how do you guys feel about the term "autistic meltdown"? ive heard a lot of people talking about how its just another example of allistics applying an infantilizing label to autistics and centering their experience over the autistic persons. which is true if you look at the history of the word its mostly used to describe todlers having emotional outbursts that are generally a nuisance to everyone within ear shot. i prefer the term "sensory overload" or just "over stimulation" how do yall identify your experiences?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

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  • andio


    honestly it makes me feel like a toddler . like , i'm not having a meltdown or a tantrum , i'm in distress .

  • serendi


    I agree. “Meltdown” is associated so much with children that I generally don’t use. But I’ll use it with people I’m close to who understand that’s not what I’m talking about. It’s easier to get those couple of words out when I’m struggling so hard.

  • AsterWest


    usually people get told I'm having a really bad panic attack. I don't have an issue with the term per se but I definitely don't like how people think about it at times. from my perspective the term is fine because being overwhelmed or having sensory overload can lead to a meltdown so bad I have seizures so yeah meltdown is definitely the appropriate word for me

    • sydsaenz


      that makes sense bc if you think of it in the nuclear meltdown sense which is how the word was used before it became associated with children's tantrums ur literally having a sensory meltdown

  • aevyn


    I know they sound very similar, but I use the term "breakdown" instead of "meltdown." For some reason it seems less infantalizing to me. And possible differentiate that experience from "Sensory overload." I have Sensory overload pretty often, but it doesn't always lead to the experience that I call a breakdown.

  • nymz


    I personally relate and use the word meltdown but I can empathize with people who dislike it

  • flyingcoco18


    I use the word meltdown because it's the term my black & white thinking perceives as "correct" but I do get very upset when people misinterpret it as just being a synonym for breakdown or tantrum. There's no other currently existing terms that I feel accurately describe my meltdowns so I prefer to just correct misinformation about the term instead of using a different description that doesn't fully explain my experience. For example, I also get overstimulated and experience sensory overload, anxiety attacks, panic attacks, and breakdowns, but they're all very different from the way I experience meltdowns. Yes, sometimes they overlap or have a similar outward presentation, but it feels inaccurate for me to use the terms synonymously. I do wish it was a less infantilizing and less stigmatized term though 😕 Hopefully someday people learn the difference or there's a better widely accepted term created

  • MerkyMountainGoat


    when I say sensory overload, it means something else entirely. But I can understand the discomfort with the term

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