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Autistic meltdown, or neural high jacking – what is meltdown, how can outsiders deal with it empathetically, and how do autists manage their own meltdowns?

Meltdown describes the situation where the individual – autistic or otherwise, as it is not only a term used for neurodiversity – is no longer able to cope. Their skillsets aren’t sufficiently honed to deal with the situation at that time, and the individual let’s off steam one way or another, in order to recalibrate. (Skillsets may include social and language skills, as well as executive functioning skills, as examples).

Meltdowns differ from person to person, and some autistic individuals, especially adults, say that they rarely have meltdowns. (They will undoubtedly experience challenges and periods of ‘overwhelm’, but perhaps they head straight to shut down, or some kind of low mood, or withdrawal).

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Autism labels and language

If you are the parent of a child that you think may be autistic, you will almost definitely get asked the question: ‘But why would you want to give him or her a label?’ There are different kinds of labels, where autism is concerned – firstly, let's look at what the...

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Co-existing conditions to autism

Nearly three-quarters of autistic children also have a further medical or psychiatric condition, according to autism studies (Simonoff et al, 2008). This is called co-existing, or clinically, a ‘co-morbidity’. Co-existing conditions to autism include anxiety...

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