draws are the toughest part on the kids. 5. Their toys are always “sick.” The dolls get cotton balls in their diapers for urine samples, stuffed animals receive ECHOs, and even the superhero toys are not exempt from blood work. 6. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. Multiple cabinets are dedicated to medical papers, test results, Early Intervention reports, 504 plans, and insurance paperwork. Food journals are used to keep track of daily nutrition and emergency numbers are found in multiple places throughout the house. 7. Celebrations are seen everywhere. Because having two children with a rare disease can take a toll on everyone in the household, we make sure to celebrate the positives on a daily basis. Every day is a day to celebrate and live life to its fullest. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

My Playlist of Songs for a Parent of a Child With Propionic Acidemia

Our family loves music. Our daily dance parties take place in either the kitchen or basement. My 7-year-old daughter Maya, my 3-year-old son Christian, my husband Rob, and I all take turns choosing a song to play on our Amazon Alexa device. As a mom to two children with special needs, music seems to have a deeper meaning to me. Every song I hear somehow relates back to my kids, our struggles, and our triumphs. Playing songs we relate to can help us in hard times and in happier moments, knowing others are feeling the same way. Here is my playlist as a propionic acidemia parent: “I Lived” by OneRepublic I remember when I was young, my mom would play “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack. I feel like “I Lived” is the new remix. Both songs have the message of living life to its fullest. “I Lived” has the lyrics, “I…I did it all, I…I did it all. I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places. The things that I did.” I hope my children do it all, try it all, and live their lives to the fullest. “Stand By You” by Rachel Platten The Pretenders have a song called, “I’ll Stand By You”, in which they said, “I’ll stand by you. Won’t let anyone hurt you.” I love that song and also love Rachel Platten’s “Stand By You,” where she sings, “ Oh, tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes. And hurt, I know you’re hurting, but so am I. And, love, if your wings are broken borrow mine ‘til yours can open, too. ‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you.” I will always stand by my children. They will never be alone. We will have faith together and fight through anything that comes our way. “A Better Place” by Rachel Platten This is a second Rachel Platten song I love based on the lyrics: “It’s a better place since you came along. Your touch is sunlight through the trees. Your kisses are the ocean breeze. Everything’s all right when you’re with me.” I truly feel my world is a better place since my children came along. Their unconditional love and humorous personalities are a joy to everyone they meet. “One Call Away” by Charlie Puth Like many moms, you sometimes have to play the role of Superman or Wonder Woman. Puth sings, “I’m only one call away. I’ll be there to save the day. Superman got nothing on me. I’m only one call away.” I hope my children know I will always be there for them. They might think I am their superhero, but really they are my heroes. “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor feat. John Legend While this seems like a sad song, it is a reminder to me to love my children every day to the fullest and to cherish every second together. Trainor sings, “So I’ll kiss you longer baby, and chance that I get. I’ll make the most of the minutes and love with no regrets.” The truth is tomorrow is not promised for anyone, so make the most of every moment with the ones you love. “Hold Each Other” by A Great Big World With lyrics like, “Something happens when I hold her. She keeps my heart from getting older. When the days get short and the nights get a little bit colder, we hold each other,” this song always reminds me of my kids and what a great feeling it is just to hold them. Maya is now 7 and still wants to be held – and everything feels better for me when I hold her. At 3 years old, Christian loves to snuggle, but I think I love it even more. “Lay It All on Me” by Rudimental feat. Ed Sheeran If it were possible, many parents would take on our children’s illnesses. We all wish we could take away their pain, uncertainties, and worries. In this song Rudimental says, “If it hurts and you can’t take no more, lay it all on me.” When I hear this song it makes me want to take on my children’s’ burdens, troubles, and sorrows. Though we can’t take it way, we can certainly remind them we are here for them and they can “lay their burdens on us” anytime. “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars Bruno Mars is my all-time favorite artist, and this song certainly lives up to my expectations for him. Bruno says, “If you ever find yourself stuck in the middle of the sea, I’ll sail the world to find you. If you ever find yourself lost in the dark and you can’t see, I’ll be the light to guide you.” Beside the upbeat, catchy tune of this song, it also has great lyrics about being there for each other. “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities This song is not about only keeping your children safe and sound. With lyrics such as, “I could lift you up. I could show you what you want to see, and take you where you want to be,” this song is also about the things you will do for the people you love. Together, we will keep each other safe and sound. “Victorious” by Panic at the Disco All moms need a victory song. This is my song to play after I make it through a day without too much drama. When the kids are tucked in for the night and are happy, healthy, and safe, I sing along with Panic at the Disco: “Tonight we are victorious. Champagne pouring over us. All my friends were glorious. Tonight we are victorious!” We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Propionic Acidemia Patient Playlist of Songs

