How a Hug Can Help Your Autistic Child


 How a Hug Can Help Your Autistic Child

How a Hug Can Help Your Autistic Child
How a Hug Can Help Your Autistic Child

Autistic children and adults often seek pressure in a variety of ways to calm themselves and cope with sensory overload. Oftentimes, hugs and squeezes from other people can cause more distress because autistic children or adults are often unable to communicate their needs by indicating a particular amount or length of pressure. This is both frustrating and ineffective for both the autistic person and whoever is hugging or squeezing them.

The hug machine was created to help relieve this frustration, putting autistic individuals in control of their situation. Both children and adults who suffer from autism sometimes crave pressure to help calm anxiety.

Because of this, one woman with autism developed the hug machine, also known as a hug box or a squeeze machine. The hug machine has two padded sideboards connected near the bottom of the boards to form a V-shape.

A lever helps push the sideboards together to create pressure; the lever also allows the autistic child or adult the ability to control the amount and length of pressure.

Studies are still being conducted to find out why those with autism respond to pressure and how it can produce a calming effect. The hug machine may affect the heightened sensory perceptions of those with autism who often feels disruptive or distressing behaviour.

By applying pressure, perhaps the autistic child or adult moves his or her focus to a single feeling-the pressure-which, in turn, produces a calming effect. For many autistic children and adults, anxiety can be completely incapacitating.

Not being able to function with the anxiety is frustrating, and so appropriate social behaviour is even more difficult. Sometimes, the only release from such anxiety is through pressure. To this day, the hug machine is used by several programs and researchers studying autism as well as therapy programs.

Remember that hugging or squeezing an autistic child may not help him or her. You may, in fact, increase their senses and cause more anxiety. Though you may not be able to purchase a hug machine, you may be able to create a similar object.

Try wrapping the autistic child or adult in a blanket, where they can control how much pressure to apply. You can also look into buying padded boards that more closely simulate the hug machine’s side-boards and perhaps tie or tape some heavy-duty yarn to each side to allow the autistic child or adult control over how much pressure to apply and for how long.

Contact your child’s school to see if there has been any interest in purchasing a community hug-machine. This may not be a cure to all your child’s problems, but it works well to help many autistic individuals cope with the world.

A modern twist on the hug machine is the weighted vest

How a Hug Can Help Your Autistic Child

How a Hug Can Help Your Autistic Child
How a Hug Can Help Your Autistic Child

How much weight should the vest have?

While there are no studies on how much weight a vest should have, most therapists recommend anywhere from five to ten per cent of a person’s body weight. This recommendation is based on studies on maximum weight allowances for backpacks. Too much weight can result in over-stimulation and/or injury.

How long should a child with autism wear it?

Some therapists recommend as little as fifteen minutes while others encourage wearing them throughout the academic time in class. The positive benefits of a weighted vest usually happen while the child is wearing the vest. However, in cases where it is calming, often it can be taken off and the child will remain calm.

Do all children with autism need one?

You should only use a weighted vest with a child when you are attempting to help them focus or calm down. They do not help all children because they can be uncomfortable and distracting for some. Pay attention when introducing one, especially if the child has significant communication challenges. Discontinue use if you see no benefit or it causes any distress.

Do weighted vests decrease “stimming” or stereotypical behaviours?

There is almost no research on whether or not weighted vests decrease stereotypical behaviours in children with autism. Therapists report observing some children decrease “stimming” behaviour while wearing one. However, there is little if any research on this topic.

What kind of therapy is a weighted vest?

They fall under the umbrella of Sensory Integration therapy. Sensory Integration therapy is usually performed by an Occupational Therapist trained in sensory integration. These therapists believe that inattentiveness and stereotypical behaviours are caused by over- or under-sensitivity to sensory input. Wearing one provides deep pressure sensory input that helps with sensory difficulties.

Please remember to consult with a therapist to make sure you add the appropriate amount of weight.

Self Restraint in children with Autism

Self-restraint is an aptitude that most medically introverted children experience difficulty getting. This incorporates wrong upheavals, yet in addition propensities that can be conceivably perilous, for example, being forceful towards others or making hurt themselves, for example, slamming their heads off dividers.

To forestall these and different practices, one method guardians and instructors can use to control medically introverted propensities is self-administration.

Giving the child control over oneself is frequently the way to keeping authority over vicious circumstances and might be a positive advance towards learning different practices too.

Self-administration works in light of the fact that the youngster is not, at this point completely constrained by others. By showing self-administration during explicit occasions of day, for example, while the youngster is at school or treatment, the child will be bound to keep on rehearsing discretion during all times.

The key is to actualize a program where the individual in question screens their own conduct and exercises. Start with short measures of time, and keep on observing the youngster from an increasingly aloof point of view.

Each ten to fifteen minutes remind the child that the person is in charge and needs to screen and know about great and awful conduct.

This checking is a type of self-assessment. At the point when a child is in charge, the person may contemplate conduct in the over a wide span of time. Set clear objectives with the youngster, for instance, an evening with no hostility towards others or a day at school with no self-injury.

At regular intervals ask the child how the person in question is getting along. Is the objective being met?

