In this post we’ll be exploring The Sensory Type known as The Avoider in more detail (I suggest reading this overview of the sensory types first, if you haven’t already).

The image I’ve chosen for this post is quite an extreme example of an avoider I think. Having said that, if you saw me trying to get across the glass floor in the Spinaker Tower, it’s perhaps not that extreme! (If you want to know – it took me 45 minutes to pluck up the courage, but I did it. Yay me!)

As I said in the overview, if you were to describe the avoider in one word it would be overwhelm. The world can be all too much for an avoider, so they would much rather stay away from all that sensory input. This can make them seem rude and anti social, but it’s self preservation, and they’d probably be considered even more rude if they didn’t remove themselves to re-balance their sensory equilibrium.

Avoiders have a low neurological threshold and active self regulation – hence they will remove themselves from a source of stress, before it gets to the point of complete overwhelm. They will tend to be homebodies, as that enables them to control their environment. You’re not going to find them in the middle of the Trafford Centre or at a noisy, vibrant club.

Avoiders super powers are their focus on their special interests, which tends to make them experts in their chosen field. They like predictability and will be rule followers who can be relied on to meet their deadlines, so long as they have clearly signposted expectations.

As I’ve said in sensory type posts, these traits are all on a spectrum, and we have 8 (currently defined) senses; you may well be an avoider in some areas but not others. It’s a very personal thing, which is why it’s so useful to get to grips with this information, because you can use it to make your life more enjoyable, and run more smoothly.

I don’t know if schools still dish out careers advice, but if they do, how useful would it be if they could advise you based on a truly rounded picture of who you are, instead of just looking at academic achievement? When I was 15, I decided that I wanted to be a Systems Analyst in the Royal Navy. This may or may not have had something to do with my naval uniform obsession (An Officer and a Gentleman had a LOT to answer for!) It was a role that took you out to sea: I get terrible motion sickness; I hate the feeling that the thrumming of engines gives me; I get claustrophobic; I’m an avoider when it comes to movement. WTF was I thinking? Yeah… I think we know the answer to that one! Academically though, I would have been a pretty good fit.

This is one of the reasons that I’m really passionate about sensory education beyond the primary school years, and special needs. We should all know this stuff – for ourselves, and those around us. Understanding yourself, and the reasons why you act in particular ways, is priceless knowledge and we’re missing out on that because this information is so very niche. I hope that The Sensory Coach will help to change that.

Do check out the other posts in this series – they’ll all linked from the overview post. And don’t forget, if you want to learn more about this from the expert in this field, then I highly recommend the book Living Sensationally