How to Help a Person Experiencing Sensory Overload


As a provider of residential care in Perris, California, Magellan Residential Care is no stranger to the unique challenges persons on the autism spectrum experience. Today, we would like to talk about something that is somehow ubiquitous yet still misunderstood by many. This is the concept of overstimulation.

Overstimulation is when a person goes through a meltdown after getting overwhelmed by certain stimuli in the environment, like sounds, smells, sights, or textures. It’s not confined to just persons with autism, however. People with sensory-processing problems like ADHD and obsessive-compulsive disorder also suffer from overstimulation. It is a condition officially recognized by experts in disability care in California as sensory processing disorder.

Overstimulation manifests through:

  • Anxiety and fear
  • Increased irritability and restlessness
  • Lashing out at others or withdrawal
  • A preoccupation with the cause of the sensory overload
  • A strong desire to escape the cause

With our expertise in adult care, we can offer the following recommendations to help someone you know who is experiencing sensory overload:

  • Ask them about their triggers and come up with strategies to avoid or proactively retreat from them.
  • Teach them relaxation techniques to help them better deal with offending stimuli.
  • In the event of a sensory overload, calmly ask the person what the cause is and how you can help to calm them down.
  • Lead them to a safe place to calm down and decompress.

At our adult residential care home, our staff takes the time to understand the specific needs of every client on the autism spectrum. This way, we ensure we provide them with the supportive, inclusive environment they need.

Feel free to contact us for more information. We would love to talk to you about respite care and more

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