Interoceptive avoiders are highly sensitive to internal bodily cues and tend to become overwhelmed by physical sensations. Avoiders often have extreme or upsetting reactions to even very mild stimulation. As a result, they can appear withdrawn or defensive and have trouble fitting in with their peers. They also frequently experience symptoms associated with anxiety disorders and engage in repetitive self-soothing behaviors.
See below for some ways to identify and support interoceptive avoiders.
Interoceptive Avoiders May:
- Have disproportionately strong directions to normally bodily cues.
- Constantly feel they are hungry, thirsty, or need to use the bathroom.
- Feel pain more intensely or for a longer duration than others.
How to Support Your Proprioceptive Avoider:
- Treat even very minor injuries as if they are substantial. Remember, they feel serious.
- Use the bathroom or have a small snack before each new activity or transition, such as getting into the car or going to bed.
Keep in mind that no two children are exactly alike, and most people exhibit both seeking and avoiding behaviors from time to time. If you think your child might be suffering from sensory processing issues, you should seek a professional assessment. The STAR Institute’s Treatment Directory is a great resource that can help you find therapists, doctors, and community resources in your area.