seeking physical contact all the time

seeking physical contact all the time

Postby timothyhiranjan » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:44 am

Hi!
My son timothy has started to seek physical contact all the time. He does it VERY MUCH with me, but also with his adopted brother and his volunteers who are all working with him. He doesn't do it with his father so much who is less involved in the program. He comes to you and says "massage" or "kiss". For months we have been joining this, but finally we found that it was not a real ism, but something he wants, however when he comes very close to you and you give massage or a kiss or any physical contact as an answer to his request for physical contact, he very often agitated runs away from you and/or screams. It very often also happens when you talk at the same time to him. So when you give him a kiss and talk. I was just watching one of my volunteers and i saw it happening in front of my eyes 3 times in a row. He asked for a kiss, so my volunteer gave him a kiss and spoke to him "ow i give you more kisses" and than he got really agitated. Than i thought, could it be a sensory overload? Can it be that he is seeking it and than can't handle it? When he goes downstairs with me, he wants to hold my arms very tight, its very difficult for me to walk. When he goes to the toilet and i come with him in the bathroom (we have to first enter a very small corridor) than again he holds me very tight. And by doing so again he gets agitated. If I confirm his request than he gets annoyed, angry, agitated, than again he wants to hold me etc. it goes on and on. I try to stay calm, and accepting but I feel it's in his way and I don't know how to help him.
Please help!
tks so much!
hugs and smiles, desiree
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Re: seeking physical contact all the time

Postby SusanHumphries » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:08 am

Hello “timothyhiranjan”

Thank you so much for your post. My name is Susan and I am a Son Rise Teacher here at The Autism Treatment Center of America. We are so excited to read that Timothy is communicating using his language!!!!

I celebrate you for really looking out for some clues to get a deeper understanding of what your son may be trying communicate in the above describe circumstances. These detective eyes are helping you get the valuable information to best help your son when you think such behaviors are a mystery. We want to ask the questions; What happened before, during and after the mysterious shouting and running after he asks for runs and kisses.

Before we turn to Timothy let’s first look at the assumptions that are being made about his feeling of discomfort. We really do not know the actual feeling that Timothy is having during these times. You suggest that he is “annoyed, angry, agitated,” when really all we know is what he is doing, screaming and running, not what he is feeling. It is important for you and your team to see the behavior of him running and screaming is just a form of communication that we really do not understand the meaning of because he has not clearly told us “I am really annoyed with you.” If we attach the described emotions to these circumstances it most likely will have an impact on how you and your Son-Rise volunteers respond to him. You want to see these moments as an opportunity to help and teach Timothy be more clear.

Based on the information you are giving me about after he verbally tells you kiss and or massage here are some ways to adjust how you offer it to him.
It may be that he need some more warning from you that you are about to respond to his request. The request of kissing or massages does suggest he will have another person come in direct contact to his physical space. Also, by what you are describing with this need to lock onto you during some transitions in certain space, he sounds to have a level of tactile defensiveness. To help him develop a deeper trust in us for these circumstances we want to be especially predictable, controllable and calmly loving. When he asks for the kiss or massage, vary your celebration of his language. Try a gentle whisper or a gesture with a smile and nodding of your head. Open your arms up for him to come to you for a kiss or offer your hands out for him to come closer to you for a massage. Tell him to show you where he would like the massage. If it’s his foot then explain to him, “ I want to make sure your ready for the massage so you can put your feet in my hands for the next one.” We want to give him an opportunity to tell us with his body he is ready, so look out for cues of him leaning into you vs. us pouncing on him when he asks for kiss or rubs.
If he screams, then sweetly explain, “ I am not sure what that means, you can show me or tell me “no” if you do not want something. “ You can offer an alternative in his response to his language of saying kiss, by grabbing a toy or puppet and have the puppet kiss you a few times and if Timothy is interested you can offer him the next puppet kiss.

In terms of the corridor I suggest that you try some of the following techniques to help with such transitions. Really look out for his cues. It sounds that he is seeking a lot of control. Maybe he wants you to hold onto him in a very specific way. Let him guide you on how to support him. Set up your environment so that it can give Timothy maximum amount of control. Light up the corridor, maybe place some tape or feet on the floor so it can give him a place to focus. Try placing yourself in front of him with your arms extended, like you would do with a newly walking child. If he screams or whines, calmly let him know that he can show or tell you “no,” that you are not sure what he wants when he yells. Acknowledge him in celebration when he shows you or tells you vs. when he screams. Sometimes our children on the spectrum are unclear where their bodies end and begin in space, so that can lead to a level of defensiveness or uncertainty in his space maybe leading to a high level of alertness. During these transitions we want to be highly predictable presenting our delight in a calmer more digestible way. For example, when celebrating or explaining do it in a calmer voice vs. a bursting loud one. It sounds as if Timothy could use a sensory diet to help him regulate more for his future transitions. I encourage you to look into some simple sensory techniques you can try in your Son- Rise Playroom. You can find out more about heavy work and regulation through the HANDLE Program and the Alert Program. Here are their website http://www.handle.org/ and http://www.alertprogram.com/ . There is useful information on both sights that you can access at no cost.

