Thursday, 27 October 2016

Difference between a meltdown and a tantrum?

Through all my research lately this is something that I found incredibly interesting, Loghan has had fewer meltdowns as he has gotten older but he still has a few and even if you have a neuro-typical child I think this is information is a big help because even neuro-typical children have meltdowns I have seen them with my own as well as other children, I found this information very useful in assessing a situation and therefore approaching it differently depending on what we are going through at that time, you are obviously not going to punish or discipline a child who is going through a meltdown, but a tantrum should obviously be treated differently.

Anyhoo here we go


Are goal orientated, ie the child is throwing said tantrum in order to get something that they want

Seeks attention; a tantrum throwing child will look to see whether they are getting a reaction from either you or people around you

A tantrum throwing child will avoid getting hurt

A tantrum ends quickly- a tantrum throwing child usually becomes bored and will move on

They are in control of their actions the entire time


There is no goal, ie no demands are made before the meltdown

No interest in reaction- the child does not care who is watching or how people react to their behaviour

Injury- A child in the midst of a meltdown is reacting on a primal level and therefore may injure themselves unintentionally.

Meltdowns last longer than a tantrum as the child has to calm down at their own pace and according to their own sensory load

The child is not in control of their actions they are literally in survival mode and react instinctively to their distress

There are generally warning signs given off by the child prior to the meltdown, stimming* or spacing out are the most common.

*Self-stimulatory behavior, also known as stimming and self-stimulation, is the repetition of physical movements, sounds, or repetitive movement of objects common in individuals with developmental disabilities, but most prevalent in people with autistic spectrum disorders.

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