Why do kids and adults with Autism reject social touch?

A big hug is a great way for parents to connect with their kids and say, “I love you!”

But for families impacted by autism, physical contact is often an extreme stress point.

Thankfully, a new study by Yale University neuroscientists offers wisdom and insight into why some people with autism resist physical touch and how families of autistic children can share hugs without overwhelming their child’s senses.

The bottom line?

There are ways you can use touch to foster soothing feelings—rather than feelings of being overwhelmed—that can help someone with autism connect more comfortably with the world around them.

Now, a new study offers insight into why some people shrug off physical touches and how families affected by autism may learn to share hugs without overwhelming an autistic child’s senses.

Yale neuroscientists recruited 19 young adults and imaged their brain activity as a researcher lightly brushed them on the forearm with a soft watercolor paintbrush.

In some cases, the brushing was quick, and in others slow: prior studies have shown that most people like slow brushing and perceive it as affectionate contact, while the faster version is felt as less pleasant and more tickle-like.

None of the participants in the current study had autism, but the researchers evaluated them for autistic traits — things like a preference for sameness, order and systems, rather than social interaction.

They found that participants with the highest levels of autistic traits had a lower response in key social brain regions — the superior temporal sulcus (STS) and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) — to the slow brushing.

Continue Reading Autistic People and Social Touch 

Thank you Healthland.Time.com for information provided in this article.


Pat WymanPat Wyman is the founder of HowToLearn.com and a best selling author.

She teaches at California State University, East Bay and is known as America’s Most Trusted Learning Expert. She helps children and adults solve learning problems with her Amazing Grades Study Skills System and is an expert in learning styles.

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