Monday, 29 December 2014

Sensory or Tactile Dysfunctions

So we all know children pick up certain traits or inherit certain traits from us as parents and they are not always a good thing- over the weekend I noticed that all 3 of my boys are extremely sensitive to touch texture and feeling.
I have a tactile/ sensory dysfunction or so Ive been told I am extremely sensitive to taste and texture as well as smell and touch for instance I cannot eat any of the follow foods in their natural state: squash, butternut, sweet potato anything with that texture although I love butternut soup so its not the taste the texture just makes me gag and its been that way since childhood- I also wont eat my food if its touched anything I don't eat or if my foods mix I hate it, I just wont eat it end of story.


I also cant stand the smell of vanilla or cinnamon ick the smell actually makes me want to throw up and I am extremely sensitive to touch hence why I don't like to cuddle etc I love being tickled on my back by my partner its amazing but I am extremely ticklish so I prefer just not to be touched by people in general and there are many times as I have said before where I will actually push my partner away because I just dont want to be touched or held at all at that point in time.

Loghan is extremely sensitive to touch when he is upset or angry don't touch him at all, Gabriel to texture he loves anything silky hence why he used to drag my silk nighties through the house and sleep with them. Over the weekend I also noticed that Jesse gags extremely easily with certain foods no matter if they are mushed up all not which I found very interesting so I was doing some research and came across the following checklist- now none of us have Aspergers or anything on that line but I just found the following checklist very interesting:  

Adolecent / Adult Sensory Processing Disorder Checklist
Sensory Modulation:

__ __ bothered by clothes; certain materials, tags, seams, pantyhose, ties, belts, turtlenecks, have to wear shorts, skirts, or pants exclusively, etc.
__ __ bothered by "light touch"; someone lightly touching/rubbing your hand, face, leg or back
__ __ excessively ticklish
__ __ distressed by others touching you; would rather be the "toucher" than the   "touchee", difficulty "snuggling" with your partner
__ __ have to fidget and "fiddle" with things all the time; change in your pocket, your keys, a pen/pencil, paper clip, rubber band, ANYTHING within reach
__ __ often touching and twisting your own hair
__ __ very sensitive to pain, especially as compared to others
__ __ don't seem to notice pain; get shots/cuts/bruises and hardly feel a thing
__ __ dislike the feeling of showers or getting splashed
__ __ difficulty going to the beach; the sand blowing on your skin or getting on your body
__ __ avoid touching anything "messy"; if you do, you have to go wash your hands right away and/or only touch it with your fingertips
__ __ can not wear new or "stiff" clothes that have not been washed or soaked in fabric softener
__ __ hate to be barefoot or hate to wear shoes and/or socks
__ __ frequently get car sick, air sick, motion sick
__ __ a thrill seeker; loves fast and/or dangerous rides, leisure activities, and sports
__ __ difficulty riding on elevators, escalators, or moving sidewalks
__ __ avoid amusement park rides that spin or go upside down
__ __ seek out fast, spinning, and/or upside down carnival rides
__ __ will often rock or sway body back and forth while seated or standing still
__ __ frequently tips chair on back two legs
__ __ restless when sitting through a lecture, presentation, or movie
__ __ constantly chews on ends of pens and pencils
__ __ smokes cigarettes
__ __ difficulty eating foods with mixed textures, or one particular texture
__ __ prefer foods with very strong tastes and flavors
__ __ prefer very bland foods, dislike anything spicy
__ __ has a diagnosed eating disorder or has major eating "sensitivities"
__ __ constantly biting nails or fingers
__ __ bites lips or inside of cheeks
__ __ frequently shake your leg while sitting or falling asleep
__ __ love to sleep with multiple or heavy blankets on top of you
__ __ seek out crashing and "squishing" activities
__ __ cracks knuckles often
__ __ loves crunchy foods (popcorn, carrots, chips, nuts, pretzels, etc.)
__ __ frequently have gum or hard candy in your mouth
__ __ has an "endless" supply of air fresheners, scented candles, odor masking sprays, etc.
__ __ becomes nauseated or gags from certain cooking, cleaning, perfume, public restroom, or bodily odors
__ __ identifies objects by smell, have to smell everything, judge whether you like something or someone by smell
__ __ becomes overstimulated / overaroused when people come to the house or in crowded places
__ __ very high or very low energy level
__ __ avoids crowds and plans errands at times when there will be fewer people
__ __ overly exited/aroused in group settings
__ __ hides or disappears when guests come over
__ __ substance abuse
__ __ drinks excessive amounts of coffee or caffeinated beverages
__ __ notice and bothered by noises other people do not seem bothered by... clocks, refrigerators, fans, people talking, outdoor construction, etc.
__ __ sensitive to loud sounds or commotion
__ __ easily distracted by auditory or visual stimuli
__ __ can not attend certain public events or places due to excessive noise

