Monday, 22 October 2007

Touching



As a mum one of the hardest things with C is he doesn’t like being hugged.

It is not uncommon, for an autistic person to avoid being touched. This is usually because of a heightened sense of touch — a gentle touch to most people may hurt or shock some autistic people. Others may experience confusion, due to difficulty interpreting the sensation or insufficient sensation reaching the brain to interpret. Another, not uncommon pattern is to have the strength of the sensation inverse from that of the stimulation, so that a gentle touch may feel like an electric shock, but firm contact may not be a problem. Some autistic people may be insensitive to pain, and fail to notice injuries. C finds pain very difficult to interpret, I think that’s one of the reasons he hits his head so hard.

Temple Grandin talks a lot about firm touch., and how her discovery of deep pressure ultimately helped her reduce her anxiety's debilitating effects.

C doesn’t like being touched, or touching anything, even wearing clothes he just about tolerates. As you can imagine this makes life very difficult at times for him when he needs to go to the dentist, doctors etc. Not to mention mundane things like dressing him and washing him!

What do/don’t you like the feel of?

44 comments:

Ivy said...

Thanks for your blog on C.
A dear friend of mine has a daughter reacting "out of the norm" if it comes to clothing, hugging or going away for the weekend to stay at her fathers house.etc. My friend always blamed these outbursts on her inadequacy as a mother until I gently asked her if she ever thought of autism. She said well she can speak.
Your blog has taught me such a lot about autism and I translated passages for her. Now she's seen a childs psychiatrist who told her that her daughter might very likely have some "autistic dysfunctions" further tests to follow . Needless to say my friend was not too happy to hear this but on the other hand she felt relieved that it was not due to her inability to be a good mother..

Little Wing said...

I don't like the feel of being angry.
Bless you and C......

Casdok said...

Ivy, your fiend has a good friend in you. And im so touched that my blog has helped people. Until C was diagnosed i too thought it was my mothering skills. Now your friend will beable to understand her daughter a bit better, and im sure will blossom together.

Little Wing. I know where you are coming from.Please dont feel angry for to long, its such a distructive emotion.

Elizabethd said...

There are certain clothes that I love the feel of, my new fleece is one of them, and a crisp cotton shirt. But I cant bear a polyester blouse, or furry angora jumpers.

Elissa said...

My son hates soft touch but is quite happy to have firm touch. He likes pressure on his feet!

PS Ivy - make sure your friend never blames her parenting skills! It took me a long time to get past this too!

Jen said...

I love the feel of firelight on my face, and silky lingerie :-)

Two of my kids don't really like to be touched affectionately either- my son loves wrestling and being thrown around and being "squished", but he's definitely not into hugs and kisses. My daughter tolerates them, but we always have to make sure that we ask her if it's okay if we give her a kiss or hug. Occasionally now she's giving them spontaneously, and that's one of the best feelings for me ever.

But I've also got a friend whose autistic son wouldn't STOP hugging for a few years, and that was pretty difficult as well...it's easy to feel like you're "rejecting" your child when you just can't stand being touched for another minute. No one can say that our kids don't go to
extremes :-)

MICKY said...

Dear Casdok
Did you know that Jesus Christ, died on a cross, for your sins?
PEACE BE WITH YOU
MICKY

Tera said...

I can't stand the feeling of being out of control, in any form, yet I so often am in my life. And I can't stand the feel of certain materials...when I touch they fuzzy cleaning cloths, or those shiny training pants, I cringe and feel a scream stuck in my throat!!! And hugging, yeah, that's tough on a mom...some days Kaeden loves touch, but in general, you just have to let him be unless he asks for it directly. Getting shrugged off hurts almost more than not being able to hug him.

Beth said...

No hugs. Must be very difficult for you. Is there anything you've been able to substitute for a hug? A certain look, a gesture...some kind of connection?

Casdok said...

He lets me in his space! And very occasionaly he will briefly look deep into my eyes, it feels like he is looking into my soul.

abstractjenn said...

I remember from working in a special needs classroom that had two autistic children in it that they only like firm touch. In fact if one of them was feeling nervous or scared he would lay down on one of the gym mats. That was kind of his signal that he wanted the other gym mat on top of him and for one of us to press down. It used to calm him tremendously. Of course people in the building thought we were trying to smother him until we explained it to them.

I love the feel of a fall breeze, soft flannel sheets, really comfortable clothes my favorite pair of shoes.

Have a great day with C!

Marla Fauchier Baltes said...

I too can't stand clothes that itch or are too tight. My daughter tolerates touch that is with more pressure. If she is having a melt down she won't let anyone touch her and will usually put herself under something, like a cushion or a heavy blanket.

Patti said...

What a difficult thing for a mom not to get any hugs from her chlld.

I sometimes don't like a light touch either. Especially if it is unexpected.

(Sorry my Halloween riddles didn't do it for you)

BBC said...

What do/don’t you like the feel of?

Cold, hair on my ears, greed, wars, the starvation of others. And I didn't much like dropping that steel on my toe. LOL

Interesting post.
Hugs.

Ashley's Mom said...

My Ashley doesn't like the feel of grass on her bare feet. In fact, the only time she will go barefoot is in our house. Other than that, shoes and socks must always be worn. She does however love the touch of the almost-worn-out comforter on her bed, the way new clothes feel, and her fuzzy, footie pajamas!

My personal touching pleasure is high thread count sheets - the higher the count the better :)

mommy~dearest said...

My son is one that does not like hugs as well. He doesn't mind deep pressure, so to hug him, I usually hug, then wrestle him around.

Of course, this is not the best thing to do when trying to "unwind" at bedtime...

Vi vi vi vooom!!!!!!!! said...

