I just read something that really concerned me, because to be honest I genuinely wasn’t aware that this advice was still given.
High anxiety/meltdowns and being physically restrained.
This happened to me a lot at a child, especially at boarding school by staff that usually looked like bouncers. I would react, become afraid or frustrated and be physically held for hours sometimes. What happened was they held me until I couldn’t fight any more, until I was so physically and mentally exhausted I crashed into burnout. It caused me to distrust my dad, staff at school and made physical contact very uncomfortable. It also relies on a lot of trust now otherwise people don’t feel safe, especially men.
It doesn’t just have short time implications with physical contact either. I suspect this is part of the reason I can’t even have a hug from my wife or daughter when stressed. I literally need 5/6 feet between me and anyone. If someone does walk towards me when I’m not fully settled and don’t know them well enough fear kicks in, very very quickly. It’s times like this I then have to protect others from my instinctual reactions which were created by others.
Space and time to settle, somewhere natural and quiet is the best option in my opinion.
Physically restraining an autistic person may mean when all they want is to be held and feel safe, times they really need that.. that may not be an option, ever.
That’s what being physically restrained as a child did for me.
All my best and love
Words – Ross A Fraser
Graphic Design App – Canva