For children with Autism, massage may provide relaxation, stress reduction and calm muscle spasms. Over time, touch therapy also helps the child to become more accustomed to tactile stimulation and aides in body awareness. Often by incorporating massage therapy into daily routines, children with Autism experience decreased issues with sleeping.
In a recently published article entitled, “Massage Benefits Autistic Children for a Lifetime,” author and expert, Tina Allen, writes of Alex, a 10-year-old autistic boy who has seen the benefits of massage:
“As a baby, he developed normally—but then, after he turned 2 years old, he started to display quirks. Alex was asked to leave two preschools because of his meltdowns, where he would flap his hands, stand on his toes, screech and cry.”
She adds that when Alex was five years old, his first occupational therapist discovered he calmed down when she gave him a firm bear hug.
“Through the use of massage therapy, these kids’ basic need for safe, nurturing contact is met, with often wonderful results,” Allen writes.
Research has demonstrated that this type of intervention may promote more on-task and social relatedness behavior during play, they show less erratic behavior, and are more attentive after receiving massage therapy. This safe, nurturing touch, along with regular sensory integration, is beneficial in reducing inattentiveness, touch aversion and withdrawal.
“All children require nurturing touch to thrive, and for those on the autism spectrum, specialized touch therapy is required. Using specialized touch, we are able to meet these children with care and affection where they are,” writes Allen.
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