Do you have a meltdown action plan?
Have you written it down somewhere?
Is it laminated?
Can I see it?
How much do you want for it?
I’ll devise my own!
But on a more serious note, if you have a meltdown action plan, and you have a meltdown in the workplace where can you go?
Given that you may have limited options?
Are you legally meant to advise your manager that A) You have autism and B) you are prone to meltdowns? And then C) Can you evacuate your desk/office to go and be able to calm yourself back down, alone and in your own time?
I am not a legal expert so I can’t answer the legal section of this blog post.
But back to the point of this post, let’s work out a meltdown action plan together
So we can break a meltdown down into three stages or cycles.
There is a build up of emotions which present themselves in the following ways words (screaming, nonsense noises), stereotypical behavior (fidgeting, rocking), and movement (pacing, walking in circles).
This can result in the autistic person losing control. They may start screaming, crying, flailing, or hitting themselves.
After the explosion/meltdown, the autistic person may well retreat. They may seek alone time, fall asleep, try to pretend that nothing happened, or apologise. After a meltdown, many autistic people feel shame and guilt for making a scene.
But where can you go to that is somewhere safe?
I don’t think that many organisations are going to spend money on a safe zone for their autistic employees.
But should they or do they have to?
So when you are next in work try to find and locate a safe spot, somewhere quiet that you can go to it may be a unsued office, or a stairwell, or if you can step outside and go somewhere where not many people may be like a park.
Maybe if your company that you work for is willing and accepts that as part of your autism meltdowns are connected then maybe alert them to what triggers can spark a meltdown make a list and make sure that they are across it.
So to recap.
Make a list of your triggers and make sure that someone is aware of them
Locate and find somewhere quiet that you can safely spend some time in calming yourself down
Develop a signal so that you can communicate to that person or persons who are aware that you suffer from meltdowns that you are about to have one, rather than drawing attention to yourself and setting of an alarm or sending up say a bat signal!
(For those of you who remember batman from TV, they would shine a bat signal into the night sky for him to come and save Gotham one night at a time and the people living and working in the fictional town would sleep easier in their beds at night, until danger came around the next night/day)
I hope that you can remember this plan and if not why not print it out and laminate it and take it to work with you so?