top of page

Touch / Tactile Sensitivity



Cli Click Here to Access Free Sensory Video Lesson

(Sneak Peak Inside my Online Course Sensory Life Academy)




This means your child may be oversensitive to touch sensations

>>> to the point that it may feel painful or uncomfortable.


Occupational Therapist Jean Ayres believed that:

Touch/Tactile Sensitivity occurs because the brain focuses too much to light touch and protective sensations from the skin.


Instead, their brain interprets ordinary touch sensations as a threat (Like  a hug or clothing) which can often lead to meltdowns or avoidance.

This might also lead to them being dysregulated, which may appear in the form of:

  • Meltdowns or Tantrums

  • Hyper or Overly Excited

  • Avoidance

For example, their brains might feel a touch sensation in the same way you might if you touched something hot or ran into a spider web.

Everyday touch sensations may activate their brain’s protective system leading to fight or flight response.

This does not substitute medical advice or an official Occupational Therapy Evaluation or Consultation.

This is strictly for educational & informational purposes.

Step 2: What to do



1. Give Warnings

Prior to touching your child, let them know exactly what is going to happen.

Example: "I am going to put your hair in a ponytail and it will take 2 minutes." You can even set a timer on your phone to help decrease anxiety and give your child something else to focus on.

2. Let your child initiate and take the lead

Give your child the opportunity to do the TOUCHING. This can help reduce anxiety when they feel in control.  Example: Let your child brush their teeth, wash their hair, put their shoes on, Have your child pick out their clothes at store

3.Use Firm Pressure

Light Touch can often lead cause anxiety or dysregulation (Like tickling) so INSTEAD use FIRM or DEEP PRESSURE when brushing hair or brushing teeth or dressing! Deep Pressure has a CALMING EFFECT. 

Example: Press on nail bed when cutting nails, Press on head above hair you are brushing or washing

4. Use Weighted Products or Heavy Work Activities

Like I mentioned above, DEEP PRESSURE has a CALMING EFFECT (opposed to light touch which has an arousing effect). 

Example: Weighted Vest during Dentist or Hair Appointments, Snug Pajamas

5. Brushing or Deep Pressure Massages

For some children, the Willbarger brushing protocol can help make a difference.  This protocol involves brushing arms & legs with DEEP PRESSURE in long linear motions to help decrease touch sensitivity. I talk more about this in my video: 5 Therapy Activities to be doing Daily

Step 3: Free Sensory Video Lesson

(Sneak Peak Inside my Online Course Sensory Life Academy)


bottom of page