Sensory Discrimination:

__ __ can't identify objects by feel if your eyes are closed
__ __ difficulty finding things in your purse or pocket without looking
__ __ don't seem to notice if your hands or face are dirty
__ __ bothered by hands or face being dirty
__ __ loves to touch and be touched, has to touch everything
__ __ have a hard time feeling where a bug has bitten you or whether you are being bitten
__ __ difficulty heating food to the correct temperature, feeling if it is too hot or too cold
__ __ difficulty locating items in a cupboard, drawer, in your closet, or on a grocery shelf
__ __ difficulty with recognizing/interpreting/following traffic signs
__ __ difficulty judging distances about where your car is in relation to other cars, in parking spaces, or near a curb (fail miserably at parallel parking!!)
__ __ difficulty merging into oncoming traffic on road, rotary, or highway
__ __ get disoriented and/or lost easily in stores, buildings, hiking, etc.
__ __ can't sleep if room isn't completely dark
__ __ fearful of heights
__ __ difficulty concentrating on or watching a movie/tv show when there is background noise or distractions
__ __ difficulty remembering or understanding what is said to you
__ __ difficulty following directions if given two or three at one time
__ __ can not complete concentrated tasks if noises present
__ __ sensitive, or over reacts, to sirens, dogs barking, vaccuum cleaners, blenders, or other sudden/loud sounds
__ __ talks too loud or too soft
__ __ lethargic, hard to get going, appears "lazy" and unmotivated
__ __ become engrossed in one single activity for a long time and seems to tune out the rest of their environment
__ __ spend hours at a time on fantasy or video games and activities
__ __ great difficulty settling body down for sleep or waking up in the morning (did you even hear the alarm that has been going off for 15 minutes?)
__ __ has difficulty licking an ice cream cone neatly
__ __ difficulty with speech and annunciation
__ __ bumps into things frequently
__ __ often pushes too hard on objects, accidentally breaking them
__ __ difficulty judging how much pressure to apply when doing tasks or picking something up
__ __ difficulty identifying which key on your ring belongs to what
__ __ numbers and letters often reversed or backwards
__ __ difficulty telling time on an analogue clock
__ __ difficulty reading and understanding a map, bus schedule, directions
__ __ difficulty organizing and grouping things by categories, similarities, and/or differences
__ __ can't seem to find words in word search puzzles
__ __ unable to identify foods that have gone bad by smell
__ __ difficulty being able to smell dangerous smells, i.e., smoke, noxious/hazardous solvents
__ __ difficulty being able to smell when something is burning on the stove or in the oven
__ __ difficulty distinguishing different tastes and/or flavors of food and/or drink items

Sensory-Based Motor Skills:

__ __ difficulty learning to ride a bike or other "moving" equipment
__ __ clumsy, uncoordinated, and accident prone
__ __ difficulty walking on uneven surfaces
__ __ difficulty with fine motor tasks such as buttoning, zipping, tying, knitting, sewing, playing games with small parts, closing zip loc bags
__ __ confuses right and left sides
__ __ prefers sedentary tasks, avoiding sports or physical activities
__ __ difficulty with handwriting; hard to read, takes a long time to write
__ __ frequently bumps into people and things
__ __ easily fatigued with physical tasks
__ __ frequently misses when putting objects on a table
__ __ messy eater, difficulty with eating utensils, spills and drops food
__ __ knocks drinks or other things over when reaching for them
__ __ frequently drops items
__ __ has to talk self through tasks
__ __ hums or vocalizes while concentrating on a task
__ __ significant difficulty learning to tie a tie
__ __ difficulty with motor tasks requiring several steps
__ __ difficulty lining up numbers correctly for math problems and/or balancing a checkbook
__ __ difficulty learning new motor tasks...a new dance, sport or exercise activity, how to drive
__ __ lose balance frequently
__ __ significant difficulty learning to type the "proper" way

Social / Emotional:

