Saturday, January 07, 2012

Apps for Avoiders - Having to Get Away From it All

Photo by fekaylius
Avoiders are similar to Sensors.  They also have low thresholds which get met quickly.  Their nervous system responds frequently to stimuli.  The difference is that they don't passively accept the situation like Sensors.  Because they are bothered by this sensory input, they actively try to avoid it.  Hands go over ears, bodies seek retreat under tables or stubborn behavior arises.

The characteristic of this sensory processing pattern is craving limited exposure.  Avoiders will run away from anything that offends them.  As a result, these individuals establish rituals for themselves so they are not surprised by offending stimuli.  They hesitate to make changes because change opens up the possibility of getting attacked with unexpected and bothersome noise, sights, sounds, movement and smells.

Withdrawal from experiences and the rigid routines that are created as coping strategies often affect participation at school and home.  As adults, we want to honor their need for reduced input while introducing changes in small ways.  Imagine a child who avoids textures in food.  The result is a very limited diet.  A knowledgeable parent respects this while introducing new textures a little at a time.

Some of the apps suggested for Sensors would be suitable for Avoiders as well.  The difference is that Avoiders need the control.  Let them manage the type and amount of sensory input they get.  We will explore apps that have the ability to control input and make small incremental changes.  Our goal is to help an individual cope and make changes that promote participation in life.  Stay tuned.

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