Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Zisk, Alyssa Hillary. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Zisk, A. H. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Thursday, May 24, 2012

That's not a tantrum. That's a meltdown.

Image Text:


``Want" Directed
Goal/Control driven
Audience to perform
Checks engagement
Protective mechanisms
Resolves if goal is accomplished
Age: 1-5 years

Autistic Meltdown

Reactive mechanism
Continues without attention
Safety may be compromised
Not goal dependent
May require assistance to regain control.
Age: through adulthood

See, when I get overwhelmed, curl up in a corner, cry, shake, and pretty much don't acknowledge your existence/want you to leave me alone, and if you do leave me alone, I keep crying and shaking just as much as when you stay with me, that's not a tantrum. That's a meltdown.
When I'm overtired, coming down off sensory overload, have been triggered by song lyrics, and then find out that I wont be getting food until after the time when I would normally want to be asleep, so I curl up the corner of the hotel room and start to cry, choosing the corner I did as the one where I figured my roommate would be the LEAST likely to notice, that's not a tantrum. That's not culture shock either- none of those had anything to do with the culture of India. That's a meltdown.
Having gone to the professor after getting myself back under control and asking for help doesn't retroactively turn the meltdown into a tantrum. If it were a tantrum, I'd have had it in front of whoever I wanted help from and continued until I got it. Instead, I knew it was coming, got myself OUT, had it as privately as I could, and then went to deal with the causes once I was rational again. I have no illusions that I'm rational during a meltdown.
As far as dangerous goes, some of us have dangerous meltdowns, and some of us don't. The worst you're going to get out of me is a rant about whatever caused the meltdown spluttered out between the tears and the gasps. (Normal crying has long since stopped giving me breathing problems, but meltdowns still make my breathing a little weird. Not dangerous weird, but I am out of breath.) I could also be rocking/shaking, which also aren't dangerous.
And fixing the problem won't end the meltdown. It takes away the cause, but I'm still melted down, and I still need to get myself back under control. It's not an immediate off switch. (Note that I'm often well away from the trigger by the time I actually melt down. I'm pretty good at delaying meltdowns, but if it's coming, it's coming.)

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