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Why Does My Child Pick and Pinch Their Skin?

It may be a Sensory Processing issue. The sensory system feeds information from our environment, via our central nervous system, directly to our brain. The brain then organizes it, sends it back through the nervous system for the use as understanding, adaptation, learning and skill development.

When our nervous system functions well it allows a person to interact with their environment efficiently, developing necessary motor and language skills as well as appropriate social/emotional behavior. When our system is unable to organize the information appropriately, a variety of symptoms can present: motor delays, tactile defensiveness, learning disorders, social or emotional difficulties, speech and language deficits and attention disorders. Many children have atypical sensory processing. They have difficulties with too much or too little sensory inputs.

The act of pinching and picking provides proprioceptive input (deep pressure) and tactile (touch) input to the hand/fingers/skin which can be soothing and regulating for the nervous system. When a child is pinching and/or picking themselves, it can serve as sensory input that they can actually feel. Children who under-register sensory input often require very intense sensory input to experience the sensation. So, pinching and/or picking their own skin may feel good. In turn, they do not realize that others do not experience sensation differently so they may not realize it hurts someone.

Ideas to Help:

  • Encourage the use of a fidget toy as a replacement, preferably one that the child can pinch or pick.
  • Regular use of Theraputty, clay, or Playdoh can help meet this proprioceptive urge.
  • Provide deep pressure touch to the hands and fingers throughout the day.
  • A vibrating toy or handheld massager can be helpful.
  • Encourage other types of heavy/hard work play for the arms and hands.
  • Wheelbarrow walking may be helpful.
  • Encourage push-and-pull type activities and hanging from a trapeze or playground bar.
  • Have your child wear compression clothing or a compression vest.

These activities and suggestions are not a replacement for direct therapy intervention and require adult supervision. Please consult one of our occupational therapists as necessary and for further information. To schedule an appointment, click here.

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Patient Reviews

LLA Therapy

Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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