By Amy Vega - July 2, 2014

SPD, allergies and the “itchy” sensation during IM training explained


Can you explain why some kids get “itchy” during the IM training?  What can I do to prevent it as it interferes with training?


Many children with conditions like ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Autism have allergies (i.e., food, environmental) and a form of Urticaria called Dermographism. Many times the allergies are undiagnosed. Mast cells in the body release histamine when there is repeated physical contact with the skin, which occurs while clapping the hands together. The itching sensation can then spread to other parts of the body where there is no physical contact (i.e., the legs). To work around this, I have found it quite helpful to put soft chenille gloves on the hands during training (or on the hand that is not wearing the hand trigger). This dampens the effect of the repeated contact and prevents the cascade of histamines that causes the itching. 

Some children with allergies and Urticaria become itchy when they are nervous or anxious. This may be a response to IM training itself (i.e., anxious about performance) or may be due to Sensory Processing Disorder. Taking the proper steps to ensure comfort is important and may facilitate a better experience with IM training.

NOTE: Individuals with Sensory Processing Disorder may exhibit both Dermographism and a negative response to certain sensory input. The soft chenille gloves work great for both situations, and IM training has been shown clinically to facilitate better sensory modulation.

Here are a few websites that contain helpful information about Sensory Processing Disorder:


Amy Vega, MS, CCC-SLP

Interactive Metronome, Inc

Clinical Education Director

Clinical Advisory Board Director

Clinical Education Administrator

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