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What are some things I should look out for if I think my child may be Tactile Defensive?

Tactile Defensiveness is something that we often see in Occupational Therapy private practices. Parents often aren’t sure how to tell if their child is tactile defensive. They don’t want to be paranoid and create problems where there aren’t any… however, they also don’t want to leave something that could affect their child’s development.

If you are concerned that your child may be tactile defensive, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
– Does your child strongly dislike having his/her nails cut?
– Does your child strongly dislike having his/her hair brushed?
– Does your child avoid playing with things that most kids love like play dough, clay, sand, glue,finger paints etc?
– Does your child react more strongly than you would expect to having his teeth brushed or looked at by the dentist?
– Does your child dislike being touched and tickled?
– Does your child show negative reactions to getting dressed in clothes of certain textures? Or with certain things like seams or zips or elastic waistbands etc?
– Does your child seem overly threatened by having someone approach them from behind or unexpectedly?
– Does your child avoid going barefoot on grass?
– Does your child seem particular about the texture oh his/her food?

If you answer yes to some of these questions, it may be worth speaking to an Occupational Therapist trained in Sensory Integration. Though it may not seem like a big deal if your child is “a bit more sensitive”, it prevents your child from enjoying life to the full. Part of growing up is the enjoyment of experiencing the feel of lots of different experiences, without them making you feel anxious. Not only that, it is difficult to develop the correct fine motor skills if you are constantly avoiding touching “uncomfortable” textures with your hands!