Sunday, February 20, 2011

Your Autistic Child - When Hugs Hurt

Many of us love to receive hugs and to give them. For the autistic child, hugs can actually hurt, or be extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant. But it doesn't have to be. There are ways you can hug your child, that will please them instead.

Before you reach out your arms to wrap them around your child, you need to understand some basic things. And to keep in mind, every child is different, and what works for one, may not necessarily work for another. With a little patience you will discover what works best for your child.

First, know that what feels good to you, the warmth, the tightness, the comfort of a hug, doesn't feel the same for them. It can feel anything but. The autistic child does not understand the hug, what it happening to them, or that you are simply looking to show them a little love.

Secondly, a lot of children with autism find pressure to be comforting, but it has to be on their own terms. That is why things like pressure mats, or beanbag blankets can be so effective in helping them calm down or overcome stressful situations. They have full control over how much pressure is being applied. When hugging your child, let them guide you into how much pressure is okay, and do not over step it, as this will only cause them distress, which is obviously not what your hug is intended to do.

Remember that their senses some times do not work the same way as yours. What you find comforting, they may find overwhelming. What you find to help, could hinder or hurt them. You need to let them guide you in the hug.

Another way you may find to ease their discomfort is to hug them after they are wrapped in their own blanket. This way they already have control of the pressure, and there is a barrier between you and them.

You could also start the hugging process by having them do therapy with what's called a hugging machine. Once they have reached a level of comfort with receiving a hug from the machine, you may be able to hug them without issues.

Hugging can be a great way to say I love you. It can also be a very difficult thing to do with your autistic child. Allowing them to lead you, and show you what they can handle and cope with, will go a long way to making the hug enjoyable for all.

Discovering how to hug and love your autistic child can be difficult, but the end reward will be more than worth it. For more tips and tricks on autism and coping with it, click here!

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