Meltdowns are often spectacular features at our house, with girlies screaming and growling and storming off, doors slamming until they have worked it out. I know, that sounds like perfectly normal girlie behavior, not autism, and yet, there's no doubt that it's not a tantrum.
These meltdowns occur after sensory overload--either too many demands being placed on one of them at one time, or too much noise, or just too much in all.
I am proud that they have learned to retain enough self-control to remove themselves from the situation, and that they work hard at school to control things, that Rosie is learning to vocalize her needs to her teachers. And yet, this need to advocate for themselves when they are on the bus is still not there.
With a new bus driver and a full bus, it was almost inevitable that the girls were going to be subject to more harassment. Gone was their guaranteed seat behind the driver and they lacked the self confidence to demand that accommodation. Many days one or the other would come home bent out of shape over mistreatment and there were occasional tears.
Last week, though, Rosie came in the door splotchy faced and crying hard--a younger child had spent much of the ride repeatedly popping Rosie in the face, and the bus driver did not stop it--don't know that he saw it, and Rosie and Lily were unable to figure out how to communicate to the bus driver.
So, no more bus rides. Sure, I could have insisted they stay on the bus, and that the school fix it, but the reality is they can't guarantee it would stop--it didn't when the girls sat directly behind the bus driver; it's just that he was aware and able to come to their aid.
Picking them up adds length to my day, but it's worth it to see happy, smiling girls coming to my car versus seeing distraught girls coming into the house from the bus.
I started with meltdowns, and the title that I would yell if I could. There is something to be said for childhood when yelling was somehow allowable even if punishable.
My classes are watching Catch-22, and several times, Yossarian screams, either directly into the camera or clapping his hands up to his head. I admit to jealousy. I would yell if I could.