Meltdown is a term used to describe the condition of a person who under pressure or stress has reached a point where they can no longer cope and have 'snapped' or 'lost it'. They may become angry, tearful or over react in an emotional manner.
According to the PDA Association (201?),
"At the most basic level, a meltdown is caused by a feeling of being overwhelmed and a sense of loss of control, the child is no longer able to cope and the behaviours are an attempt by the child to regain some control over themselves, those around them, their environment or a combination of these. It is most helpful if these meltdowns are understood as panic attacks, rather than wilfully naughty or defiant tantrums.
"Although meltdowns are typically associated with children or young people with an ASD/PDA, the state of panic and acute anxiety that drives meltdown behaviour can still cause profound difficulty for adults with the condition as well. Whilst older children and adults may have learnt some coping skills and be better able to contain their behaviour, the potential for an internal meltdown to incapacitate an individual must not be underestimated. Equally, although adults may be more robust and may have developed improved self-regulation, it is entirely possible for them to experience a loss of control that is so great, it causes them to explode outwardly with challenging behaviours. A meltdown is a state of mind and acute anxiety, rather than a description of a type of behaviour. The behaviour, when it occurs, is merely an external expression of this internal meltdown."
This glossary is designed to explain some of the jargon and gobbledygook used by some people when they talk about autism or research..
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