Touch is a sensitive subject. Some autistic people love exploring the textures of items, yet we may also feel very uncomfortable with physical touch. No matter the personal preference, it is essential that our personal tactile needs are respected.
The awareness of something physical by coming into contact with it through fingers, hands, skin, etc. Also known as the Tactile Sense.
Exploring Touch through Stims:
-Holding textured pillows & blankets
-Texturizing dough fidgets
-Trying new & favorite food textures
-Wearing multiple fabrics at a time
-Visiting petting zoos
-Rubbing different types of crystals
-Requesting hugs & physical touch
Signs of Tactile Overload:
-Pain from clothing tags & fabrics
-Discomfort from soft touches
-Strong desire to sleep or sit alone
-Dislike for shoes
-Overstimulated by certain food textures
-Unconsciously pushing away loved ones
-Hurts to brush teeth
Tactile boundaries can be difficult to request and enforce. From unwanted hugs to mandatory dress codes, autistic people may feel backed into a corner. Regardless of societal norms, autistic peoples boundaries are valued and supported. It is never okay for someone to tell an autistic person to “get over” a touch boundary.