And I say, “suffering with meltdowns” because after spending nearly 18 years helping my daughter through her own challenges with aggressive behavior, I have truly come to believe that when she is melting down she is suffering.
Meltdowns are not the temper tantrums of spoiled brats who haven't gotten their own way.
And what may seem like a perfectly bearable situation to the average Joe Schmoe may be a completely intolerable and overwhelming situation to a person with autism or other special need.
My husband and I have been accused by others a few times of, “letting our spoiled special needs brat get away with murder.”
Let me tell you, when we hear those words, it hurts and it's heartbreaking.
After witnessing my daughter have a meltdown, people who don't know my her very well or even at all, often assume that she does nothing but meltdown 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
They sum up and label her as a “special needs brat” based only on seeing her at her worst, most vulnerable moments when she is going through a traumatic experience, enduring an unbearable sensory overload or she has otherwise somehow been pushed beyond her limits.
To those people I say this, 'Do not judge my daughter's entire life story based on what you've witnessed in just a few minutes or hours out of her entire lifetime!'
Please do not judge my daughter’s behavior or label her a special needs brat if you have not spent a significant amount of quality time with her, truly getting to know her and what makes her tick!
You may have seen my daughter melting down a time or two, but what you have never seen is the sweet, loving, funny, cute, caring, adorable, hard working, determined, smart, brave, courageous, incredible, and amazing young woman that she really is.
You have never witnessed how hard she has worked to rebuild her life and overcome and conquer the after effects of having had a life threatening brain tumor, a massive stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, traumatic brain injury and a debilitating seizure disorder.
You have never seen how unflinchingly determined my daughter has been while struggling to break through the barriers in her way to successfully create quite the happy, active, and satisfying life for herself!
So please, until you’ve spent enough time with my special needs daughter to see that she is so much more than a meltdown, and you’ve educated yourself about her particular conditions and disabilities, kindly refrain from making snap judgments about her and accusing her of being a special needs brat.
The video shows how awesome Bethany is and that she is more than just the sum of her meltdowns!