Kids with autism have their routines. You learn what they are and you allow them to dominate your children’s lives. It is the best way to make them feel safe and comfortable wherever they are. My kids like to be at home where they have all their games, the TV, and assorted toys. They can preoccupy themselves for hours on end like any child. I like when they interact with each other and especially with me. I encourage variety although it is not always easy to attain. Most of the time we have harmony in the house if all goes according to plan. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. I can think of a few times when meltdowns have occurred for practically no reason at all. It is simply due to a change in mood. Some kids are fickle about how they feel and they don’t shy away from expressing it.
One night the power went out in a major storm. That in itself was enough to scare them to hide under the bed. I gave them a flashlight but it didn’t help. They had a break in their routine of watching TV or playing a video game or two before bed. Since this has happened a few times in the past, I was smart enough to buy the best generator. The expense was worth every penny to keep peace in the house. This was our savior that night. I also had remembered in advance to buy a portable DVD player that didn’t need much power. The generator worked fine and the kids could indulge for a couple of hours. It virtually saved the day. The meltdown dissolved and the boys were back to normal and then some. They liked the idea of the auxiliary power and wanted to know how it worked. Candles and flashlights were not enough to keep them quiet and content.
I can’t remember a better evening than the night of the storm. It is interesting that the howling winds and thrashing rain didn’t scare them at all. When in front of a video game, they are completely absorbed. They could go for a long time entranced and it is difficult to tear them away. That is the problem with TV and games for most kids. You have to set a definite time limit that they will respect. Fortunately, my boys are good sports because they know they will be back glued to the screen the next night. I don’t allow 24 hours a day of such stuff as that would be destructive to their little brains. I don’t believe in over indulgence or keeping your kids calm the wrong way. I also want them to have creative time when they are on their own with art supplies, books, and assorted tools. Life for kids has to have multi dimensions. But on a dark, stormy night, TV and games will do the job nicely for a while. It quells the panic thanks to the generator.