Every individual possesses unique sensory preferences. For some, textures, whether they relate to clothing materials, food, or objects, can evoke intense sensations or even discomfort.
Why It’s Challenging
Sensory sensitivities to textures might be indicative of conditions such as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or be a facet of neurodivergent profiles like autism. For individuals with such sensitivities, everyday tasks, like wearing specific clothing or eating certain foods, can become distressing or even unbearable.
Supporting Ourselves and Others
Comprehending the profound impact that textures can have on an individual’s wellbeing is the starting point. Modifying environments, accommodating preferences, and offering alternatives can significantly improve comfort and functionality.
Practical Steps to Enhance Comfort with Textures
- Choose Carefully: When purchasing clothes or home textiles, be conscious of material types. For those who prefer soft textures, materials like cotton or bamboo might be suitable, whereas others might favour silk or wool.
- Test and Adapt: Before committing to large purchases or changes, test different textures to see which ones are most comfortable.
- Modify Diet: If food textures are a concern, modifying cooking methods or choosing alternative ingredients can make a significant difference. This can be especially beneficial for those with specific food preferences.
- Desensitisation Techniques: Occupational therapy or sensory integration therapy can offer techniques to reduce sensitivity over time.
- Create a Safe Space: Having a sensory-friendly space at home, furnished with preferred textures, can offer solace during overwhelming times. This space can also serve as a refuge for those who struggle with background noise or need solitary time.
- Weighted Blankets: Many individuals find the deep pressure of weighted blankets soothing. These can be particularly beneficial for those who struggle with anxiety.
- Texture Boards: These boards, commonly used in occupational therapy, have various textures attached, allowing individuals to explore and acclimate to different sensations.
- Sensory Bins: Filled with rice, beans, sand, or other materials, sensory bins let individuals engage with and explore different textures in a controlled environment.