Tactile (Touch) System

Our touch receptors are located within the skin, some close to the surface and others in deeper layers. The touch system has two main roles: one is protection and the other discrimination. Some people with sensory processing difficulties get incorrect messages from their tactile system:

  • Children can ‘over respond’ to tactile input (tactile defensive when faced with everyday tactile stimuli. You may hear them complaining about having their teeth brushed, hair washed, or having their nails cut. They may complain that someone “hit them” when actually, someone just brushed past them.
  • If a child is under-responsive, we may see a child not responding when you touch them on the shoulder or not detecting that they have their shoes on the wrong feet.
  • They may seek additional sensation to alert their nervous system by exploring items and people through touch or may bite themselves to increase their own feedback.