Friday, February 25, 2011

A Post on Tactile Dysfunctions and Me

So, the crazy thing with SPD is I can be seeking in one area and defensive in another. And it changes. All the time.

To all of you unfamiliar with SPD, this can sound a bit confusing. But pretty much, for me, how it is is there are somethings that make me feel really really awful and other things that make my body feel wonderful and secure. These are usually things that don't drive "normal" folks up the wall or drive them into excitement.

Tactile is pretty much covers everything that has to do with things touching my skin, pressure, temperature, pain, and my hair moving.

I tend to be more tactile defensive which is a form of sensory defensiveness (read about sensory defensiveness here - it describes me to a T in many ways).

Here's the positive results from checklist for hypersenstivity to touch:
  • Becomes fearful, anxious or aggressive with light or unexpected touch
    • Extensively anxious. After a few episodes of unexpected touch within a short amount of time, I can change in manner very quickly - from relaxed to on guard. This is one of the things that pointed us to SPD in the first place, I used to have this a lot worse.
  • Becomes frightened when touched from behind or by someone/something they can not see (such as under a blanket)
    • Yes yes yes yes yes....
  • Complains about having hair brushed; may be very picky about using a particular brush
    • This one applies to when I was much younger. Now I love it.
  • Avoids group situations for fear of the unexpected touch
    • It all depends. SPD is kinda obnoxious in that it's unpredictable and I can't tell what my body will do in a situation. But I am working on trying to control it and getting better.
  • Resists friendly or affectionate touch from anyone besides parents or siblings (and sometimes them too!)
    • That's why the picture I chose is up. Poor Christian. He's one of my closest friends and politely asks for hugs. I think that is the third one he ever got.
  • Dislikes kisses, will "wipe off" place where kissed
  • Prefers hugs
  • Refuses to wear new or stiff clothes, clothes with rough textures, turtlenecks, jeans, hats, or belts, etc.
    • I LOATH wearing jeans. For me, it's also tight clothes. When I get dressed in the morning I will often go through a few outfits not because I want to look just right but because the clothes just don't feel right. But, what might feel uncomfortable one day might not bother me the next.
  • Excessively ticklish
    • Amen.
  • Distressed by seams in socks and may refuse to wear them
  • Distressed by clothes rubbing on skin.
    • I don't think distressed is the right word...
  • May walk on toes only
    • This is just coincidence. Nothing SPD related for me. I just love walking on my toes.... I think.
So those are all hypersensitive, but what about hyposensitive? The craving-ness I can get. Yep, it's there too:
  • May crave touch, needs to touch everything and everyone
    • This might not seem like it would be me after what you read about, but it is. I love to touch. I love to stick my hands down socks and put my hands on knees. I adore the texture of velvet blazers, facial hair, and PlayDoh (I was called the PlayDoh girl in junior high).
  • Repeatedly touches surfaces or objects that are soothing
    • Yep. That means I'll sometimes pick out a dance partner based on what shirt they're wearing. It's a good excuse to feel the fabric they're wearing.
  • Thoroughly enjoys and seeks out messy play
    • Haha sometimes. More often then not. But I can't stand it if my clothes get wet in the process and I have to live with that. I am more worried about the afterness of wet clothes or sandy feet in socks then then I am excited about getting messy.
    Then there are some other tactile related things that weren't on the list...
    • Heat registers can drive me nuts!
      • Oi. They really do make me want to flip around. At night, I have to cover up my heat vent, at times, with a blanket because I can't sleep with the air moving. Or, the other day at circus school, a heater went on and it took me a bit to get back on track. Ok, it took more than a bit. I just sort of froze. I did not like that air moving in my path. Third is when I'm testing at school in the special folks testing center, there is a heat register that is always on. It's awful and blows air around. So I always bring an extra jacket to cover it up with.
    • Wearing wet clothes makes me want to murder.
      So those are just a few quirks. I know a lot of them apply to a lot of folks who don't have SPD... but after 20 years, I've learned that my responses aren't normal. Apparently, "normal" (ha!) folks don't get overly anxious about surprise touching...

      Anyways. There's my tactile tendencies.


      1. I'm an OT and most of my caseload is kiddos with SPD, and I just LOVE reading your posts! It's such a great perspective!

      2. Just found your blog. Is a mama to at least one SPD kid. Really great stuff here, Maggie! Will help me understand my daughter better, and I may have her read some of this when she is older.

        By the way...I think toe walking is SPD related. It was one of the first "sypmtoms" the Occupational Therapist noticed with our daughter when observing her!

        Blessings to you,

      3. My son is also both defensive and seeking, I think, so this post is so interesting to me. Thx.


      Your words make me grin.

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