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?
I agree with what you have said. I get sensory overload that might lead to a meltdown but I can have a meltdown without sensory overload. I like the term meltdown, it’s very helpful to me because prior to my diagnosis, I was thought to be angry/upset/frustrated etc where as now I know it’s none of those things, it’s a meltdown and there are certain things I can do to either prevent the meltdown, help me through it or help me recover after it. It helps me a great deal in fact and I like sensory overload to be different as I need to approach that in a different way. For example if I know that my senses are particularly heightened and that any noise will distress me, I keep away from noise, etc.
I use the same tactic. I was at work this morning and i suffered sensory overload, I could feel my life-force draining from me, so I left the overstimulating environment and returned to my quiet less stimulating environment to recover.
Yeah, when you know what you’re dealing with you can do things to prevent it all come crashing down.
I had meltdowns at my previous workplace because of impossible social and conflict situations that I was put into on purpose by my colleagues and that I just couldn't handle, because I wasn't allowed to do anything about the way the others were treating me or else I'd be criticised for standing up for myself. Then when I eventually reached my limit and had a meltdown, I was criticised for that as well. It had nothing to do with sensory overload. When I do experience sensory overload, I shut down or withdraw. I don't think I've ever had a meltdown from sensory overload, though loud sudden noises make me really angry but only for a second.