Aidan's second ever therapy session was today. He got to talk to the therapist about the incident on Thursday with the fighting, the meltdown Friday and desire to kill himself, and everything else that's been going on lately. When he was done the therapist of course had me come back so we could talk about everything that they discussed and make some plans to help Aidan out.
After talking to Aidan, the therapist concluded that Aidan's biggest frustration and cause of meltdowns is the feeling of being out of control. It can be when he's playing a game, or if he doesn't agree with rules, or if his expectations were one way and something else happened, or overstimulation, or any other form of losing control. We all have issues with this, and it causes some level of frustration for everyone. Aidan's problem is managing those emotions when they happen. The therapist said that emotional regulation is a major weak point for Aidan and so he came up with some things that might help.
First of all, Aidan needs to learn to recognize and label his emotions. Is he angry? Sad? Frustrated? Scared? We're going to try to come up with a chart that he can point to the face he's feeling when he can't think of the name of what he's feeling. Secondly, once he recognizes what he's feeling he has to be able to take the next step which is to calm down until that emotion passes rather than letting it take control and causing a meltdown or aggression toward someone or something. Aidan and the therapist came up with a few options which included a time out, watching TV, playing with the dog, or getting a back rub. We're going to talk about some others later (he's a bit exhausted now after talking to the therapist for an hour). Eventually he's going to have to learn that he can't be in control of everything, especially rules and other people, much less any outward environment or other peoples' actions. Hopefully we can teach him this soon.