When OTs refer to tactile defensiveness, they are talking about the reaction that occurs when someone is very sensitive to touch. Children with tactile defensiveness are often more sensitive to touch, and have difficulties with everyday things such as clothes and hair brushing.
How do you know if your child is tactile defensive?
A few signs are if they dislike clothing, shoes, hats, mittens or if they complain about the tags, the fastening, the type of fabric or the style. Another sign is if they hate to have their hair combed, washed, or cut.
Ways to help your child with tactile defensiveness involve desensitizing your child to the aversive stimuli. Using a sensory diet or a sensory play box can help to desensitize an overly sensitive child. The amount of tactile stimulation your child can tolerate will increase slowly with repetitive sensory play over time.
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