In my last blog post, I shared my playlist of songs for a propionic acidemia parent. I have two children with propionic acidemia who love to have daily dance parties. My 7-year-old daughter Maya not only loves dancing but also singing at the top of her lungs. While Maya loves these songs because she knows the lyrics and the beats and can show off her dance moves, I love them for the deeper meaning they bring me as I watch her sing them. It could be a coincidence, but Maya seems to be drawn to songs of inspiration, hope, and strength. I am honored to share Maya’s playlist of favorite songs, along with my favorite lyric to hear her sing from each one. “Brave” by Sara Bareilles “Honestly I wanna see you be brave.” A mother’s wish for any child. “Let It Go” from “Frozen” performed by Idina Menzel “It’s time to see what I can do. To test the limits and break through.” “Get Back Up Again” from “Trolls” performed by Anna Kendrick “Hey! I’m not giving up today. There’s nothing getting in my way. And if you knock knock me over. I will get back up again.” “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift “But I keep cruising. Can’t stop, won’t stop moving. It’s like I got this music in my mind saying it’s gonna be all right.” “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga “’There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are,’ she said, cause he made you perfect, babe. So hold your head up girl and you’ll go far.” “Roar” by Katy Perry “I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter. Dancing through the fire. ‘Cause I am the champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar.” “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten “This is my fight song. Take back my life song. Prove I’m all right song. My power’s turned on. Starting right now I’ll be strong.” “Me Too” by Meghan Trainor “I thank God every day. That I woke up feelin’ this way. And I can’t help lovin’ myself. And I don’t need nobody else.” “Happy” by Pharrell Williams “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth. (Because I’m happy)” We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

8 Hopeful Quotes From Former President Obama's Farewell Address

January was a busy month for politics. We watched former President Obama say farewell, Donald Trump take office, millions of women march and rally, and we watched a nation in political tension. As I scrolled through my political newsfeed tonight, I came across President Obama’s farewell speech and read it from a different perspective. I read it as a special needs mom looking for hope, searching for encouragement, and needing reassurance. Here are eight quotes to remind others to embrace differences, accept others, be an advocate, and believe you can make the world a better place. Thank you, President Obama. 1. “For every two steps forward, it often feels we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all and not just some.” 2. Quoting Atticus Finch, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” 3. “Change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it.” 4. “Democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity. The idea that, for all our outward differences, we are all in this together; that we rise or fall as one.” 5. “We need to uphold laws against discrimination… But laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change.” 6. “If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing.” 7. “Sometimes you’ll win. Sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir of goodness in other people, that can be a risk. And there will be times when the process will disappoint you.” 8. “I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.” Editor’s note: This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community. Image via Wikimedia Commons / The White House. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .

Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes That Relate to Disability Awareness

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest civil rights leaders. What made him such an exceptional leader was his ability to make the civil rights movement a universal acceptance of values. He didn’t speak solely about African-American rights, but for all human rights. He had a vision of justice and equal rights that included all human beings. Here are 12 quotes from Dr. King that are relevant to tolerance, love, human rights and disability awareness. 1. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 2. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” 3. “People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” 4. “It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people.” 5. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 6. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” 7. “We’ve learned to fly the air as birds. We’ve learned to swim the seas as fish, yet we haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.” 8. “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” 9. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort andconvenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” 10. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” 11. “Without love, there is no reason to know anyone, for love will in the end connect us to our neighbors, our children and our hearts.” 12. “It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Propionic Acidemia Meltdowns in Kids Are Not Tantrums

When we hear about meltdowns, most people automatically think about a child with autism. We read about sensory meltdowns, the difference between a meltdown and a tantrum, and how people react when seeing a meltdown in public. While meltdowns are common in the autism community, they’re not unique to only those with sensory processing disorders. A meltdown is basically neurological chaos. On the outside you might see screaming, crying, rolling around, and thrashing about. But on the inside the brain is on overload. The person is not trying to get their way or draw attention to themselves. They are in an overwhelming situation and having an emotional reaction they cannot control. I would like to share an example from my non-autistic son. Christian is a 2-year-old who has propionic acidemia and spends a lot of time in the hospital getting blood work and tests done. He has had a few stays in the hospital requiring IVs and various tests. He does not have any sensory processing issues and is average to his peers in the social emotional category. One day Christian, my daughter Maya, and I went to the mall for a special treat from one of their favorite stores. After buying them exactly what they wanted, my daughter announced she had to use the bathroom. Right as we were turning the corner to head down the hallway to the bathroom, Christian dropped to the ground screaming. He was screaming, crying, and yelling incoherent words. No matter what I tried, he wouldn’t stop. I could not get him off the ground or console him in any way. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. People stared and pointed. Mothers turned their children’s heads away from the scene. The seconds seemed liked hours. I am positive they thought I had a bratty kid who didn’t get the toy he wanted. Finally, I was able to get on the ground with Christian and get him to calm down. Christian can communicate really well for his age, so I attempted to find out why he was so upset. It was actually my 6-year-old daughter Maya who assisted with the translation. The problem was with the tiles on the wall in the hallway. They were the exact same tiles used in the hallway of the hospital Christian frequents. When he saw those tiles, he could not handle the stress. His brain flooded with emotions, and he panicked. Christian was not a 2-year-old throwing a tantrum, and Christian does not have autism. Anyone can have a meltdown. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here .