Two of our children are living with sensory processing disorder. Since SPD is such a broad disorder, it can involve all kinds of symptoms that affect every sensory system of the body. One of the biggest issues for both of our kids is SPD tactile seeking. (By the way, tactile is just a fancy word for touch.)
Tigger and Roo are huge tactile seekers. They always have their hands on things around the house. I mean, ALWAYS. When Tigger was younger, we would say “Stop touching!” so many times each day that I’d lose count.
It wasn’t until I started reading about SPD that I realized they were seeking tactile input. I just thought we hadn’t done a good job of teaching them to be polite. And then we noticed variations in their behavior. Tigger tends to touch things very lightly, but Roo uses an enormous amount of pressure. Those variations made it hard for me to know how to treat each child.
Over time, though, we’ve learned to offer sensory experiences for our kids and we’ve seen their behaviors improve quite a lot. Today I’m sharing a few tips we’ve used to help our kids manage their SPD tactile seeking symptoms!
Image c/o: EduardSV / Dollar Photo Club
Tips for Managing SPD Tactile Seeking Behavior
- Don’t overreact.
This tip is probably the most important. When you have a tactile seeking child, expect that he or she is going to try to touch every. single. thing. every. single. day. Depending on your child, he might touch things very, very softly or with tons of pressure.
When Tigger brushes up against me, it’s like being brushed with a feather. In the past, my immediate reaction was to push away, which made her feel that I didn’t want her to touch me. Now that I understand that she’s just looking for sensory input, I’m more sensitive and I let her crawl up against me as often as she likes.
- Give them a safe item to touch.
If your child tends to touch things too hard (like Roo does), give them a safe item that can provide that kind of sensory input. Squeeze balls have been a big hit in our house, because Roo can grab them and squeeze them as hard as he likes without worrying about breaking them. And I’d much rather he squeeze those than his little sister. 🙂
- Engage in lots of sensory play.
Sensory play is a must for kids who exhibit SPD tactile seeking behaviors. When you engage in sensory play, the goal is to engage as many of the senses at once as possible. For example, if you make a sensory bin, you try to include colorful objects (for visual input), different textures (for tactile input), items that make noise (for auditory input), and, if possible, objects that can be tasted (for oral input).
This year, we’ve been sharing in a monthly linkup called “12 Months of Sensory Dough”, where we make a different kind of sensory dough and try it with the kids. So far, we’ve made edible play dough, fizzy dough, moon sand, pumpkin spice latte dough, and even DIY slime! When I take the time to create sensory experiences for our kids, they get the input they need without grabbing random objects.
Those are some of the tips I’ve used to help our kids manage their sensory seeking behaviors, but I’d love to hear your suggestions! Feel free to leave your experiences and tips in the comments!
SPD Solutions from Project Sensory
To help kids manage their SPD tactile seeking symptoms, a new website is launching today called Project Sensory! One of Project Sensory’s SPD products is the Sensory Fix Toolkit, a complete SPD kit in a backpack with 15 tools for managing auditory distractions, restlessness, and even oral input.
Every purchase of the toolkit includes access to Project Sensory’s exclusive printables club, where you can download printables full of sensory tips! Even better, a percentage of every Sensory Fix Toolkit goes toward supplying classrooms with sensory tools. 🙂
This post is part of the “Decoding Everyday Kid Behaviors” blog hop hosted by Lemon Lime Adventures! In honor of Sensory Processing Awareness Month, bloggers will be sharing their favorite tips for sensory processing disorder all month long! Be sure to click over and visit the hop landing page to read all of this month’s great SPD-related posts!