My Toddler's Sensitivities

Toddler Stepping Barefoot on Grass
Butch Martin/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

As I wrote in earlier posts, my son had an intense interest in letters and then words, interests that eventually led to his early reading. It wasn't just this intense interest, though, that set him apart from other children I knew; he also seemed to be extremely sensitive to touch and textures.

I remember clearly one warm summer day when my two-year-old son and I set off for a walk outside. We started down the front walk and then started to cut across the lawn.

My son started fussing and running back to the sidewalk. I wanted him to look at the grass, including the clover and the dandelions.  He refused to move off the sidewalk. What I discovered was that he absolutely hated the way the grass felt on his bare feet. Once I helped him put his shoes on, he was fine. He scampered all over the lawn.

Sensitivity to touch is not unusual with gifted kids. They may hate the feeling of clothing tags on their necks or the feeling of seams in their socks. They may hate the feel of some textures against their skin (like grass or wool) and love the feel of other textures (like satin, silk, or velvet).

Sensitivity to textures can also affect what a child likes - or dislikes - to eat. Most people believe that kids' eating preferences have to do with how something tastes. Kids tend to like sweet foods and dislike bitter foods. There are good reasons for that kind of preference since it can prevent kids from eating plants that may be poisonous (poisonous plants tend to be bitter).

  But kids with this kind of sensory hypersensitivity may also like or dislike the texture of some foods. My son, for example, hated anything with a gooey texture. That meant he would not eat melted cheese (like that in macaroni and cheese), peanut butter, or even pudding. I can tell you that this sensitivity made fixing easy lunches pretty difficult.

Has your child every shown sensitivity to touch? To different textures? Join me on Facebook and share your stories.

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