A kiddo with tactile hypersensitivity can feel even the slightest touch and normal pressure may be painful. If you are wondering if this could be something that your child struggles with, below are some examples of how tactile hypersensitivity can show itself.
- he/she may show anxiety around others due to fear of being touched or jostled
- certain clothing or tags may be uncomfortable or cause pain to wear
- bed sheets may feel rough and cause difficulty sleeping
- showering may be nearly impossible due to the water hitting his/her skin
- he/she has an aversion to digging in the dirt, building sand castles, playing with playdough
- being touched or kissed may leave a lasting pressure on the skin so that he/she wipes off kisses or “rubs out” where the skin has been touched
- he/she notices every cut or scrape on his/her skin no matter how small and appears overly dramatic about it (needs medicine and a bandage when it is obviously unnecessary)
- eating is a constant battle due to excessive pickiness, he/she will only eat particular foods and refuses to try anything new
- brushing teeth or hair is nearly impossible and causes screaming and/or meltdowns
- some kiddos with want to wear short sleeves and shorts/skirts year round no matter how cold the temperature is (clothing rubbing on his/her skin is irritating and painful) while other kiddos will want to wear long sleeves and long pants no matter how warm the temperature is (this is to protect his/her skin from being touched)
Even though a kiddo has tactile hypersensitivity, there may be days when he/she is less affected. On bad days, meltdowns may occur throughout the day because everything that touches the skin may be painful. This can include wearing a headband or barrette, touching a shoulder, sitting at a desk, crossing legs to sit on the carpet, shoes feeling tight or rubbing on the foot, wiping a runny nose, putting on and taking off a coat or jacket, holding a pencil, and pretty much anything and everything that uses skin receptors. Unfortunately, this can make it very difficult for kids to make friends and often these kids will be looked at as difficult students and treated accordingly. Patience and understanding can go a long way to help these kiddos and finding ways to accommodate for the hypersensitivity can help with lessening meltdowns which leads to finished assignments and making friends.