The term meltdown - does it cause offence?

I’ve been told that the term meltdown ought not to be used because it’s offensive and the term sensory overload should be used instead.

To my mind sensory overload and meltdowns are two different things. I have suffered sensory overload today but I didn't have a meltdown, I left the overstimulating environment for a quieter environment to recover. I do believe though that prolonged sensory overload will usually result in a meltdown.

I don't think this is coming from the autistic population, I could however imagine parents saying it.

I do find it offensive when neurotypicals use it to describe being angry/upset/frustrated because it diminishes its meaning to what we experience as a meltdown.

What do you think?

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  • I agree that sensory overload isn't the same as a meltdown, although the first can lead to the second, if it's not possible to get away from the source of overload, or tune it out in some way, e.g. closing eyes or listening to music through headphones.

    Calling a meltdown "sensory overload" makes it sound less worrying, perhaps. I think that could actually be more offensive, if it makes light of the situation.

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