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How to cope with TOUCH SENSITIVITY in summer . . .

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

Are you happy that it's summer?

For kids, summertime means sunny days at the beach, the park, the playground, and the pool. Yet, these environments present a range of touch input that may be dysregulating to sensory sensitive kids.

So, what can we do to proactively help our kids cope with different types of summer input and build happy summertime memories?

1- Sunscreen, with its slippery feel:

> Cover up! Wear a wide-brimmed hat and thin, long sleeve shirts.

> Wander the aisle with your child and help him or her choose from a variety of sunscreen products.

> Try sunscreen sticks or sprays!

2- Sand on skin:

> Keep an extra towel in the car or backpack to quickly brush off hands and feet as needed.

> Pack an extra change of clothing.

> Offer kids an opportunity to play with sand before heading to the beach. Chances are you and your child will come up with some helpful strategies to cope with the feeling, like using a shovel to play in sand.

3- Summer Clothes (sandals, shorts, hats, and tee-shirts):

> Be flexible! Some children (and adults) don't wear traditional summer clothes. Today there are lighter fabrics, so long sleeves work. Not wearing sandals is perfectly okay!

> Play dress-up in a local store and allow a child to choose his or her own summer clothing. Hats, especially, should be tried on to see how they feel.

4- Water and Splashing:

> Time of day and environmental stressors impact how a child tolerates the feel of water. If a pool is busy, there will be lots of other input for a child to deal with as well.

> Have towels at the ready!

> Play games a child enjoys!

> Keep swimming sessions and pool visits short.

5- Heat:

> Know your child's tolerance for heat and check the forecast.

> Consider a handheld misting fan for hot days.

> Wear thin clothing and carry ice water.

What other tips do you have for summertime support among children with touch sensitivity?


As always, feel welcome to touch base with me, Dr. Lisa Marnell, OT, by e-mail at I would love to hear about your successes, your struggles, and any questions or comments you have! Let me know if this post was helpful.

I also wanted to share that I am SO excited for 2021. I am developing a FREE Online Autism Masterclass entitled Helping Kids Master CALM. Sign up for this Masterclass at my website HERE:

Also, join my Autism Facebook group and keep up to date as I post more tips to help teachers, parents, and therapists help kids master skills! Join HERE:

Are you following Kids Master Skills on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, or Instagram?

Finally, for a variety of skill-building resources, check out my store on Teachers Pay Teachers at


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