Thursday, June 27, 2013

Meltdowns vs. Shutdowns

Meltdowns and shutdowns are both common occurrences in our home. While they many seem the same and can be equally aggravating to NT's, there are definitely differences, as my friend Bryan on his Asperger Facebook page points out.  (His link is listed below.)
Thank you Bryan, for your clarification!

My friend suggested something to me yesterday and she made a very good point. I have made many a status regarding 'meltdowns' but never 'shutdowns'. I think 'shutdowns' are something people also need to be informed about as it's an issue that can cause misunderstandings between a person with Asperger Syndrome and a Neurotypical.

A shutdown is rather difficult for me to define but I will try my best. 
I will try this example:

'Imagine buying a brand new computer that works state of the art and is in top condition. Imagine a continued usage of that computer without turning it off once. Regardless of the computer's quality, it will always become overheated and will need to be switched off at some point in order for it to work perfectly again.'

I will now in-cooperate that example so it relates to Asperger Syndrome.

'Imagine YOU are the computer that wakes up in a really good mood and in top condition. Imagine a continued usage of yourself for social activities and events without taking a break once. Regardless of how happy your mood may be, it will always become difficult at some point and you will need to switch off in order for you to work perfectly again.'

During shutdown mode, a person with Asperger Syndrome may appear to become increasingly 'ignorant' to what you are saying to them and proceed to ignore you. This can frustrate Neurotypicals to thinking the person with Asperger's is being 'rude' and 'insensitive' - however, this is NOT the case. The person with Asperger Syndrome has merely been in a social event that they are trying to recover from, so they have a 'shutdown' in order to recover themselves and be perfectly happy again.

We are not being rude.

Bryan :)


  1. Hmmmmmmm, that was interesting!!!

    1. that it was - i don't think that i have ever really differentiated between the two before, though now it is easy to see...