Tactile Massage is a communication activity resource for helping people with sensory needs, developmental delay, as well as profound and multiple learning difficulties. It can support pupils with tactile defensiveness, and those with limited, or pre-verbal, communication. We use Tactile Massage to develop body awareness and basic interaction skills which includes Intensive Interaction. It provides a structured, emotionally safe framework for the ‘receiving partner’ to make contact with their own bodies, their environment and other people, and develop a relationship with them. The ‘giving partner’ ensures that each tactile experience is well organised, sensitively offered, and adjusted to suit the receiving partner’s responses.
Tactile massage can use familiar resources or items matched to the learning theme. The experience is then enhanced through the principle of ‘sensory alignment’. Pieces of music have been specifically composed to match the texture, character, and even the emotional quality of the touch experience. The activity and object are announced on the CD aligning what a pupil hears, what they see and what they feel on their skin. Sensory alignment, and sensory reinforcement, through seeing, hearing and touching. Through linking what becomes familiar music with objects, actions and people in a pattern of different activities, the partners communicate with each other.