Sensory Seekers vs. Sensory Avoiders

Autism is a broad spectrum which makes each person with Autism unique. However the majority are either Sensory Seekers or Sensory Avoiders. Here is a great list which details the difference between the two and behaviors associated with them. My son is a Sensory Seeker and every single one of these he does or has done.

Sensory seeking

  1. Spinning
  2. Climbing too high
  3. Climbing everything
  4. Crashing into things (people, furniture, walls)
  5. Mouthing/licking inedible things (furniture, toys, body)
  6. Chewing inedible things (clothing)
  7. Eating excessively
  8. Constantly wrestling with siblings
  9. Touching everything
  10. Playing with food
  11. Eating messily
  12. Overstuffing their mouth
  13. Eating spicy/hot foods
  14. Under-responding to pain (‘shakes it off’ quickly)
  15. Dumping out toy bins just to look at everything
  16. Engaging in excessive sensory play (mud, water, soap, etc.)
  17. Jumping
  18. Pushing
  19. Running barefoot
  20. Chewing on their toothbrush
  21. Not sitting still at their desk
  22. Falling out of their chair for no apparent reason
  23. Seeking loud noises (turns up TV, battery toys against ears, vacuum.)
  24. Failing to monitor their own volume (you constantly say, “Stop yelling!”)
  25. Smelling everything, even bad smell

Sensory Avoiders

  1. Picky eater (prefers one texture or basic flavors)
  2. Covers ears at noise (hates vacuum, blender, hand dryers)
  3. Avoids touch (not a ‘huggy’ or ‘cuddly’ kid)
  4. Hates tags/seams in clothing
  5. Won’t wear shoes (or prefers only one shoe type)
  6. Avoids messy activities (mud, sand)
  7. Avoids art activities like painting or playdoh
  8. Walks on toes
  9. Doesn’t engage in playground activities (climbing, swinging, etc)
  10. Hates a wet/dirty diaper/underwear
  11. Dislikes having people too close
  12. Refuses to take a bath/shower or play in the sprinkler
  13. Hates water on their face
  14. Hates/Refuse to brush their teeth
  15. Complains about smells
  16. Complain that normal light is too bright (wanting to wear sunglasses)
  17. Over-responsive to pain (everything hurts!)
  18. Avoids/refuses stickers/fake tattoos




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