Everything you need to know about touch - GriffinOT (2023)

Everything you need to know about the sense of touch

Sensory processing and touch

Our sense of touch, or touch, is one that most people are reasonably familiar with. It's one of the five senses you learned in school.

The sense of touch reacts to everythingtouch the skin. The skin is a very intelligent organ. he reacts to itmuch more than touch. It sends sensory messages through touch, pain, temperature and vibration. There are also three different types of touch that the skin processes, which I'll explain below.

Everything you need to know about touch - GriffinOT (1)

Everything you need to know about touch - GriffinOT (2)

Sensory processing and touch

Our sense of touch, or touch, is one that most people are reasonably familiar with. It's one of the five senses you learned in school.

The sense of touch reacts to everythingtouch the skin. The skin is a very intelligent organ. he reacts to itmuch more than touch. It sends sensory messages through touch, pain, temperature and vibration. There are also three different types of touch that the skin processes, which I'll explain below.

A first

The skin is thelargest organ in the human body. It handles more than just touch. He receives information about the following sensations.

(Video) What is Tactile Defensiveness (Touch Sensitivity to clothing, shoes and/or messy play)


There are three different types of light touch, discriminating touch, and pressure touch. I explain them all below as it is important that you know the differences between them.


The body reacts quickly and slowly to pain. Fasting is protective, it's what gets your body out of the way. The slower one stays around for a while, remembering you got hurt.


This tells the brain whether the temperature of the environment is hot or cold. Goose bumps are an ancient reflection of the cold that makes your hair stand on end. As we had more hair on our bodies, it added to the insulation that our hair offered to our bodies.


The skin also processes vibrations. We wouldn't feel that often, but the receptors are still there.

Our sense of touch helps us to help

  • Knowing where something has touched us or which part of our body is in pain

  • Feel the size, shape and texture of objects and people

  • Be precise with our fine motor skills, especially with the fingers and when speaking

  • Moving the body away if something we are touching is dangerous (e.g. stepping on a spike or touching a hot plate)

  • Know if it's hot or cold

It is important to remember that the sense of touch isandersto proprioception. Our proprioceptors process sensory information that comes from our muscles and joints rather than our skin. Touch and proprioceptive senses work together to coordinate our movements. You can learn more about themproprioceptive sense here.

Did you know that there are three different types of ringtones!

light touch

Light touch is also calledprotective touch. That's because their job is to protect us. He reacts to anything that easily brushes his skin and can include tickling. Light touches often trigger our body's protective alarm system. A good example of this is when you unexpectedly come across aSpider web. Your body will have an automatic protective response and get you out of the way. It's also the part of our sense of touch that moves our hand when we touch something hot or painful, like a thorn. The way of the light touchreact immediatelybut his information is not very specific. It is believed that children and adults with tactile sensitivity pay more attention to messages in this way than children and adults without sensory problems. I explore this further in my online course –Sensory Awareness with GriffinOT.

discriminatory touch

Discriminatory touch is the part of your touch system that cares for youvery specific and detailed informationabout what you are touching or where you have been touched. Thinking of the spider web example, the light touch system would know that something uncomfortable is touching your arm, causing you to move. The discriminatory touch pathway tells the brain that whatever has touched the skin feels sticky. Based on your past experiences, your brain might figure out that it's probably a spider web. So when you feel your arm to find exactly where the spider web is and pull it out, that is also your distinctive touch path at work. This way is also veryimportant for accurate and precise fine motor skills. It is believed to be important in the development of movement planning, orPraxis, Also.

Tapping pressure or deep tapping pressure

The touch pressure isfirmer touch or pressure. It is sometimes referred to as deep touch pressure. It works in the way of discriminatory touch. A good example is when you ahug. Your discriminatory touch path tells you where the person is touching you, but you can also feel how hard they are pressing. This feeling of how gently or firmly you press is called touch pressure. Another example would be when you tighten your shoes, you will know if they are too tight or too loose by the pressure they put on your feet. Even if you are under a thick blanket, you can feel the pressure it puts on your skin.

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Everything you need to know about touch - GriffinOT (3)

Mia's story

Mia has always hated getting her hair done and going to the hairdresser has always been a struggle. She's picky about certain food textures, especially fruit or things with pits. These are common examples ofsensory touch sensitivity. Mia's sense of touch interprets touch differently than others perceive it. For them, the sensations of everyday touch can bepainfuleuncomfortable. Your sense of touch usually responds with a fight-flight-freeze response.

Everything you need to know about touch - GriffinOT (4)

What might it look like if our sense of touch isn't working well?

When the sense of touch doesn't process the sensory input it receives very well, it doesthree typical sensory challenges: sensory reactivity/modulation; sensory discrimination and sensory movement. If you are unfamiliar with sensory processing, you can read this article for more information –"What is Sensory Processing Disorder?"In the rest of this article, we'll examine how these sensory processing difficulties affect touch.

