How to Show Your Autistic Child Love
When it comes to Autistic children one very common misconception is that all autistic children cannot show affection and also that autistic children don’t like to get affection especially touching from others. This is completely wrong and some autistic children like a hug now and again. We understand that autistic children handle emotion and especially the sense of touch in a different way to non autistic children but one thing to remember, just like any other child every autistic child is individual and their needs are individual too, what one autistic child likes or dislike may be very different from another.
So it may be the case that one child with especially severe autism might become extremely anxious and even angry if you try to give them a hug while another child with the same degree of autism may be open to this and feel pleasure. It really is a case of try and see, so here are some tips to make it a little easier to show your child you love them.
- As many autistic children do like their personal space not to be invaded then rather than rushing in and embracing them with a hug, try to bend down so you are not towering over them and gently hold your arms out open and tell them that you love them, smile to them, smile and wait to see what the reaction is. They may or may not react positively to this, don’t worry but if they do react positively then you can give them a quick gentle hug.
- If you find that they don’t respond well to a physical hug, then you need to reinforce your love with smiles and positive body gestures. For example you can blow them a kiss or even a simple thumbs up when they do something you like can be good and you might find your child gives you a chance to hug them.
- Because autistic individuals like things to be the same and consistency then if you find they don’t like to get hugged or kissed spontaneously then make sure other family members understand this and apply the same rules that we talked about in the above point to keep things consistent, the last thing you want when you are making some progress with affection is Grandma steaming in with a big wet kiss!
For parents of an autistic child it is a life long learning curve regarding every aspect of their childs life and especially with emotion and social interaction. Not being able to show affection or receive affection can be extremely upsetting but remember not to take it personally if your child veers away from any affection just learn to find other ways to deal with it.