__ __ dislikes changes in plans or routines, needs structure
__ __ may be described as "stubborn", "defiant", or "uncooperative"
__ __ cries easily, over things others usually don't, very "emotional" and "sensitive"
__ __ can't seem to finish anything
__ __ difficulty making decisions
__ __ rigid and controlling
__ __ prefers solitary activities, avoids groups
__ __ impatient and/or impulsive
__ __ difficulty with social cues and non verbal language
__ __ difficulty with authority figures
__ __ trouble relating to and socializing with peers and colleagues
__ __ a "sore loser"
__ __ strong feelings of anger or rage
__ __ easily frustrated
__ __ needs sameness and routines; needs to know what to expect
__ __ have panic or anxiety attacks
__ __ plagued by fears and/or phobias
__ __ OCD-type qualities; can't let foods touch each other on your plate, have to wear clothes a certain way, will only do ____, repetitively does ____, can not do _____ without doing _____, has to have ____ like ____
__ __ distractible and unorganized
__ __ hates surprises
__ __ difficulty seeking out and maintaining relationships
__ __ avoids eye contact

Internal Regulation:

__ __ difficulty falling asleep or getting on a sleep schedule
__ __ heart rate speeds up, and won't slow down when at rest, or won't speed up for tasks that require a higher heart rate
__ __ respiration too fast or slow for the appropriate state of arousal
__ __ over or under sensitivity to bowel and bladder sensations
__ __ over or under sensitivity to the sensation of hunger/appetite
__ __ irregular, inconsistent bowel, bladder and appetite sensations
__ __ difficulty with temperature regulation of body 

 I also got the following information and checklist from :

The Somatosensory System or Tactile System, includes multiple types of sensation from the body – light touch, pain, pressure, temperature, and joint and muscle position sense (also called proprioception). However, these modalities are lumped into three different pathways in the spinal cord and have different targets in the brain. The first modality is called discriminative touch, which includes touch, pressure, and vibration perception, and enables us to “read” raised letters with our fingertips, or describe the shape and texture of an object without seeing it. The second grouping is pain and temperature, which is just what it sounds like, and also includes the sensations of itch and tickle. The third modality is called proprioception, and includes receptors for what happens below the body surface: muscle stretch, joint position, tendon tension, etc. This modality primarily targets the cerebellum which needs minute-by-minute feedback on what the muscles are doing. 

The central nervous systems ability to process tactile sensory input is distorted in the child with SPD and causes the child great discomfort. Their brain may register even the most subtle sensations as extreme irritation or even painful and he may respond in an abnormally reactive way such as grimacing or pulling away from the stimulus.

The central nervous system must rely on five sensory nerve receptors in the skin to keep it informed about its environment. These receptors are; light touch (surface), pressure (deep), temperature (hot & cold) and pain. It is quite possible for one type of receptor to be sensitive and the other normalized. This explains why he may tolerate light touches, but dislike firm hugs; or hate tags and hair cuts.

The tactile defensive individual who experiences this extreme sensory registration can have great distress in daily living. This discomfort may be compared to the experience of trimming your fingernails too close.The raw sensation experienced by nerves that are no longer protected by the fingernail can be very irritating. This is similar to the way that a person with extreme touch sensitivity may experience sensations, except for two important differences. First, in the case of the person who just clipped their nails, the discomfort comes because the nerves that have been sheltered are now exposed making the person acutely aware of sensations he does not ordinarily feel. The nerve function is normal, but the experience is abnormal. For a person who is overly sensitive to touch the experiences are normal and the nerve function is abnormal. Second, the person who has clipped his nails will soon become accustomed to the sensation, while the person with the over sensitive system does not accommodate to the sensations no matter how much exposure he has. Because of this he may feel bombarded by dozens of unpleasant sensory experiences on a daily basis.

This child may be constantly aware of the clothes on his body to the point of distraction. He may be unable to concentrate on school work because his filtering system is not screening out the feel of the hard chair, the bumps on the pencil, the sharp edges of the paper, the air current blowing through the room, etc.This child may dread art projects that include finger-painting, glue and clay.

This child might want to dress from head to toe in soft sweat clothes, even in hot weather, as this prevents his skin from being exposed to tactile stimulation and decrease the sensory invasion of his nervous system. The slightest accidental bump from another person may feel like a threat and he may lash out in defense. It may appear that he is impulsive, hitting others, but no one understands that he is fighting against the perceived raid of his space as interpreted by his brain.

He may dislike group games like tag or dodge ball, or holding hands with a partner can be agonizing.He may be afraid of the possibility of being touched by another child. He may want to stand apart from others to prevent being bumped and this prevents him from being able to interact with friends in a normal way.

Adults who experience this type of hypersensitivity may have problems in their relationships. Even when appropriate, they still might not want to hug or hold hands with their partners. Normal daily physical contact may cause annoyance and aversion. Wanting to only talk and not touch physically can negatively impact adult relationships. Surprise touches, especially when approached from behind, can cause distress and the person may respond with a punch. The adult who has these problems probably does not intend to be withholding or withdrawn, but this is the only way his nervous system can handle personal interactions.

