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What is the difference between an autism tantrum and a meltdown?

1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Pediatrics - Developmental & Behavioral

In brief: None. "Meltdown"

is a euphemism for tantrum. BCBA's do a Functional Behavioral Assessment: Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence, then teach parents how to ignore tantrums & other maladaptive behaviors completely & consistently, track the "extinction burst" or ^ in severity & duration then extinction of the behaviors.
Kids with ASD have high cortisol levels that rise & persist even higher when stressed.

In brief: None. "Meltdown"

is a euphemism for tantrum. BCBA's do a Functional Behavioral Assessment: Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence, then teach parents how to ignore tantrums & other maladaptive behaviors completely & consistently, track the "extinction burst" or ^ in severity & duration then extinction of the behaviors.
Kids with ASD have high cortisol levels that rise & persist even higher when stressed.
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Dr. Johanna Fricke
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1 comment
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Anxiety can drive maladaptive behaviors in kids with & without Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Behavioral treatment is the same as for tantrums in neurotypical kids, since the only way to extinguish a behavior is to ignore it. Risperdal or Abilify can be used if there is physical or verbal aggression that doesn't respond to intensive, repetitive ABA. Low-dose SSRI's may help or may ^ agitation.
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