Touch sensitivity is caused by a sensory motor integration deficit.

Have you noticed your child cringe when you touch his face? Does he insist on the labels from his clothes cut off before putting them on? Does he refuse to touch things that he considers slimy, dirty, or sticky? Does he hate it when someone touches his feet? Does he not like wearing fabrics such as wool because they are scratchy? Does he hate having his hair washed and brushed?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then your child may suffer from tactile defensiveness, also commonly referred to as touch sensitivity.

Touch Sensitivity Explained:

Our sense of touch plays an important role in our emotional as well as social development. This is the system that lets us establish significant connections with other people. Touch is what connects a newborn to his mother and touch is what allows us to have intimate relationships with our partners.

Touch also plays a protective role. It is through touch that we understand that things such as hot temperatures can be dangerous. Unpleasant and painful experiences that we can identify due to touch can warn us of impeding dangers that could require us to act in haste.

However, there are instances when the tactile sensory system in some people fails to function properly. This is when distress and pain can be caused by touch sensations that are otherwise not really a threat, and even by sensations that others would normally find pleasant. These are people who suffer from touch sensitivity.

If your child suffers from this condition, he needs to be dealt with care. Sensations that we might regard as meaningless could be viewed as physical threats by him. The way he perceives touch sensations differ from the way a normal child would.


A sensation that you might perceive as smooth may seem painful to your touch sensitive child. As a result, casual physical contact may elicit an extreme reaction. Your child could lash out, scream, or simply run away.

Touch sensitivity doesn’t have to affect your child’s ability to learn, but the behavior that results from touch sensitivity might. Children who are touch sensitive are often defensive. Your child could become highly insecure and distracted.

There is also a differentiating factor between this condition and ADHD. Children who suffer from ADHD have problems in sustaining their attention, but they do not get distracted more easily. An ADHD child would not be affected by a small stimulus if he is engaged in an interesting activity. A touch sensitive child will be disturbed by something small.

How does a touch sensitive child experience the world? How do you feel when someone scrapes his fingernails across a blackboard? How do you feel when you cut your nails very short? This is what a seemingly warm caress could seem like to a child who suffers from touch sensitivity.

Such a child might not feel comfortable wearing his woolen trousers because they don’t feel right when worn. He could overreact when another child accidentally bumps into him. He could lose concentration in class due to the air rushing out of the ventilation duct. He could have a problem making friends due to his fear of being bumped.

Adults who suffer from this condition could end up having problems with their partners. Normal everyday contact could seem upsetting and they could avoid physical contact even in situations when it is deemed appropriate. This feeling of not wanting to be touched can have strong negative repercussions in a marriage.

To be continued

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Warmly,

    Anthony Kane, MD
      P S Please leave a comment because I would really like to get your reaction to this.

        If you would like to have a quick step-by-step plan on how to end your child's difficult behavior forever and your child is between the ages of 2 and 11:

          Please go to:

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          In this study 200 children ages 5 to 12 were surveyed concerning their caffeine consumption. 150 children consumed caffeine on a daily basis.

          They found that some children as young as five consumed daily the amount of caffeine in a can of soda. The average child between the ages 8 to 12 had 109 mg of caffeine daily, equal to 3 cans of soda.

          Poor sleep quality was linked directly to the amount of caffeine consumed. however, contrary to popular belief caffeine consumption had no connection to bed wetting.

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          Children who eat breakfast on a daily basis perform better on verbal and performance IQ tests.

          In a recent study examining 1269 6 year old children in China, investigators found that children who ate breakfast regularly averaged 5.58 points higher on the verbal test and 2.50 points higher on the performance test.

          The study adjusted for other variables in the children’s lives such as income and level of schooling.

          IQ stands for “intelligence quotient”. The test measure’s of a person’s verbal and performance skills and is thought to be a measure of intelligence.

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          Many parents suspect that their children might have ADHD or Oppositional Defiant Disorder, but are afraid to have their children formally diagnosed. They feel that once their child gets the ADHD label he will be categorized and placed in an unbreakable mold for the rest of his childhood. They fear that this label will have a negative effect on his life and his future.

          This is a legitimate concern. This can happen and this does happen. Not always, not even frequently, but enough that labeling your child for the sake of categorizing him, may be something that you do not want to do.

          So why not just treat the ADHD symptoms or the ODD behavior without the label?

          Here is the reason.

          Over the years, experts have noticed that the symptoms individuals experience follow certain patterns. Frequently, they are able to categorize these symptom patterns. When they are able to do this they attach labels to these patterns. These labels are called diagnoses.

          The purpose of labeling your child with a diagnosis is not to give him a label. It is because experts understand that treating your child is easier and usually more effective if they can figure out which category he is in. Just as certain behaviors fit certain patterns and therefore fall in a certain category, treatments for these behaviors fall into certain categories as well.

          For example, Bob is a nine year old who has trouble controlling his impulses, can’t pay attention in class, and is hyperactive. He has a friend in his class, Fred, who is just like him. Fred also has trouble paying attention in class, has trouble with impulse control, and is often hyperactive. But Fred at times can be a bit moody, sometimes seeming quite happy and other times seeming a bit sad and withdrawn.

          Now if you were just look at their symptoms, Bob and Fred seem almost the same and the most logical thing to do would be to give these two children the same treatment. After all, their symptoms are almost identical. But an astute clinician, who really understands how certain conditions are categorized, will see things differently.


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          Bob fits the pattern for a child with ADHD. Fred also may have ADHD. But there is a real possibility that he also has Bipolar disorder, which is a much more serious condition. The treatment of these two conditions is not the same.

          This means that if Fred does not get an adequate assessment, in all probability he will get the incorrect label of ADHD and his Bipolar condition will be missed. 15% of people with bipolar disorder who do not get treated commit suicide, which makes Fred’s misdiagnosis a very serious error.

          And this type of thing happens all the time. It can happen any time a child walks into his pediatrician’s office and walks out ten minutes later with a diagnosis of ADHD and prescription for Ritalin or Concerta.


          Getting your child a correct diagnosis is extremely important.

          A diagnosis is not just a label. It is the key to understanding and definitively addressing and correcting the problems your child may have. A good evaluation gives his treatment providers important information about the extent of the problem your child has as well as other problems that may be below the surface.

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          Warmly,

            Anthony Kane, MD
              P S Please leave a comment because I would really like to get your reaction to this.

                If you would like to have a quick step-by-step plan on how to end your child's difficult behavior forever and your child is between the ages of 2 and 11:

                  Please go to:

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                  The current trend in parenting is to encourage freedom and exploration unhampered by negative feedback. With that in mind things like yelling or spanking are politically incorrect.

                  In this new article the author relates her experiences growing up under a mother who was a yeller. While the author doesn’t go so far as to praise yelling, she points out that looking back at the results, yelling has had its benefits.

                  You can read this somewhat contrarian article at:

                  Yelling at Kids

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