Meltdown vs Tantrums

Something I have been struggling with us helping people understand and accept that when Gavin has his meltdowns,  it’s within his control to stop.

A lot of people see to have a hard time accepting that fact,  and it is a fact.

One of my fantastic readers brought to my attention that perhaps I should not be referring to what Gavin does,  as a meltdown. She suggested that instead,  I refer to them as tantrums.

She explained that when people think of a meltdown,  they tend to think of the more traditional meltdowns that can occur with anyone on the #Autism spectrum.  Most importantly, these traditional meltdowns are outside of the persons control.

You know something,  she’s absolutely right.

Gavin has control over these tantrums and so tantrum is a more accurate description to the behaviors.

This makes a great deal more sense than calling them meltdowns.  I had simply been using the term meltdown,  because it described what he was doing. The reality is that what he’s doing is having a tantrum,  not a typical autism related meltdown.

Most meltdowns are caused by overstimulation. This is not the case with Gavin.  Gavin’s behaviors are caused when he is held accountable for his actions.  There is a very distinct difference.

Thank you so much for pointing that out. I’m really sorry for using the wrong terminology and causing so much confusion.

From now on,  I’m referring to Gavin’s fits,  as tantrums, as that is a far more accurate way of describing them.

I really appreciate everything that you folks take the time to share with me.  I have learned a valuable lesson and honestly,  this helps put things into perspective for me.  🙂

 

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Silachan

I'm so glad that I was able to help ya out. Anything to help clear up confusion and such! Big hugs to you all. It comes down to the basic differences of 'Tantrums are goal oriented, can be stopped on a dime, and are controllable. Meltdowns are a result of overstimulation – physical OR emotional. They cannot be controlled by simply 'giving in', and may require someone else to help regain control.' Of course every person is different. Some people even shut down instead of meltdown.
 
(I'm much like that myself. I tend to shut down instead of meltdown. Most noteable experience was when I was at my friend's house and was overloaded by too much noise and by exhaustion. I shut down on her couch and was "out of it", I didn't hear anyone call my name and I didn't even process the noise as recognizable sounds by that point. I had my hands over my ears and I was rocking without even noticing it. Once my awesome friend turned the t.v  way down and it got quiet, I "snapped" out of it and was able to tell my bf that we needed to head home.)
 
Got a little off topic there but hope it helps a bit. ♥

lostandtired

 @Silachan When you pointed that out, it was like something just clicked. 🙂
 
It makes so much more sense now and I should be able to avoid some of the confusion now. 🙂
 
Thank you 😉

rmagliozzi

Good point. Somebody asked me the other day what the difference between my autistic son having a tantrum and a meltdown was. I didn't really know how to answer them. 

lostandtired

 @rmagliozzi well @Silachan pointed this out to me the other day. Perhaps she can shed a bit more insight. She's pretty awesome. 🙂

Silachan

 @rmagliozzi Best explained already for me, here's some links for ya! http://i.ytimg.com/vi/eJjcCgZ5sqk/0.jpg Meltdown!
 
Meltdown vs tantrum: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Og5tegigNYo/T-Pr0hTgDII
 
I summarized it above too:
It comes down to the basic differences of 'Tantrums are goal oriented, can be stopped on a dime, and are controllable. Meltdowns are a result of overstimulation – physical OR emotional. They cannot be controlled by simply 'giving in', and may require someone else to help regain control.' Of course every person is different. Some people even shut down instead of meltdown.

dudgeoh

Both our kids have tantrums, usually when they can't get their own way, but DS1s meltdowns are definitely different. Sometimes they start out as tantrums, but always they end up with him red-faced & overheated. There's a point where the anger of the tantrums overwhelms him, and a kind of cascade effect kicks in; he starts losing complete control of the situation, which makes him angrier, which makes him hotter, which makes him even less in control, which makes him angrier…

lostandtired

@dudgeoh well said. 🙂

dudgeoh

Both our kids have tantrums, usually when they can't get their own way, but DS1s meltdowns are definitely different. Sometimes they start out as tantrums, but always they end up with him red-faced & overheated. There's a point where the anger of the tantrums overwhelms him, and a kind of cascade effect kicks in; he starts losing complete control of the situation, which makes him angrier, which makes him hotter, which makes him even less in control, which makes him angrier…

Tantrums can be ignored &/or resolved; meltdowns always require isolation and some sort of cooling process, (I use damp wash cloths and a fan).

lostandtired

@dudgeoh thank you

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