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Teaching my Son to Touch – Sensory Processing Dysfunction Tactile Defensive

My Son has a rare neurological condition. When he was around 2 years of age, we had to help him to touch everyday objects like his feeding spoon, a toy, food, our hand everything we take for granted. He would not touch anything, he was assessed as being profoundly tactile defensive.

One of the exercises that we followed as part of my son's special programme was to brush his arms, legs and body with a sensory brush to stimulate his sensory perception. After many months of hard intensive work our son improved vastly but even now, years later he still needs regular input. We followed the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol which is quite controversial but we really do believe our son would still not be touching anything today if we hadn't undertaken it.  The basic idea of the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol is to use a soft sensory brush through various patterns over a child's body, this is then followed by joint compression.

When following the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol and helping our child to overcome sensory overload is not an easy task as there was a lot of screaming, hitting out and biting as it became too much for our child, so you must be patient and take it at the child's pace, and each child is different as to how much they can tolerate but the rewards are worth the effort as the results we saw were overwhelming.

We also used to play with lots of sensory toys such as squishy and hard toys, vibrating toys that can help teach the child to touch through creating neural pathways within the brain.

Sound is also very important too and playing certain music can help your child to focus and tune into the most common waveforms that our brain deciphers into sounds that we can recognise and respond to.

We also used lots of Sensory toys to aid his experience of touching and using his hands. We used many sensory toys that had a tactile element to them as to further enhance his tactile opportunities and improve his tactile defensiveness. There are many tactile toys available at Sensory Toys UK it's not just messy play that helps tactile defensiveness (even though it is very beneficial)!

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