To me it seems that there are so many ideas, thoughts, visions, dreams and challenges that enter our mind on a continuous basis and it all has to be disseminated and filtered so we can make choices based on many factors that affect not only our mind but also affect our senses and how we feel which affects our emotion. To try to understand it all would take many years of intense studying and a tremendous amount of dedication. It is just part of the gifts we are born with that allows us to tap into our mind’s potential. Some decisions that we make are on impulse and require very little thought. Some decisions are based on threat and we act instantly for self preservation with our reaction to the stimulus.
In understanding how we react to things it is our ability to filter out all the stimuli affecting us and how we perceive it which then elicits our response once we have processed it all. This literally happens instantaneously between the stimulus and the reaction. The mind of an autistic child is harder to understand because it seems that autistic children have a much more difficult time filtering out all the stimuli and they can be overwhelmed by it all and decide they can only do one thing and that is to shut down emotionally and that is when they go into protective mode and put up their guards and experience meltdowns and have all sorts of difficulties relating to their situation. It is a very stressful time for them and it can take quite a while to get them to calm down and back to where they were before they were set off. It really can be an alarming experience for the people around the individual going through an autistic fit, tantrum or episode. Usually it requires a great deal of patience, caring and understanding to help an autistic child get through these difficult moments. For an autistic child it seems they can not make sense of the experiences they are going through and they then react in an unstructured and alarming way which has to be addressed by psychological evaluation and most likely medical intervention.
The best thing you can do for your child if they are having a difficult time is to talk to them as calmly as you can which may not be so easy given the circumstances. The worst thing to do is to succumb to frustration and scream at your child because this will only worsen the situation and make your child more likely to intensify their undesired response. It can be very frustrating in dealing with melt downs and tantrums but if you have experienced a number of them you will eventually learn how to react to your child’s needs and hopefully get them calmed down and relaxed in a reasonable time. Another strategy to hopefully alleviate the potential of a meltdown is to have your child allowed to bring something with them that provides comfort to them or promotes enjoyment. Our son likes to listen to music so it would be a good idea to have him bring his ipod to listen to his favorite songs and hopefully this will provide him with the comfort he needs to prevent such an episode from happening.
The workings of the mind truly makes interesting reading and understanding how we store and process information and how we react to situations is all part of our mind working and triggering our responses. We certainly can see how truly powerful our mind is and it all seems so amazing the tremendous influences our mind has on our daily lives that it takes a considerable effort in trying to make sense of it all as it seems so complex and so simple all at the same time.
Edward D. Iannielli III