Tactile Defensiveness in children

Children who suffer from tactile defensiveness are over-sensitive to the feel of different textures.  This is thought to be caused by too much sensory stimulation reaching the brain due to poor filtering of sensory information from the environment.  Some children might even experience touch as painful and might be easily overwhelmed.

Children who suffer from tactile defensiveness:

  • Don’t like to be touched
  • Don’t like people standing behind them
  • Pushes others away, this often leads to fight and many tactile defensive children are mistakenly labelled as aggressive
  • Dislike cleaning activities
  • Can be fussy about clothing or shoes.  Most complain that the label in their shirt is “scratchy” or will refuse to wear woolen clothing.
  • Are extremely ticklish
  • Don’t walk barefoot
  • Dislike messy play
  • Have a fear of hairdressers or dentists
  • Are picky eaters
  • Overreact to painful stimuli
  • Babies will often resists being placed in certain positions, and will be especially fussy if placed on their stomachs

If left untreated, tactile defensiveness in children can result in:

  • Hyperactive behaviour
  • Lack of concentration
  • Poor socialisation
  • Poor body awareness
  • Insufficient development of motor skills
  • Poor self-esteem, irritability, aggressive behaviour
  • Poor spatial awareness
  • Poor bonding between baby and mother