Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I think I can safely say that Matthew is not tactile defensive. This simply means he is not sensitive to touch sensations or easily overwhelmed by our ordinary daily experiences and activities such as hair brushing, walking barefoot on grass, petting our long-haired cat, playing with water, and so on. While these are good indicators that he is neither tactile sensory defensive, I think it is still important to provide the tactile (touch) sensory experience and input that will help Matthew continue to learn and develop a better understanding of the world around him.
Matthew's therapists have given me great ideas for tactile play. We have created homemade tactile sensory boxes using a medium/ large plastic storage box and a variety of materials. I use this type of play to help build language or concepts like 'scoop' and 'pour' and 'stir' while purposefully working on fine motor skills. Here are some materials that Matthew enjoys playing with:
- Uncooked rice or beans
- Uncooked pasta
- Sand (Moon Sand is also fun)
- Cotton balls or craft pom poms
I've also tried messier, gooier substances but with little to no success as he is highly suspicious and averse to handling them. I've tried painting with pudding on a tray with no success. I've tried playing with Cool Whip or Funny Foam Soap with some success.
Overall, he likes the dry stuff a lot more than the messy, gooey stuff. I think he gets that from me as I have a low tolerance for messy, gooey, and slimy things. So I can't blame the guy for not wanting to play with certain textures, I do have to encourage him to try.
1. Never force him to touch a material.
2. If he is averse to touching a certain material with his hands, I offer him another object such as a spoon to touch, poke, stir, roll, etc, it with.
I'm sure there are so many more materials one can use for tactile sensory play. The few that I mentioned are things we have tried. Please feel free to share other ideas with us.