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.
The same here as well.
I don't find it offensive... but I don't like the term. I always think of it in terms of other colloquialisms that get used: 'going mental', 'going loopy', 'throwing a wobbly'. I suppose it's because you often hear people using it in that colloquial sense when talking about kids having temper-tantrums: 'She had a right meltdown this morning.' (Actually, there was a news item sometime last year, about the mother of an autistic child who took a supermarket to task for selling a kids t-shirt that said 'I'm just having a meltdown!' She argued that it demeaned the term as it applied to autism).
It's a personal thing, though, and I know everyone won't agree. I admit that I'm quite sensitive to language like that.
Further to this, though - I work in autism care, where we also don't generally use the term 'meltdown'. Usually, we refer to 'incidents', or something similar, when doing incident reports. We also have to be very careful with the type of language we use to describe behaviours, etc, because of the risk of making assumptions about what triggered the behaviour, and its intentions. The language needs to be as neutral as possible. This might all sound like nit-picking, but I think it's good if we can make progress towards using a more appropriate type of language - especially in autism care, where it's very easy (for the uninitiated) to make assumptions and judgments because they aren't fully understanding the behaviours.
Incidentally, I recently had training in handling epilepsy - given by an epileptic. Someone mentioned 'fits', and the instructor said she preferred the term 'seizure', which is fair enough. But then I piped up and said 'Would you describe it as a kind of short circuit?' She definitely didn't like that!
I don't find it offensive... but I don't like the term.
I did a poll on another site 70 Autistic people responded. 3 said in the wrong context it’s offensive, 3 said they didn’t know and 64 said no, they don’t find it offensive. The idea that is offensive is unheard of in my community which makes me vbelive that people are taking offence on our behalf. I find that offensive. I totally agree with being careful with language something said in the wrong way has caused wars
Me to but had never understood why I suddenly reacted this way, A sudden loud noise or just lately certain sounds not so loud( Hyperacusis) feels like a massive over powering sensation that grips me and my whole body cringes, I react angrily for a second, I don’t really say or do anything as it is a fraction of a second thing,
I have only really shut down once that I can say for sure and that was recently, it was when a work colleague raised his voice and told me I had no right to talk about autism or say I was until I had been formerly diagnosed. It overwhelmed me as I have a lot of respect for him and considered him to be a kind man and a work friend. I couldn’t talk straight after, I was shaking, my vision blurred, I couldn’t orientate myself,I tried to write my diary for work but my hand wouldn’t move, I had lost the connection between my hand and brain. I eventually left the office in a daze, got in my van, sat a while, started driving and cried out loud and screamed, I had tears running down my face and I was lost within my mind, it took me many hours to settle down once I got home.