To Hug Or Not To Hug

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To Hug Or Not To Hug

It is often believed people with autism hate to be touched. Flashback to the movie "Rainman" where Dustin Hoffman's character, autistic savant Raymond Babbit, has a come-apart, because someone put a hand on his shoulder. While it is important to respect the sensory issues and personal space of a person with autism, physical contact does not necessarily need to be avoided. Many children with autism seek out certain kinds of physical contact, but what they prefer is as unique as the child themselves. Some may prefer hand holding or big bear hugs but have a strong aversion to light touch, such as a gentle hand on the back or arm. For individuals with tactile sensory issues, a light brush on the arm is highly irritating. Others may find it very relaxing to have their arm or back scratched. Often, a negative reaction to being touched is more a response to fear. If they weren't expecting it, they may become upset. Likewise, if they are already upset, trying to calm them with a hug might only add fuel to the fire. As you develop a relationship with this person, you will learn what kind of physical contact he or she prefers.



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