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Sensory overload (sometimes abbreviated to SO) is when one or more of the five senses are strained and it becomes difficult to focus on the task at hand. The term is commonly (but not exclusively) used in the context of autism/autistic spectrum disorders.
It may be necessary for only one sense to be bombarded by stimuli to affect that sense as well as the other senses and the thinking process. The most common type occurs when more than one sense is stimulated. For example, a person might be watching television when someone comes in and asks a question; the watcher might fail to respond because he or she simply does not register it.