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Tactile sensitivities and adaptive equipment  

May 4, 2023 | Children, Sensory

Children with sensory sensitivities have added challenges in basic tasks most people do without thinking. Their body doesn’t interpret sensations, such as touch in a typical way. For example, a scratchy tag might be perceived as painful for them, they might not react to crashing into a wall, but then cannot handle the pain from a papercut. It is common for a developing child to sometimes have these added difficulties and there are assistive products designed just for those children.  

Common comments from parents are: 

  • “My child doesn’t like having their hair brushed or washed.”
  • “My child doesn’t like brushing their teeth or doesn’t like the taste of toothpaste.”  
  • “My child finds the school uniform uncomfortable.” 
  • “My child bites their nails.”  

Common comments from teachers are: 

  • “The child just won’t sit still in the classroom.” 
  • “The child is distracting to others.”  
  • “The child will not wear their school uniform properly.”  
  • “The child gets really upset when a peer touches them.” 

While these descriptive behaviours of a child could be happening for a multitude of reasons, there are some resources that are designed specifically to support these sensory processing differences with the tactile system. 

Some assistive clothing options are Jett Proof clothing or Comfort on the Spectrum clothing plus a multitude of other brand names. These companies make seamless/tag free clothing or put the seams on the other side to remove the potential irritant to the child.  

Sensory friendly hairbrushes – these are curved for the child’s head and designed to tackle the knots in a friendlier way.  

Jack and Jill, Moogoo, Dr Brite, and a multitude of other brands make toothpaste that don’t have that strong mint taste that a lot of children have aversions too.  

Chewable necklaces or bracelets – provide a child with calming proprioceptive input through the jaw joint and might save their nails and tees from being eaten through the school day. 

It is important to understand why your child is struggling with a particular sensation or activity before you invest all your money into assistive equipment. Speak to your therapist today to find out what products are out there to help your child thrive through the day. 

Author: Monique McKernan