January 4, 2021

Autistic children who have meltdowns don’t grow out of them. Some do stop having them, though.

What’s the difference?

You “grow out of” something when your brain or body changes. Although all brains mature over time, autistics thankfully maintain the capacity for meltdowns, as a safety valve when the pressure gets too high.

If meltdowns remain possible, then why do autistic adults seem to have them less often than autistic children do?

We’ve spent more time learning what we find most stressful, and how to protect ourselves from it. This reduces the need for meltdowns. An ideal environment removes that need entirely, though such environments tend to be temporary.

I still have occasional meltdowns. I had one today. I wish I could have avoided the cause, but since I couldn’t, I’m grateful for the release.

A meltdown may look like an explosion, but it protects me from implosion.

P.S. I write from my personal experience as an autistic. What I share is not a substitute for advice from an autistic medical professional. Also, some of my opinions have changed since I first wrote them.