Understanding Hyper-Responsiveness to Touch in the Autistic Brain

Oversensitivity to touch is common in autism and can lead to discomfort and harm. In some cases, people with autism avoid other people’s touch but seek out tactile stimulation through self- stimulatory behaviors. Self-stimulation can be anything from finger tapping to headbanging, which is harmful and dangerous. While the differences in the brain’s response to different types of touch have been studied in neurotypical people, there is little information on the different responses in people with autism. This fellow will examine how the autistic brain responds to different types of touch, ultimately providing a biological basis for determining why some touch is avoided while some is sought out, which could improve therapy for dangerous self-stimulatory behaviors.


Emily Isenstein

John Foxe