Please let us know if these techniques help or if you have any questions about it. We are cheering you all on.
:D
Susan Humphries
The Son Rise Program ™ Teacher
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Re: seeking physical contact all the time

Postby timothyhiranjan » Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:30 am

Hi Susan!
Tks so much for your very detailed reply. Sorry for late reply from my side. We have been busy putting out fires ;) with timothy lately. He became very aggressive, i think because of a brainwave stimulation program (not 100% sure though...) which might have been to much for him. He has settled down a bit, and we are still working on the "kiss/massage", but it has reduced a lot in the meantime. I got a lovely OT who is also undertaking sensory integration therapy with timothy. We do her sessions in our playroom, as this is the perfect place for her therapy and there is no other space in the house at the moment. Here comes my question: According to her observations, the reason that timothy is asking for massages is that he needs proprioceptive input on his body. She told me that instead of giving him massages when he asks for it, to get him to carry heavy boxes, baskets etc. Now outside of the playroom that's not an issue, however how do we go about this inside the playroom. When timmy asks for massages, according the principles we celebrate him for asking so clearly etc. and we run to give him massages, but as she explained to me that the request for this comes from a sensory need, we should not give the massage as explained above. Do you have any suggestions how we should respond to this inside the playroom to timmy without going against the principles of our son-rise program? Would love to hear from you. Im sure you will come with some great idea's! thanks so much! hugs and smiles, desiree
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Re: seeking physical contact all the time

Postby SusanHumphries » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:07 pm

Hello Desiree

I love to read your eagerness to be the best for Timothy! :P There are no stead fast rules when it comes to helping our children. Sometimes you will want to experiment to find out what works or what is the most useful for Timothy at this time to help you get what you want for him. This is a journey you are on and you will go down certain roads and find them not to be the most efficient route. In this journey allow yourself to go in the direction you believe is best for Timothy. Really it is you who is the constant in his life, the most wonderful and influential resource. After you try something new, let Timothy show you his response. From your posts I trust you are a detective of him.

Your OT is referring to what I understand as heavy work. For example, pushing , pulling, being upside down, compression on his joints, getting an all over input of pressure on his body, etc. From the Son Rise perspective we encourage you to honor his language and going into his motivation will expand on his interactions. It sounds that Timothy is still developing an understanding of the use and power of his language. We want to invest in the development as much as possible with the responses and celebration we give to it. A part of that development is giving our children explanations as to why it is useful for them to speak so they can get the things they want in their life and that people can support that for him. Also, if he is still screaming around it then the explanations goes in a different direction which suggest that we are not sure what it is that he wants when he screams after saying kiss or massage, maybe he means to say move away.

If he is now using those words again to get the input, since he has come off the Brain Wave therapy, then we want to celebrate and respond to invest in his language development! It can be rather confusing from his perspective if in the playroom I ask for bubbles and get it but when I ask for massage I am then being requested to do something different. In the Son Rise Program, we are building a relationship with him and we want to be as consistent as possible for him so that we are responsive and user friendly. This is a motivation that we want to use to inspire more interaction.

Now lets take into consideration what your OT suggests. You can encourage Timothy to do the work outside of the room because there will be circumstances that will lend to him carry and such. When we are in the playroom we will encourage children to move the furniture, we will create interactions where we take into consideration the heavy work. Here we are simply expanding on the interaction through the child's motivation. For example, try rolls on the therapy ball with easy and predictable motion with his head to the floor, you could have a game of reaching for the stars where he stretches to pull them of the ceiling, you could pull him around a magic carpet ride and give him a roe to hold on!

Once Timothy reaches stage 4 in Attention Span and Flexibility then we can encourage Timothy to regulate himself more. There will be more of a connection and more space for us to teach him the concept.

That being suggested, it is totally up to you. :lol: Choices are fun to make! Above all else trust your self and trust Timothy.
Susan Humphries
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