Tactile Defensiveness In a Young Adult

by B.P.

I am a 19 year old male with (what I believe to be) Tactile Defensiveness. I never even knew there was something wrong until my early teens, and never even tried to seek help until just a few months ago.

My overall symptoms:
- I've never liked getting wet. Once my skin dries it becomes extremely (At some rare times it has been cripplingly) irritated. This makes handwashing a tumultuous ordeal if I don't have hand lotion readily available.
- Sand, chalk, "fuzzy" textures, paper, a thousand other things are extremely irritating at times.
- My feet are extremely sensitive. I wear socks 24 hours of the day, except in the shower.
- "Craving" pressure. When I was younger, as a way to cope with what was going on, (I was extremely confused about it) I used to sit on, or squeeze my hands when they were irritated from dryess. I think maybe cutting off circulation for a bit helped to calm my nerves.
- Stimuli other than direct touch can lead to irritation (Like a fingernails on chalkboard things).
- Most of my discomfort comes from my skin being dry, but can also be a result of things like certain soaps(especially dish soap), really 'sandy' mud, or a lot of other things 'on' my skin.
- At a young age I was somewhat socially recluse, but I have not had any major impairment (as far as I know) of development as a result, as I've been able to cope in various... and sometimes strange... ways. Thank goodness!

One thing that confuses me, though, is the majority of resources I have found regarding SPD's are geared toward infants and young children, and specifically those with a form of autism or other mental disorder. I have never been diagnosed with, or suspected of having anything beyond ADHD (Which I was found to not have), so much of the information I've found is a bit... difficult to apply to my situation.

As a result of lacking health insurance for the last few months, (It wasn't until this year that I even knew there was a disorder called Tactile Defensiveness) I am unable to just go out and see doctors and therapists freely. So if anyone knows whom I can contact about more information, or even something I can do that won't cost hundreds--if not thousands-- of dollars (Whoopee!! Uninsured health appointments!!)-- It would be much appreciated.

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Apr 21, 2011
untreated wood, is this tactile defensiveness?
by: Anonymous

I'm an adult (35), and my whole life I've never been able to touch untreated wood (for instance wooden spoons), or construction paper, and I ALWAYS have to have lotion on my hands. I hate washing my hands if I cant put lotion on IMMEDIATELY afterwards. I've never told anyone, not wanting people to think I'm weird. However, yesterday my 5 year old daughter told me the reason she won't wipe herself after going to the bathroom, is because she doesnt like touching the toilet paper...she says she doesnt like "soft" things. Knowing how she feels, I don't know what to do, and had never even heard of tactile defensiveness until right this minute, when I googled my symptoms. I'm so relieved there are other people out there, and that there are suggestions. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to deal with my daughter not being able to touch toilet paper? For my problems of wood, I'v just always put my shirt sleeve over my hands before touching things, and always have lotion with me.

Jun 16, 2010
I recommend this
by: Anonymous

Hi guys
I read your posts with interest, and would seriously recommend trying some deep pressure. This is kind of like massage but much firmer. Rub your arms and legs on both sides applying very firm pressure. Have someone else do your back. Do NOT rub your stomach. Then push and pull your joints to provide what is known as joint compression. For more information on this type of treatment for Tactile Defensiveness look up Wilbarger Brushing Protocol.
All the best :-)

Apr 28, 2010
by: B.P.

Hah, wow I posted this forever ago.. didn't think anyone would ever see it. It's comforting that at least someone shares the same problem as me. I'll definitely let you know as well if I find out anything.

If you want to keep in correspondence, my e-mail is Foostball@gmail.com.

Hope to hear back soon!

Apr 19, 2010
Me too!..well, kinda
by: Iz

Wearing certain clothes, getting my hands dirty or walking on grass or sand was always very hard for me. Tickling games and friends trying to hug me from behind or touching my neck is always something unwelcomed and rather uncomfortable.
Several weeks ago I finally decided to do a little bit of research and did a test in this site. Turns out I may have tactile defensiveness too (that socks question on the test did it, seriously, that was one of my top problems ever).

I have been looking for information in the web but everything said is just about autistic and X syndrome patients and as far as I know (as you said), I have neither of those problems. The only treatments I have found are for kids and they involve finger painting and kids' stuff.

My objective right now is to find an occupational therapist and see what s/he would recommend for someone our age (I´m 18). Thing is, there is almost no info on the internet. So, if I see something, I´ll make sure to post something here :)

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