If there was an easy button for Autism, this would be mine. [disclaimer:This works for me. I don't know if it will work for you] I was at the store and there was a whole mess of match box cars on sale for $.69 so I purchased them, thinking I would just save them. I had to pick up Emerson so I hid them in this awesome drawer that is under the passenger seat of my new(to me) mom-mobile mini van. The MMMV! I hid them and promptly forgot about them, ADD style.
We live about 3 miles from my mom so it's our go-to outing destination(jealous of us world travelers aren't you?!) Emerson does not do well going home, he wants adventure.*Take that Autism stereo-types!* So on one such day, sporting a headache and dealing with all three kids solo because the hubby was on night shift, I loaded the MMMV up with my spawn. I was trying to buckle the squirmy baby in the to-small-for-him infant carrier(that's now been remedied btw) listening to seven year old Meadow complain for the umpteenth time,when she mentions the word
Brain melting screaming ensues from Emerson.
"NOT go HOME! Home is broken! Home is absent!!! WhaaaaAAAA!!"
Thanks Meadow! I think "what can I do before he makes the baby cry too?" light bulb! I remember the cars.(and pat myself on the back for being such a thrifty spender, never mind the copious amounts I spend at Starbucks <--Don't judge)
"Emerson, do you want a present?"
"Whaa-Oh yes!" wipes eyes.
"You may have a present if you sit in your seat and be happy until we get home."
"Oh yes!....Mama, Mama, Mama, you want to go home??"
Well that little trick has served me well on many occasions, like over stimulating birthday parties at ChuckEcheese(I know I'm insane) or trips to friends houses, when he refuses to go back to the humdrum of our safe boring house, that I've dubbed the "fish bowl" btw.
I make sure to use this technique only when needed, triaging each situation for magnitude of meltdown so we can avoid the most atomic ones because, really, if he is that upset his brain stops working.(and so does mine for that matter) I use it sparingly like you would morphine in that triage scenario, because too much would be damaging but it makes me feel better knowing I have options. I'll go with this novel of metaphors and say picking your battles can make all the difference, like mushroom-cloud-difference.
I know some people may judge my use of the word "bribery" because what I'm really talking about is reinforcement. I sort of like the image of myself as a 1920's gangster though, trying to corrupt my son with toy cars and iPhone apps.(better than being a triage nurse) But what the futz? It's about survival and those meltdowns look like they must kill brain cells, so we do what works and whatever will get us a wiggle on! <--20's slang is the elephant's eyebrows
1920's? Autism? Would that make him a flapper? Bwahaha!