Your senses include smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch along with your proprioceptive and vestibular systems. Through these systems, children learn how to process information within their environment and build the skills needed to participate in daily activities. Your sense of touch, or your tactile system, helps us understand our world around us and feeling secure. We feel not only with our hands, but through our feet, legs, arms, back, and face and process different sensations like temperature, pain, pressure, and texture.
Some children may have limited tolerance for tactile input which is called tactile defensiveness. They are more sensitive to this input and could avoid certain food or clothing textures, dislike having hair or face washed, avoid getting messy, and dislikes hugs or surprise touches. If it’s severe enough, occupational therapy evaluation may be needed to further assess and improve sensory processing tolerance.
Using your tactile system involves getting messy! Here are a few fun activities to get the tactile system involved:
- Shaving cream
- Water beads
- Sensory bins
- Playing in sand, playdough, dirt, water
Beck, C. (2021, February 02). Tactile defensiveness. Retrieved April 12, 2021, from https://www.theottoolbox.com/mess-free-indoor-snow-sensory-play/