Goosebumps on my skin is what I don't like the feel of. Got some now, should put the heating on! (or a jumper lol!)

Anonymous said...

The smell of onions, itchy clothes, bugs landing on me

Chopski said...

Cotton Wool!! Arrgh! If I touch it or I see someone else touching it and the noise it makes. Disgusting!
You see the picture on your blog? The guy with the red face? That's me if I get some in my mouth!!

qofd said...

I had no idea that autistic people had trouble with being touched. I can't imagine that's been easy at all for you as a mom. :(

P.S. - I love the photo of him though, what a handsome young man!

Christy said...

Hmm. I enjoy hugs. I don't like when someone does something repeatedly though. Like when someone keeps tapping me, I can't stand that. I get really agitated.

It would hurt me to not be able to hug my son. Are there other ways you can show that affection? I'd have to hug a teddy bear at night.

Paul F. said...

I don't like latex gloves or anything else made from latex for that matter.

Besides that, my shirts have to be cotton. I can wear different pants or shorts, but the shirt has to be cotton or mostly cotton.

Maddy said...

I have one of each = walk into brick wall and not particularly notice / the other one has heart failure at the very thought of 'contact.' Ah the variety of life. I loved Temple Grandin's book too - helped me a great deal.
Best wishes

Gary said...

It is tough to not be able to hug, as it's such an extension of affection. As Beth said, perhaps there are other gestures you and C understand.

One of my children, who is 20, loves hugging and he regularly makes me stand up and have an embrace. His 17 year old sister has never been so tactile and prefers humour and loving play as interaction.

I don't like being really cold, but who does?

I admire you for your parenting... and your dedication to understanding and communicating.

Suzy said...

Temple Grandin is one amazing woman.
My friend Jason who is 46 and autistic, can drink HOT coffee from and gulp it right down and not feel anything. Jason loves coffee.
His sister and I marvel at it and how he doesn't feel the burn.

I am sure C hugs you with his heart and soul.

Love,
Suzy

Sara said...

Thankfully with N he's not TOO sensory troubled. There's always "something" though...the elastic on his underwear seems to bother him, but we work with deep pressure all over his body, especially his head (in an effort to lessen his head banging) I love that picture of C on the right there, he's covering his ears just like N!

As for me? What I don't like? Pants! I can't stand clothing between my legs, just drives me batty. I LIVE in skirts. Only skirts. And only skirts that I make. lol

her indoors said...

that really must be so hard not to be able to hug, cuddle C.
i hate the feel of nylon yuk!

Cheri said...

Zach has to have cotton against his skin. He wears cotton t-shirts and underwear under everything he wears, regardless of how hot it is.

He also doesn't tolerat finger touches. When we find doctors that understand how to touch Zach during examinations, we stick with them. I often tease him that my finger is super-powerful because all I have to do is touch him to make him jump. He'll tease me back about how he can out run me. (He's a long distance runner)

The nice thing is, every once in a while he gives me really good bear hugs.

I don't like the feel of wool. It's too scratchy!

Bonnie Arnwine said...

cotton balls, I hate cotton balls. Also, the only shoes I can wear are sneakers...

Anonymous said...

Eating sweet things and then the toothache after lol (*

Ian Lidster said...

So sad about the touching. I need hugs to keep me healthy and sane, I find.

Casdok said...

Thats why i have a cat!!

Kellan said...

There isn't anything that I mind touching, but I do not like to be poked, pinched or hung on (the shoulders) - it does seem to hurt me more than I'm comfortable with. My sister has an aversion to velvet.

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

A young man whom I know, who happens to be autistic, can not stand the feel of damp clothing, so if it begins to rain, off they come. Sometimes this takes a bit of explaining to surrounding strangers....

What do I like the feel of? Cool lake water on a hot day, warm laundry fresh out of the dryer, fresh sheets on my bed. Mmmmm.

FXSmom said...

I understand what you mean about touching. I have a college class until 8:15. When I get home Matt & Rachel are just getting to bed. I like to at least lay next to them and snuggle for just a few minutes since I haven't seen them in 12 hours. Matt hates it but he turns it into a game. So I don't get my snuggles but at least I get a giggle.

Cait O'Connor said...

I don't like the feel of cotton wool especially on my nails, the thought of it sets my teeth on edge.

I have a phobia about being sick so I can't stand feeling nauseous.

Nylon sheets, you probably don't remember those.

Dad Stuff said...

Our son had some sensory issues when he was young. He seemed to do well with a weighted vest. He is still sensitive to touch. He is the most ticklish person I know. Next to his Dad.

BBC said...

What do I like the feel of?

A close dance together. A hand to hold. A hug. Walking together. And, um, :-)

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Velvet really bothers me.

TheBirdman33 said...

I don't like the feel of polyester.

DJ Kirkby said...

I don't like the feel of: cutlery on my teeth, too frequent body contact, clothing tags, my hair on my neck, wind...

DaisyDeadhead said...

Check this out: What kind of brain do you have? Do you see her turning clockwise or counter-clockwise? Can you get her to change directions?

Look at the different answers even among supposedly "normal people"!

Casdok, tried to post just the pic here, but I don't think I know how to do that! :x

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I really don't like very light touches, I find them anything up to painful and like you say much prefer a firm but gentle touch. It's quite common with people with EDS, we tend to have problems with proprioception, and I believe there is thought to be some sort of problem with the way pain signals are transmitted. BG

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

When my son is upset, he likes to have me press his head firmly between my stomach and hand -- one ear on my stomach and one covered by my hand. I think the combination of pressure and blocking out sounds is comforting to him.

Not surprisingly, I have my own sensory issues and am very picky about clothing and clothing textures. I can't wear wool at all and I don't wear socks. I love the feel of soft cotton and silk.