Olfactory seekers are desensitized to smells in their environment and crave sensory stimulation via very strong, specific, or unusual scents. Seekers may seem to need constant stimulation. Seekers may seem to need constant stimulation. However, they tend to become more deregulated as they take in more input. Many seekers experience symptoms associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such low impulse control, inability to focus, and behavioral problems.
See below for some ways to identify and support olfactory seekers.
Olfactory Seekers May:
- Actively smell everything, even things with unpleasant odors.
- Prefer meals or specific foods with new or very strong smells.
How to Support Your Vestibular Seeker:
- Encourage safe smelling of objects, such as flowers, candles, or scented markers.
- Use calming scents, such as lavender or rosemary, to help calm down before bedtime.
- Prepare a wide variety of meals and specific foods with new and pleasant smells.
- Create smelling bottles for your child to keep in his/her bag, desk, or pocket. Simply place spices, a cotton ball covered in essential oil, or any other pleasantly smelling object inside a small (but sealed!) container.
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.