The difference between a tantrum and an autism meltdown

September 23, 2022

A tantrum and a meltdown are two very different things that should not be confused even though they outwardly can appear the same.

Key differences:

  1. A meltdown is not naughty or attention seeking behaviour. Tantrums are wilful behaviour that have an expected outcome after. Meltdowns are not planned or chosen.
  2. An autistic meltdown is based on overwhelm or sensory overload. It may lead to screaming and crying which looks similar to a tantrum but could also lead to complete shut down.
  3. Meltdowns cannot have the same response as a tantrum. Methods of stopping tantrums like hugs, distractions or discipline may not have the same effect.
  4. Tantrums need an audience; that’s why children tend to stop once you give them attention. Meltdowns will occur with or without an audience.
  5. Tantrums tend to go away with age. Autism meltdowns are not age related.

The difference between a tantrum and an autism meltdown

September 23, 2022

A tantrum and a meltdown are two very different things that should not be confused even though they outwardly can appear the same.

Key differences:

  1. A meltdown is not naughty or attention seeking behaviour. Tantrums are wilful behaviour that have an expected outcome after. Meltdowns are not planned or chosen.
  2. An autistic meltdown is based on overwhelm or sensory overload. It may lead to screaming and crying which looks similar to a tantrum but could also lead to complete shut down.
  3. Meltdowns cannot have the same response as a tantrum. Methods of stopping tantrums like hugs, distractions or discipline may not have the same effect.
  4. Tantrums need an audience; that’s why children tend to stop once you give them attention. Meltdowns will occur with or without an audience.
  5. Tantrums tend to go away with age. Autism meltdowns are not age related.

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