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Moms Expertise

Autism meltdowns vs. temper tantrums

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09/28/14

Sometimes it is very difficult to distinguish between a melt down versus a tantrum in an autistic child if you don't know them very well.

The biggest difference I have noticed is the "why" part of this behavior.

A tantrum is going to happen because they want a certain outcome. It might be to get a toy they want, extra dessert or not to leave a playground.

A meltdown is going to happen due to external frustration that has caused an overload on their brain. The lights may be too bright, the lunchroom might smell really strong or their pants may feel funny against their skin. These average frustrations are exacerbated because they have no way to turn an overwhelming stimuli off, where as a neurotypical person can.

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