Like a lot of autistic people I have always struggled with meltdowns. Ever since I was a very young child if I grow overloaded, or become too stressed, I can have a meltdown and shout, lash out, or break things. Even though some aspects of these are less severe now than when I was younger, meltdowns are something I have struggled with my entire life. There is very little that can help me to calm down, or relax when I am in the middle of such an outburst. Or even make me feel better immediately after having one. Possibly the only thing that can is having contact with my dogs. My oldest dog Fred is nearly sixteen, and I am twenty-one, so for the majority of the time I have been having outbursts Fred has been there.
I can`t remember how I first found out that Fred helped to calm me down. But I know that after a while I started going to him after I had a meltdown, just to lie down with him, or stroke him, and that this would bring me a sense of comfort. Even though Fred doesn’t always like being picked up, or stroked he always seems happy to spend time with me after I have had a meltdown. And when I was younger just being able to spend that time with him would help me to relax, and calm me down. I would walk round holding him and gradually become less and less stressed as I did so. Even now as an adult the same is true. Nothing calms me down quicker than being able to spend some time with the dogs. I know this is something that is true for a lot of other autistic people, and even some people without autism. Animals can just be a calming influence overall. And if you are somebody like me who feels stressed and anxious every single day, and always has done, then having such a calming influence, that is also part of the family, is a huge help.
My dogs Fred and Poppy are the inspiration behind ASK-PERGERS? new book Autism & Animals – the benefits of animals for autistic people, available for pre-order now J
If you need any more help or advice about Asperger`s/Autism or simply want to talk about it check out our free help and advice service ASK-PERGERS?
And have a look at our books (at the time published under pseudonyms, but we did write them trust us on that!) http://www.jkp.com/catalogue/author/1762