21 Songs That Have Helped People on the Autism Spectrum Cope With Sensory Overload


Sensory overload happens when too much sensory stimulus is occurring at once — it can be triggered by a crowded room, a TV turned up too loud, strong aromas, fluorescent lighting and much more. It’s often associated with certain diagnoses like autism, sensory processing disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and post-traumatic stress disorder, although anyone can experience it.

Music is not always a reliever to sensory overload — in fact, sometimes it can make it worse, so you should ask your loved one on the spectrum if playing a song helps or hurts. But for a lot of people with autism, music works wonders when they are trying to calm themselves down. We asked our readers on the spectrum who use music as a tool to share what songs they play if they’re experiencing sensory overload or melting down. We’ve dropped a Spotify playlist at the bottom of this post if you’d like these songs in one place.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole

Someday I’ll wish upon a star / Wake up where the clouds are far behind me / Where trouble melts like lemon drops / High above the chimney top / That’s where you’ll find me

Ride” by twenty one pilots

Oh, oh, I’m falling, so I’m taking my time on my ride / Oh, I’m falling, so I’m taking my time on my ride

What I Am” by Will.i.am on “Sesame Street”

If what I am is what’s in me / Then I’ll stay strong, that’s who I’ll be / And I will always be the best  / “me” that I can be.

You Are My Sunshine” by Johnny Cash & June Carter

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine / You make me happy when skies are gray

Gravity” Sara Bareilles cover by Alex & Sierra

Set me free, leave me be. / I don’t want to fall another moment into your gravity.

Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun / And I say it’s all right

Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven

I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons

Now I’ll be bold / As well as strong / And use my head alongside my heart

Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

But I keep cruising / Can’t stop, won’t stop moving / It’s like I got this music / In my mind / Saying, “It’s gonna be all right.”

Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve

But I’m a million different people / from one day to the next / I can’t change my mold

Amber” by 311

Don’t give up your independence / Unless it feels all right / Nothing good comes easily / Sometimes you’ve got to fight

Count On Me” by Bruno Mars

You can count on me like one two three / I’ll be there

Ho Hey” by The Lumineers

I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart

Bliss” by Muse

Everything about you resonates happiness / Now I won’t settle for less

Shackles (Praise You)” by Mary Mary

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance / I just wanna praise you

(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of the Bay” by Otis Redding

Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun / I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes

Thank You For Being A Friend” from “The Golden Girls” performed by Cynthia Fee

Thank you for being a friend / Traveled down the road and back again / Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant

Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley

You have made / My life complete / And I love you so

Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler

Did you ever know that you’re my hero, / And everything I would like to be? / I can fly higher than an eagle, / For you are the wind beneath my wings.

Hallelujah” by Panic! At The Disco

And if you can’t stop shaking, lean back / Let it move right through ya

Shut Up and Dance” by WALK THE MOON

I said you’re holding back / She said shut up and dance with me

What would you add? Let us know in the comments below?



21 Songs That Have Helped People on the Autism Spectrum Cope With Sensory Overload
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