How to Desensitize Gloves

Posted by Debra C. Lowsky, MS, CCC-SLP on 26th Nov 2012

For some kids, gloves can be scary.  The rubbery feel, the unfamiliar smell and taste, the strange look (where did your hands go?!), and the squishy sound they make - these are all possible triggers for a sensory overload.

I have some kids who absolutely won't allow me to go near them with gloves.  So I just have to wash my hands thoroughly before and after therapy.  And that's okay.  But in most cases, you'll probably want to wear gloves as a hygiene measure for both parties.  So what can you do to decrease an aversion to gloves?

•  Use your hand as a puppet and engage the child in a game.

•  Allow the child to become acquainted with the gloves before using them.  Let him/her pick which gloves to use.  Then let him/her feel the material in their hands before putting them on your hands.  Or, they can even wear their own set!

•  Using a pair of scissors, snip off the fingers of the glove and put on a fingerless glove.  I did this with one child of mine who developed a fear of gloves.  Once she saw how silly my hand looked with the fingertips showing through, her fear disappeared.  A lot of anxiety also comes from the unknown, so these fingerless gloves let her see that my fingers were still there, just covered up temporarily.



*Please be cautious with the finger tips of the gloves once removed, as they are small and may pose a choking hazard.


Debra C. Lowsky, MS, CCC-SLP