signs of a shutdown in autistic people
- Becoming less verbal or nonverbal
- Looking “spaced out” or detached from what’s happening
- Withdrawing, not wanting to be around people
- Curling up in the fetal position
- Hiding out under furniture, blankets, etc.
And no, person observing above-mentioned signs, there’s nothing you can do to help. Except go away.
The “go away” bit is good for making a point, since it points out that not intervening is better than trying to intervene and making things worse. That said - some things drawn from my own experience:
- As a few other posters have said, if the person shutting down is in a crowded, noisy, or otherwise threatening place, remove them to somewhere calmer and safer. Be gentle, since physical contact can make sensory overload worse.
- Try not to ask too many difficult questions (and please do not ask them anything that could wait until later). Being in a shut down often makes executive dysfunction or language processing issues worse; even simple yes-or-no questions can be difficult to handle, either because it is frustrating to process the words, or to make a decision. Do not assume that they haven’t heard you if they don’t respond immediately.
- I, personally, tend to be more prone to withdrawing or becoming irritable when I haven’t had food lately. If you know the person in question well enough to evaluate this, take this into consideration. The one question that’s always welcome to me is “do you want food?”. Not “have you eaten lately?” (requires memory + categorization), and not “what can I get you?” (requires decision making).
Most importantly: Do not trivialize or try to blame them for what is happening. This is severely damaging toward trust, and if an autistic person has a bad experience with you while they’re experiencing a meltdown or other episode, they may no longer feel safe around you. Your presence may make a subsequent episode worse if they have a bad history with you. If you suspect you’re not capable of responding appropriately (and if you are neurotypical and don’t know the person in question very well, you are in this category by default!), it is a wiser choice to leave.
Supernatural the Musical Episode:
With songs such as:
- So Get This - ft. Sam Winchester
- Sonofabitch - ft. Dean Winchester
- Goddammit I Think I Fucked Shit Up Again - ft. Castiel
- The Woman’s Lament - ft. Female ensemble
- Dude, No Homo - A Dean and Castiel Duet
- Oh God this Sexual Tension is Killing Me - ft. Sam Winchester
- The Return of Kevin Freaking Solo - ft. Kevin Tran
- Still in Hell - ft. Adam Milligan