The Touch Sensory System

Touch is also described as our Tactile system and gives us information from our skin. This includes light touch, temperature, pain and pressure. The tactile system is extremely clever and helps us to interpret texture, shapes, temperatures, and different types of pain. It therefore has a dual role of protection and perception. Some places such as our face and hands, have more touch receptors than other parts as they are not evenly distributed. This is why we are more sensitive to touch in these areas.

Types of Touch Receptors

We have two different types of touch receptors which are all over our body. One is very sensitive and warns us of danger. For example if something is hot, sharp or painful. The other gives us more information about the qualities of touch, such as temperature, texture, pressure, vibration and the nature of touch.

Tactile Sensitivity difficulties may include:

  • Avoiding being touched on the face
  • Avoiding being tickled or cuddled
  • Distressed when washing hair
  • Distressed during tooth brushing, haircuts, and/or having fingernails or toenails cut
  • Very particular with certain types of clothing (elastic bands, sleeve lengths, seams)
  • Becomes agitated when standing in a line, especially if other children are bumping or brushing against them
  • Avoids being barefoot
  • Very particular about the texture or temperature of food
  • Distressed with tags, socks or dirt underneath fingernail