What is Tactile Defensiveness?

Well you’ve found my website, TactileMom.com. I’m glad you’re here, as this is meant to be a useful resource for those who are helping children with tactile defensiveness.

For those not familiar with tactile defensiveness, I wanted to put together this little FAQ or guide if you will about what tactile defensiveness is.

What is tactile defensiveness?

Tactile defensiveness is a condition defined as having “a tendency to react negatively or with alarm to sensory input which is generally considered harmless or non-irritating” to neurotypical people.

It is not uncommon for individuals to have a few mild sensory defensive traits. However, when multiple defensive traits impact the person’s day-to-day life, that person is considered to be sensory defensive.

How is tactile defensiveness diagnosed?

Diagnoses for tactile defensiveness are generally made by an Occupational or Physical Therapist. If you think you’re child is tactile defensive, you are encouraged to find an occupational therapist in your area who can properly diagnose your child, and suggest and teach ways of treatment and help in teaching your son and/or daughter to adjust and cope with their condition.

Will tactile defensiveness ever go away, or will my child outgrow it?

The simple answer is no. Tactile defensiveness is a result of how your child’s brain processes tactile input. Their brain is hardwired that way, and they will always have that input. What can occur is teaching your child to adjust or cope with the input so that it will no longer adversely affect them.