Differential reactivity to touching sensory input

Some people have different touch tolerances, there are three typical reactions. Some children and adults areSlowerto respond to touch-sensing input, meaning they need more touch input to understand. Your answer might besearch foradditional touch input or they perceive touch-sensing input more slowly. Other children and adults aretouch sensitive. Your brain finds some types of touch overwhelming and in some cases painful. Some common signs of any type of reaction are:

Slow responses to the sensory stimulus of touch:

  • Doesn't notice when hands or face are messy or dirty

  • Does not cry for serious injuries and does not bother with minor injuries

  • Can't tell if bumped or pushed

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Seeking sensory input through touch

  • Touch people in a way that irritates them

  • loves to play messy

  • do you like haircuts

Touch sensitivity of sensory input

  • Does not like having his hair cut or brushed

  • Difficulty cutting toes and nails

  • Mixed with food textures

  • Annoyed by certain clothing textures, labels and seams and socks. Avoid new clothes

Touch sensitivity may be referred to by occupational therapists as tactile defense. It is commonly reported by children and adults with autism. I discuss touch sensitivity later in this articleWhat is tactile defense?

bad touch discrimination

Touch or tactile discrimination is all about the 'Was'e'Wo.’ What touches me, how is it? Is it hot or cold, dry or sticky, hard or soft, sharp or dull? What shape is it, big or small? Where does this affect me? At the foot or at the top? Hand or fingers, elbow or arm, forehead or chin, back or front?

Touch discrimination gives our body everythingexact informationabout what we play and where we are played. It's touch discrimination that allows us to put our hand in our pocket and pull out the £1 coin instead of a 50p coin. Our hand can feel itandersCoins and remove the correct one. The same is true when you put your hand in your purse to find your keys, your fingers can feel the difference between your keys and your wallet; You can differentiate between the two.

Little praxis (Dyspraxie)

You may be thinking what the sense of touch has to do with thisDyspraxia? While researching sensory integration, Jean Ayres discovered that poor touch discrimination was associated with dyspraxia. In her final model, she factored in a poor ability to localize touch and an inability to recognize object shapes as signs of dyspraxia. She felt it was important for children to learn how to plan and organize their body movements, as the sense of touch helps create the map of our body (known as the body schema) in the brain. You can read more about itDyspraxia yesterday.

The sense of touch is crucial for academic success. It supports accuracy with fine motor skills. And it helps the self-regulation of cravings.

Why is our sense of touch important for learning and participation?

If you want to be successful in school, you have to be goodfine motor skills! You need to know how to hold a pencil, how to open your lunch box, and how to button and cut with scissors and dissolve glue. It is our sense of touch that supports our fine motor skills and allows us to successfully carry out all these activities.

Our sense of touch also helps hereself-regulation. For example, mothers comfort babies with their touch. Even as an adult, hugs still help to comfort. Children and adults who have difficulty modulating sensory input through touch may become more distracted by touch. This may include wearing the school uniform being a challenge. Or they engage less in messy games or other learning activities.

Where next?

To continue learning about the sense of touch, including different types of touch, you can join GriffinOT'sFree introduction to sensory processingOnlinetraining.

(Video) Move with Lucy Level 1 Video 3 GriffinOT

photo credit

hand touches fingers -Pixabay.comvia Pexels.com

boy with sandXavier Mouton PhotographyonUnsplash

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VonGriffinOT|2022-02-26T04:34:39+00:0026. October 2018|News,the senses|

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What are the 4 things your sense of touch is able to tell you? ›

Using your sense of touch allows you to tell if something is hot or cold, dull or sharp, rough or smooth, wet or dry.

How does the sense of touch work answer? ›

Sensations begin as signals generated by touch receptors in your skin. They travel along sensory nerves made up of bundled fibers that connect to neurons in the spinal cord. Then signals move to the thalamus, which relays information to the rest of the brain.

What information do you know about touch sense? ›

The touch sense responds to anything that touches the skin. The skin is a very clever organ. It responds to much more than touch. It sends sensory messages regarding touch, pain, temperature and vibration.

What are the basic senses of touch? ›

Touch consists of several distinct sensations communicated to the brain through specialized neurons in the skin. Pressure, temperature, light touch, vibration, pain and other sensations are all part of the touch sense and are all attributed to different receptors in the skin.

What are the 3 State of touch? ›

The touch sensor has three states: Pressed. Released. Bumped.

Which part of the body is most sensitive to touch? ›

The tongue, lips, and fingertips are the most touch- sensitive parts of the body, the trunk the least. Each fingertip has more than 3,000 touch receptors, many of which respond primarily to pressure.


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