The Return of the Meltdown

Nate used to crumble often. He’s yell, pinch, hit, jump up and down. Whenever he was frustrated, he’d lash out in some way. As he’s gotten more verbal, his anxiety comes out through spoken, or shouted, language.

In high school, there was a classic episode about doing homework in class. Nate always liked doing his work in school, thereby eliminating, as much as possible, his home work. When he got stuck, and was told he couldn’t do his homework in class, he ran into the hallway and, at the top of his lungs, shrieked, “For the love of God, let me do my work!” His brothers heard him from their desks at various spots in the school.

As he neared graduation, Nate’s tantrums were few and far between, almost completely gone. Elise hasn’t seen anything remotely like what we used to experience daily in her 1 1/2 years as Nate’s aide. Until last week.

Nate had a test for his Social Problems class. He studied every day. I’d hear him reading his notes out loud; at times I’d sit with him to make sure he was covering the appropriate material slowly and carefully.

At the test center, Nate got to work with his new reader, with Elise sitting nearby. Midway through the exam, Nate dove to the floor in a flash, frantically trying to get at his notebook.

“I gotta get my notes! I got to get them in my head!” Elise cajoled him back on task but was surprised at his behavior. For us, it wasn’t new, merely a rerun of an old standby. She’s dealt with a more mature Nate, not the Nate of uncontrollable behavior.

Though Nate regrouped, and thought he might get an “M” for a grade (for mediocre), he’s not doing well in Social. It’s a difficult class, one that takes much common sense. Not Nate’s strong suit, to be sure.


About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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One Response to The Return of the Meltdown

  1. aspergersmom says:

    I am going to be honest. I laughed out loud at this. I laughed because your description of Nate running down the hall at school could well have been my son. We have 6 children but my Aspie son’s melt downs are completely unique – unlike anything I have ever seen from my more typical children. I wish you the best of luck as you work through this time. It is uplifting to read that I am not alone in some of these oddly humorous and often difficult scenarios.

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