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Brother of ASD, what should I do here?

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by Dontaskme495, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. Dontaskme495

    Dontaskme495 New Member It's My Birthday!

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    Hello all,

    I'm looking to get some advice on what I should do/not do when it comes to my brother's meltdowns. The worst stim is watching sports, he has a specific team and gets extremely upset when they lose... and they lose a lot. By upset, I mean hitting his head, yelling, swearing, slamming and breaking things sometimes. We have several doors and walls that have damage do to these meltdowns.

    I have read that I should attempt to steer his anger into something not as destructive like punching a pillow. But he gets more upset when I attempt this, or will hit the pillow briefly then leave it and continue on.

    We grew up in an abusive household and I have a low tolerance for yelling and screaming. I'm working on it with my own therapy. When it gets really bad, I have to leave the room, but I would like to mitigate the physical damage. What should I do/not do?
     
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  2. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    There is no controlling meltdowns once they are in progress. It's important to understand what a meltdown is. It's more than a tantrum as I'm sure you know. It's an expression of intense frustration and emotional pain that has gone beyond our capacity to control. Like neurotypical people, everyone's threshold is different and our ways of expressing those feelings are equally as varied, however the emotional overload which triggers them is similar in all of us according to the EEG & FMRI evidence and subjective reports available.
    The ONLY way to control meltdowns is to remove the stimulus. It may not be as simple as him not watching the sports that trigger it though. The sporting events may be the tipping point, but there are likely underlying problems for which the intensity of his sporting allegiance proves the outlet.
    There is no easy answer to this I'm afraid. If he can't tell you himself what he has pent up inside it's going to entail some detective work and possibly some soul searching.
    I think you already know that restraint is the very worst thing you can try and may end up with one or both of you getting hurt.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
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  3. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's a somewhat common question asked here from time to time. And as you see, the answer is pretty basic. That there's nothing you can do other than to be patient and allow them to come out of a meltdown- or shutdown on their own terms and not yours or anyone else.

    I know in my own case in a shutdown ( I don't have meltdowns in my old age) I'm apt to run away from the presence of any human beings. Though in your brother's case, I can understand your concern of him hurting himself as well as damaging property. In that respect I wish I had something more constructive to offer. But seriously, physically intervening in a meltdown is not a good idea under most any circumstances.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
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  4. Ken S.

    Ken S. Dog Cookie King V.I.P Member

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    As autism is different for each person the responses you get can only reflect the experiences of the individual. As for myself I used a heavy bag as an outlet for my anxiety when I was younger, Now I just sleep it off.
     
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  5. Dontaskme495

    Dontaskme495 New Member It's My Birthday!

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    :openmouth: I hadn't considered this before but it really struck a cord. We were constantly put down by one of our parents growing up, told he was "useless", "stupid", and "idiot" among other more serious things. The physical environment was... horrible. He has these meltdowns (but usually not as intense as sports) anytime we correct him on something. I think he's really taken that to heart. I gotta start working to undo all that.

    Yeah, it only makes it worse. The head hitting doesn't worry me, and he actually removes his glasses now. The only time is when he's about to damage walls, doors or something along those lines.

    Now I have a question! Did you find those outlets on your own or did somebody suggest them? Because my brother isn't at the point where he'll work on himself. If I suggest something he'll get upset.
     
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  6. ASD_Geek

    ASD_Geek Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Happy Birthday!

    Not sure what to say except for I know that I would appreciate a brother like you that has my best interests at heart. Best wishes!
     
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  7. Ken S.

    Ken S. Dog Cookie King V.I.P Member

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    @Dontaskme495 The idea came from my judo instructor. I was started at age 6 and there were children as young as 4 there.
     
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  8. Varzar

    Varzar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    In my experience, you can't help someone that doesn't want to help themselves (regardless of neurotype)... Seems to me like that would be the first hurdle to overcome..
     
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  9. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    I'm having a hard time picturing the residential situation here. Does your brother live with you? Are you both out of the parent's sphere of influence? How old is your brother? How high functioning is he?

    The idea that you necessarily have to let him go on having these meltdowns over sports team losses is not necessarily true. Depending on all the above factors, he might need to be asked to pay for some repairs for damage he causes. (not during the meltdown though!) If he can understand cause and effect, he might realize that it's not advantageous to support a losing team, or to let himself feel so invested, etc.

    Finally I have to mention that even if you're not concerned about his hitting his head, maybe you should be. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in professional football players may be as related to sub-concussive frequent impacts as to concussions.
     
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  10. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Redirection can be a useful tool. My wife's special education school has a heavy punching bag in the hallway. More often they encourage them to take a break from class and chill out in a quiet room or walk it off in the hallway. Long term however you want to try an encourage them to find ways to process and limit strong emotions mentally. But the best time to talk about it is probably not when it is happening but inbetween outburts when they can look at it more objectively, and hopefully more calmly. Short term it may be useful to identify and avoid known triggering stimulus. Using sports as an example, he can watch games but not if his favorite is playing. I actually had a similar situation but instead of a meltdown experienced uncomfortable anxiety, and a mild depression, that is it was not fun to watch my favorite team and so I eventually stopped watching them.
     
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  11. Major Tom

    Major Tom Searching for ground control... V.I.P Member

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    Like others have said, meltdowns are uncontrollable. I have an almost 7 year old son on the spectrum and when he melts down, I also just have to leave the room. Removing the stimuli sometimes works, but not if he's fixated on it, that just makes it worse.
    The only helpful suggestion I can offer is to get LOTS of exercise, praise him for the positive things he does, and show him you love him in whatever ways you can.
    Good luck, and Happy Birthday.
     
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