Ever wondered why change triggers an epic wave of emotions or meltdowns for many autistics?

Summer Farrelly, one of our A List Ambassadors describes how meltdowns occur after a build up of emotions.

The easiest way for me to explain it is by providing a visual metaphor.

I like to call it the lasagne layer effect.

It’s usually an accumulation of things that trigger a meltdown.

For example, I’m going to the beach, I need to take my hat, I can’t find my hat.

I start to get stressed; my anxiety is starting to rise.

Wait! I find my hat. I start to calm down, I can self-regulate, it’s okay.

Add the first layer to the lasagne.

I arrive at the beach only to find the beach is closed, there’s a shark sighting.

I now am battling with the huge emotion related to disappointment; this is really hard to overcome.

I have to work extra hard to self-regulate. I’ve got it under control but I am feeling agitated.

Add two layers to the lasagne.

As I am walking to the car my brother grabs my hat and throws it on the ground.

Already agitated I want to scream. I count to ten, self-regulate but I am really struggling.

Add another layer to the lasagne

Mum decides to stop at the Cafe to get us ice cream. I go over to order my usual ice cream, but the only ice cream I eat is sold out.

This time you can’t add any more lasagne layers because the tray is full, it’s starting to overflow.

Just like the emotions you have been trying to self-regulate all day.

You may not even notice that we are struggling to self-regulate, because sometimes we aren’t even aware until it’s too late ourselves.

I know from experience, that when I am no longer in control of my emotions, a meltdown starts.

Summer x

A cartoon picture of Summer and her chickens

Summer Farelly is an A List Amabassador – find out more about our A List Ambassadors

See more from Summer on her Website.


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