This is why #Autism parents avoid overstimulating events

As a special needs parent for over a decade, I’m all to familiar with overstimulation and meltdowns around the holidays.  I’ve learned over the last 10 years or so, that we can experience what I call fallout, for days after a triggering event. 

Fallout is what I call the meltdowns, sleepless nights and other behavioral issues that are the direct result of an overstimulating event, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween or anything else that is sensory taxing.

The boys did well yesterday at Thanksgiving but today definitely had its moments. 

Emmett’s been melting down on and off today and Elliott’s had a ton of attitude and a few meltdowns as well.  Gavin spent most of the day in bed, either sleeping or watching Netflix on his tablet. 

I hope that we can help the boys sorta defuse before Monday. 

To do this, we will employ a sensory diet where we keep everything really low key and almost boring.  This will help to prevent anyone from getting an more amped up, at least in theory. 

It’s important for people to know that even when a special needs child  seems to do well at an event, like Thanksgiving for example, doesn’t mean that there won’t be problems over the next few days as a result of overstimulation. This is just an example of what special needs parents are trying to avoid by limiting their kids exposure to events that are likely to be overstimulating. 

This site is managed almost exclusively from my Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Please forgive any typos as auto-correct HATES me. 😉

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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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My son doesn’t have autism, but he does have sensory issues (hyper sensitive to everything) and suspected apraxia of speech so we have problems like this too. There have been plenty of times we’ve skipped out or had to leave an event early because of massive meltdowns for one reason or another, too many people, it’s too loud, people touching him etc etc. And like you said, even when he does well at an event, the following day is pretty rough.


my kid cant get out of the bed for a week after a get together. they are large and long. the car ride there and back. he chooses not to go and i agree

Angela McDonough

WE dont skip any of this stuff the boys have learned over the yrs to cope extreamlly well

Stephanie Roush Roberts

I agree with you completely. This year the boys and I stayed home and kept everything low key making this Thanksgiving was better then recent years!

Tara Safarian

It’s been crazy here!

Clementine Kruczynski

Normally I would agree with you…. but very recently my son was gifted a magnetic matress pad, pillow and blanket…. he sleeps so much better now!

Lost and Tired

Life Interrupted musicforanna I today get it.  Amen to that….

Life Interrupted

musicforanna When we are asked what we are doing for the holidays our answer is usually, “Not much.” Low key is how we play things and even then there is ‘the fallout.’ Changes in routine are bad here. Not that we all can’t use scheduled down time…those lovely three day weekends, but instead of huge events I wish we could have regularly scheduled 3 or 4 day weekends throughout the year and skip all the hoopla.

Lost and Tired

musicforanna thank you so much for sharing your personal insight.  As some that’s not in the Autism Spectrum, I try really hard to put myself in my kids shoes but insight like you just provided, really helps a great deal.  Thanks again and please feel free to share here anytime.  🙂


But seriously, it drives me nuts when people are like “you should join us for something or another after this holiday!” (like black friday shopping, or a gigantic after-christmas sale or some big ceremony) and I’m like point blank… “NO.” My family is kinda a zoo and holidays are renowned for their group interaction dynamics, which is very taxing to asd brains. Sometimes I see people talk about holidays, but I’m glad to see you talk about the downtime that is needed after the holidays to unwind when we’re melting down in overdrive. Not a lot of people understand the need for having that space of time.


Hi. I just saw your post on twitter. I am an aspie adult. All of yesterday I was reeling from leftover overstimulation of thanksgiving. I did relatively well on thanksgiving, but then I didn’t sleep well later that night and my dad woke up up blaring the Borne Ultimatum on tv (UGH, seriously that movie is one long drawn-out sensory issue, I hate it!). I kinda went off on my dad last night and my mom actually understood what I was going through. We are in discussion with dad on him watching tv with headphones because his worsening hearing loss is contending with my sensory issues. Most of where he has his hearing loss (in high pitches) is the most sensitive part of my hearing ability. I was already messed and worse for wear sensory-wise before then. 1) I was tired, struggling with sleep, kept getting woken up 2) I was hungry (I get hangry) 3) it’s well documented by other female asd’ers that ‘aunt flo’ screws us up and makes our asd issues more pronounced. This was a factor. 4) I had two glasses of wine on thanksgiving, probably not a good idea because I felt like a migraine was coming on. 5) my neck is out and my head was throbbing. I actually ended up cancelling a date I had with my boyfriend yesterday (he’s known me a long time and he understands how I am when I get like this– we were planning on going to the local art museum where we met– this’ll be better another day). It took all of yesterday to unwind and get back to my version of normal for today. I’m not sure if I’m 100% just yet, but I know I’m better than I was yesterday. Sometimes I make the mistake of venturing out before I get back to 100%.. just to find myself overloaded all over again. I’m trying not to do that. I’m trying to take it easy because I have a haircut appointment at noon today.