An autistic burnout is usually accompanied by loss of skills and most experts and autistic individuals claim that they occur after a period of mental over-work.
When doctors, caregivers and researchers examine a burnout or a shutdown, they look at it as a symptom, but don’t usually look for the cause. They might say that it happens due to cognitive or physical overload, but they don’t try to explain – or understand – what is the inner, mental process that leads to it.
Looking at “Zoom Fatigue” as a case study can allow neurotypicals to approach such questions through a new looking glass: if cognitive load from social interactions that lack body language, eye contact and affect bring actual fatigue, will an ongoing social-cognitive load cause temporary loss of skills?
Is ongoing load severe enough to make people adapt to it by, maybe, sticking to an inflexible routine? Decreased verbal communication, slight aversion from meeting new people? I believe that we, autistic people, will not be surprised by the answers to these questions, if they are ever pursued by science.