Hypersensitivity to thermoception

What is temperature hypersensitivity

Hypersensitivity to thermoception means extreme sensitivity to temperature, i.e. to heat and/or cold. The person may sweat a lot, feel pain or have severe chills. Autistic people have hypersensitivities or hyposensitivities more often, but people without any particular developmental diagnosis can also have these conditions

What is thermoceptive hypersensitivity?

Thermoceptive hypersensitivity is when a person is extremely sensitive to temperature. Certain hot or cold temperatures can be felt very intensely and pose a real challenge. It’s not a question of willpower or maturity. The discomfort felt is real and can cause suffering.

For some autistic people, it’s difficult to understand what’s happening when the signal for hot or cold is perceived. This can lead to reactions that seem exaggerated.

Symptoms of temperature hypersensitivity

If the named reaction or feeling seems out of the ordinary, this may be an indication of thermoceptive hypersensitivity. There are many other symptoms that can lead to this conclusion.

Consequences of hypersensitivity to heat and/or cold

It’s frowned upon, especially for an adult, to have difficulty managing temperatures. As a result, hypersensitive people may feel judged or invalidated. This can have several negative consequences.


It's imperative to remember that the person is neither a liar nor immature in their response to temperature.


Justin's hands hurt so much when he touches cold food that he avoids cooking the meals he'd like to, simply to avoid having to handle the ingredients (e.g. cutting meat).

What are the solutions and strategies for thermoceptive hypersensitivity?

For further information

Autistic people are thought to have differences in their central nervous system, and this might make them more sensitive to various stimuli, including temperature.

Like many autistic people, my 6-year-old daughter has a lot of trouble falling asleep. For the past three nights or so, she's been complaining of feeling very hot. I proposed several solutions: lighter pyjamas, sleeping naked (impossible for her to consider), a washcloth with cold water. All to no avail. Finally, on the third night, I suggested putting her pyjamas in the freezer. Problem solved! A real miracle! I was so pleased that I immediately texted this solution to my best friend whose son is also hypersensitive. My oldest, 8, who also has autism, couldn't stop laughing and asking me if I'd REALLY put the pyjamas in the freezer. The evening ended with everyone in good spirits. Just goes to show that a situation that may seem exasperating (we sometimes run out of solutions) can turn into a wonderful memory.