Firefighter.

Finding my center has brought Liam peace. Understanding how my brain works and changing my perspective has helped Liam and I grow. Autism comes with behavior issues. Liam has burst of emotion that he can not process. The reason being is his prefrontal cortex (the front of the brain) processes differently. The link below is an explanation of the function of this section of the brain.

https://neuroscientificallychallenged.com/blog/2014/5/16/know-your-brain-prefrontal-cortex

“Patients who suffer damage confined to the prefrontal cortex often display normal movement, sensory perception, and even intelligence. But they frequently display deficits in executive functions, along with personality changes, abnormalities in emotional responses, and general difficulty functioning in their daily lives.”

I find it so important to understand this part of Liam. To understand that he does not WANT to purposely do the wrong thing. He simply lacks the ability to conform to what we perceive as the correct response.

My approach to Liam is this. Understanding, love, patience and acceptance. Liam will never conform to our normal. It is not how he was created. I can teach him the best I can to notice our social cue’s and to control emotion but it is not how he was programmed.

I imagine myself in his shoes. Trying to communicate and constantly being corrected. Constantly being told I am wrong. Forever feeling not enough. Not accepted for who I am. That is detrimental to a child. That constant feeling of being different will lead to depression and anxiety that will need major work to be undone in the future.

I meet all of Liam’s emotions with love and understanding. I correct behaviors with explanation not punishment. I pull him out of his anger with the opposite emotion, love.

I like to think of it this way. When I get upset, I have this fire in my chest. It builds and builds until I want to explode. I can hold it in if I choose or I can let it loose. If I let it loose, I also have the ability to put it out. I imagine that fire not being contained. Not having a door. The fire is ignited and spreads fast with no way to put it out. No way to stop it. It just needs to burn out on its own. That is what Liam goes though in a meltdown. His fire ignites and spreads like wildfire with no way to put it out.

Then I imagine being engulfed in flames and having the one person I trust to put it out screaming at me to behave. Yelling when all I need is them to help me put out the fire or sit with me until it burns out.

This is how I have adjusted my brain to view Liam. In moments he needs me most I will be his firefighter, not another match.

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