The Tactile System

child learning about the tactile system at preschool

The tactile system refers to our sense of touch. It helps us understand important sensations such as pressure, texture, temperature, and pain. The tactile system helps us develop our fine motor skills, body awareness, and explore the world around us. It is the first sensory system to develop in the womb and the largest sensory system in the body.

When a child’s tactile system is working properly, they are able to feel secure and comfortable in their own body, and have no issues with different textures and sensations. However children with tactile sensory difficulties may either seek out tactile input or shy away. Tactile input affects the nervous system for 1-2 hours after the initial contact.

Children who seek out tactile input may:

-Touch everything

-Have a high pain threshold

-Participate in rough play

-Unaware of their face/hands being messy

-Unphased by cold/hot weather

Children who shy away from tactile input may:

-Dislike their hair or teeth being brushed

-Walks on tip toes

-Resists hugs and cuddles

-Avoids being messy

-Becomes upset over tags in clothing

-Upset over certain clothing items

Ways to assist a child with tactile work are:

-Theraputty or playdoh


-Sand play

-Hand fidgets

-Weighted blanket

-Sensory bins

-Shaving cream

girl learning about the tactile system at preschool

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