The individual who is tactile defensive may also experience other problems such as coordination problems, speech and language delays, gets dizzy easy, easily confused, overwhelmed, experience hand-eye coordination difficulties, and motor planning issues.

1. HYPERSENSITIVITY TO TOUCH (tactile defensiveness):

__ becomes fearful, anxious or aggressive with light or unexpected touch
__ as an infant, did/does not like to be held or cuddled; may arch back, cry, and pull away
__ distressed when diaper is being, or needs to be, changed
__ appears fearful of, or avoids standing in close proximity to other people or peers (especially in lines)
__ becomes frightened when touched from behind or by someone/something they can not see (such as under a blanket)
__ complains about having hair brushed; may be very picky about using a particular brush
__ bothered by rough bed sheets (i.e., if old and “bumpy”)
__ avoids group situations for fear of the unexpected touch
__ resists friendly or affectionate touch from anyone besides parents or siblings (and sometimes them too!)
__ dislikes kisses, will “wipe off” place where kissed
__ prefers hugs
__ a raindrop, water from the shower, or wind blowing on the skin may feel like torture and produce adverse and avoidance reactions
__ may overreact to minor cuts, scrapes, and or bug bites
__ avoids touching certain textures of material (blankets, rugs, stuffed animals)
__ refuses to wear new or stiff clothes, clothes with rough textures, turtlenecks, jeans, hats, or belts, etc.
__ avoids using hands for play
__ avoids/dislikes/aversive to “messy play”, i.e., sand, mud, water, glue, glitter, playdoh, slime, shaving cream/funny foam etc.
__ will be distressed by dirty hands and want to wipe or wash them frequently
__ excessively ticklish
__ distressed by seams in socks and may refuse to wear them
__ distressed by clothes rubbing on skin; may want to wear shorts and short sleeves year round, toddlers may prefer to be naked and pull diapers and clothes off constantly
__ or, may want to wear long sleeve shirts and long pants year round to avoid having skin exposed
__ distressed about having face washed
__ distressed about having hair, toenails, or fingernails cut
__ resists brushing teeth and is extremely fearful of the dentist
__ is a picky eater, only eating certain tastes and textures; mixed textures tend to be avoided as well as hot or cold foods; resists trying new foods
__ may refuse to walk barefoot on grass or sand
__ may walk on toes only

2. HYPOSENSITIVITY TO TOUCH (under-responsive):

__ may crave touch, needs to touch everything and everyone
__ is not aware of being touched/bumped unless done with extreme force or intensity
__ is not bothered by injuries, like cuts and bruises, and shows no distress with shots (may even say they love getting shots!)
__ may not be aware that hands or face are dirty or feel his/her nose running
__ may be self-abusive; pinching, biting, or banging his own head
__ mouths objects excessively
__ frequently hurts other children or pets while playing
__ repeatedly touches surfaces or objects that are soothing (i.e., blanket)
__ seeks out surfaces and textures that provide strong tactile feedback
__ thoroughly enjoys and seeks out messy play
__ craves vibrating or strong sensory input
__ has a preference and craving for excessively spicy, sweet, sour, or salty foods


__ has difficulty with fine motor tasks such as buttoning, zipping, and fastening clothes
__ may not be able to identify which part of their body was touched if they were not looking
__ may be afraid of the dark
__ may be a messy dresser; looks disheveled, does not notice pants are twisted, shirt is half untucked, shoes are untied, one pant leg is up and one is down, etc.
__ has difficulty using scissors, crayons, or silverware
__ continues to mouth objects to explore them even after age two
__ has difficulty figuring out physical characteristics of objects; shape, size, texture, temperature, weight, etc.
__ may not be able to identify objects by feel, uses vision to help; such as, reaching into backpack or desk to retrieve an item

I checked more of these boxes than unchecked, I think this is a very handy checklist to have to if you think you or your child may be experiencing a sensory disorder, for the most part even though people find my behavior incredibly strange everyone close to me has learnt to deal with it and is understanding of why I literally gril when touched unexpectedly or why I look green when certain foods are put in front of me- they know I'm not rude when I decline certain meals or if I burn incense to get rid of a smell they are wearing or even why I sometimes get so overwhelmed with people or sounds I have a total tantrum freak out in public I try hard to ignore it but I cant.  

Maybe some of the things listed above will help you or your child, its not an easy road when people don't understand, if you think you or your child has a sensory problem or dysfunction and you struggle to live with it on a daily basis contact a psychiatrist or doctor for an evaluation or advice if you fit some of the criteria above it does not necessarily mean you have a sensory issue but if you do struggle day to day you may well have.

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