The Trauma of Losing His Bestest Car Ever

As if all of the stresses that come with your only car suddenly pooping out and being deemed scrap wasn’t enough, let’s add in autistic anxiety.

Yes, this is a “venting” post, but it’s also an attempt at raising awareness of just how much these children and adults sometimes have to deal with. And to increase public understanding that you WON’T always be able to tell why they’re acting out with poor behavior or a meltdown. AND most importantly, that you treating them with respect absolutely CANNOT hinge on whether or not you understand why the behavior is occurring.

Case in point. Yesterday, we sold the aforementioned piece of scrap so that we could get on with shopping for a new car. I did not expect what followed: 30 minutes of a very loud this:


You see, I didn’t realize that we were letting down a family member, which is how my six and a half year old described what we were doing to our car. Also, I didn’t realize how much worse I could make the situation by explaining the “selling for parts” thing. This is obviously equivalent to dismemberment. I don’t think we’ll have the human organ donor discussion for quite some time.

This was yesterday afternoon. Today, this morning, he is still suffering the aftershocks of loss. His behavior has been absolutely horrible. And he won’t dress according to the weather. I know that last one just seems like a weird kid thing. But it’s actually a sensory security thing. It’s 80 degrees in East Texas. Not exactly winter weather. But winter clothing keeps Javan feeling safe. So much so that when we do those weather worksheets that say “circle the clothes you would wear in each type of weather,” I have to allow him to circle gloves under any conditions. He wears gloves to stay safe.

So, why did we fight for an hour this morning about appropriate clothing? Because mom and dad are going car shopping today. And that’s not safe. That’s why.

So let me ask you this. If a child who you knew had recently and unexpectedly lost a family member was having a meltdown, being extremely disobedient, or wearing a jacket and gloves in the summer heat, would you treat them with understanding? Gentleness? Of course you would. You understand that things are going on in the child’s life that demand those responses from you.

But what if it seemed that nothing major was going on to demand extra patience, kindness, and understanding from you? What if it appeared that the child was just being a disobedient brat? A nuisance? You might feel that they don’t deserve the same respect as the child in the previous situation.

And you’d likely be wrong. I’m not immune to this type of response. In fact, I’m writing this as much for my own understanding as for yours. The point is, when a special needs child is acting up, there is most likely a good reason. It’s just not always, or even usually, a reason you or I can usually understand. Try to respect them anyway. Try to remember that they may be experiencing pain that we can’t perceive. You won’t always succeed, and neither will I. Just try.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Velma
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 12:15:08

    Thanks. I needed that.


  2. Ruthie
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 16:11:59

    Yeap, the excitement of a new car for other kids, turns into a loud trauma for some kids. Hard to know what will set them off but you make some really good points in having patience. Thanks.


  3. Cheyenne Nalls
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 19:36:14

    When we met at the mall that day, I saw him in his pajamas and gloves and thought, “Well, Krista lost that battle this morning,” but I think what I really meant was, “Krista chose not to have that battle this morning.” I knew you had learned to pick your battles and whether or not we wear pajamas in public was not one worth having. And you’re right – it’s not. (And for the record, we’ve all seen little girls in checkered knee high socks, black patent shoes, red sweat shirts, and tutus in July and thought the same thing. It’s cute.) I hope I did well by telling him those were cool gloves but not asking about them. I did notice that when it was time to eat (and maybe when he felt safe with me), he took them off without incident. I felt HUGELY complimented when he played a trick on me – a perfect stranger. I don’t understand all his ins-and-outs, and sometimes I forget that you don’t, either. Thank you for articles like this that help us understand.

    Stephanie Nalls A Concerned Citizen


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