In the psychiatric and autistic communities there are a few terms that get brought up a lot so I am going to briefly explain a few of them. These are very basic definitions so please keep that in mind.
Stimming: stimming is repetitive movements or sounds used by someone with Autism and/or ADHD in order to stabilize mood or express themselves. People with Autism have an overactive Amygdala meaning our emotions can be very strong. The areas of the brain that help regulate emotion are under-reactive meaning we may need to use sources outside of ourselves to help calm our emotions. Stimming can also occur when someone is very happy; for instance, sometimes when I get excited I flap my hands very fast.
Comorbid: Two or more disorders that occur together quite often. Autism is comorbid with several disorders including: ADHD, OCD, Depressive Disorders, Anxiety Disorders and Learning Disabilities.
Neurotypical: Someone who is not autistic. In some cases refers to someone who has no developmental disorders at all. Neurotypical people are just as awesome as Autistic people!
Neurodiverse: Someone with a mental disability such as Autism. I have seen this more refer to people with developmental disabilities but it can be used for anyone.
Sensory Processing Disorder: another comorbid disorder, SPD is when the brain has trouble interpreting stimuli it gets through our senses. Have you and/or a loved one been unable to eat certain foods because it feels wrong? Do certain textures feel like hell? Do you not feel like you get enough of certain stimuli? Then you have sensory issues! Does this mean you have SPD? It could mean that. There is no official diagnosis for it yet. I have sensory issues but have not been diagnosed with SPD. Certain bright colors hurt my eyes REALLY BAD. I can wear dark sunglasses and my eyes can still hurt from the sun.
Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3: The DSM uses these to tell overall severity (ie: how much support is needed) of Autism. This does not account for the variations among autistic individuals who are even on the same level. Level one means little support is needed. Level two means a good amount of support is needed. Level three means a large amount of support is needed. Levels one and two appear to be more common than Level three.
Meltdown: THIS IS NOT A TANTRUM. DO NOT CALL IT A TANTRUM. This is the point at which someone with Autism (and I think applies to some intellectual disabilities and ADHD) has reached the point of “no return”. Emotions are running high (remember our amygdalas are overreactive) and we can no longer self soothe. Many will cry and scream. They can be quite intense and the person having it as well as those around them will need time to return to being in a calm state after a meltdown. This is something that just happens. It’s uncontrollable when it gets to this point. This is one reason I hate the “joke” where people say “autistic screeching” because it’s making fun of not only nonverbal autistic people but also of the fact that many autistic people have or have had meltdowns.
Another term to look up is executive functioning. Many people on the autism spectrum struggle with this.