In the event that the appropriate response is no, maybe the youngster isn’t prepared for self-administration, or maybe the objectives are excessively out of reach. You need to ensure that the objectives are anything but difficult to reach from the outset, and afterwards move the youngster towards progressively troublesome objectives later on.

At the point when a child is fruitful at self-checking, the person in question will have an increasingly inspirational disposition towards the experience.

Obviously, a significant piece of self-administration is a prizes framework. Have the youngster thought of their own prize, contingent upon intrigue? Support will make these great conduct objectives all the more plainly set apart in the youngster’s psyche, and by picking and compensating oneself, the child will feel totally in charge of the self-administration framework.

Pick basic compensations to begin, for example, smiley faces for each objective met and pitiful appearances for each objective not met, and work up to a bigger objective, for example, a unique movement or new toy when a specific measure of smiley faces has been achieved.

These sorts of projects don’t grow for the time being, so it is significant that you and the youngster have sufficient opportunity to dedicate to a self-administration experience.

By fortifying great conduct with remunerations, as controlled by the child rather than by a grown-up, the person in question will be bound to convey this on in any event, when not partaking in the program. On the off chance that your mentally unbalanced youngster is full-grown enough, this could be a decent treatment program to attempt.

Autism Stereotypes.


As with anyone with a physical or mental disorder, autistic people deal with a wide range of reactions from others, from full support to uncaring ignorance.

Unfortunately, even those who support autistic family members, co-workers, and friends may not understand autism very well. This leads to stereotypes, which can result in hatred, embarrassment, or other unhappy situations.

By becoming educated about autism, you can help others in your community cope with this disorder.

It is most important to note that not all autistic people are the same. Other diseases and disorders have their own sets of rules, but autism is such a complex medical condition, that everyone reacts differently to it.

Autistic people are usually rated on a functional scale, with high-functioning people being able to hold jobs and low-functioning people needing 24-hour-a-day care.

Symptoms include behavioural challenges, uncontrollable movements, speech and communication difficulties, and emotional inadequacies.

Some show all symptoms, while others show few, and still, others may have most under control to the point where you cannot tell they have autism at all.


Because every person is different, no one thing can be said about autism and be true overall.

However, most autistic people have trouble communicating emotions. This does not mean that an autistic person does not feel. He or she simply cannot express this feeling.

It also does not mean strong relationship bonds are not possible. On the contrary, many autistic people are happily married and in love. Forming relationships is more difficult for most but can be accomplished over time.


Many people believe that being autistic coincides with being a genius in some aspect. While it is true that some autistic individuals have extraordinary math, music, and art skills, this number is nowhere near the majority-in fact, relatively few autistic people function outside of the normal range in any skill.

This stereotype is perpetuated in the movies and on television because the story of a talented person fighting disadvantages (such as autism) makes a good plot.

However, this is not the norm, so nothing more than the best they can personally do should be expected from an autistic person. However, it is important to note that autism is not a form of mental retardation. Some autistic people are mentally retarded as well, but most are not and should not be treated as such.

In the end, the most important lesson to take away from your studies on autism is one of tolerance.

You will probably need to be patient when dealing with autistic people, but by understanding a little more about the disorder, perhaps this will be easier.

Learn what you can and spread the knowledge to those you know to help create a more tolerant setting for autistic individuals in your community.

Autistic Children and the Strain on Marriage


AutismUnfortunately, in modern times, many marriages end in divorce or separation. This statistic rises even higher when you mix in an autistic child.

No matter how loving and understanding you both may be towards your child, the truth is that autism is a very difficult matter, and strain on the marriage is not uncommon.

By trying to stay positive about your situation, and by working to keep your marriage healthy, you and your spouse can avoid marital problems and hopefully survive the trying times of raising an autistic child.

Why did you marry your husband or wife? By asking yourself this question often, you can focus on the good things in your marriage.

Raising a child with autism is stressful, and if you are stressed, you have a tendency to snap at another person for the smallest missteps. Instead of focusing on these bad qualities, take some time to enjoy one another the way you did at the beginning of the relationship.

This may include spending some time apart from your children. When you find out that your child is autistic, it is beneficial to make sure that you and your spouse are not the only two people with whom your child will respond.

A grandparent, aunt or uncle, mature sibling, or nanny are good people to have in your child’s life in the most intimate way possible. This way, alone time with your spouse is possible.


Work together with your spouse to help you, child, instead of fighting with one another. It is very likely that you will have different ideas about what to do in certain situations, so be prepared to compromise and always seek professional consultations before making any medical decisions for your child.

By working together, remember that you are giving your child the best opportunities. Try to set apart time every week to spend together as a family, especially if one parent or the other is the primary caregiver.


Lastly, seek help when you need it. Part of any successful marriage is spending some time apart to focus on individual needs, and it is no different when you have an autistic child.

However, if you find that you and your spouse are not happy unless you are spending time alone, it is time to reevaluate the situation. A family or marriage counsellor can help you and your spouse get back on the right track to a happy life together.

It might also be beneficial to meet other couples raising autistic children. You are not alone, and it is never easy. By making an effort to keep your marriage happy, even when you are stressed with the task of raising an autistic child, you and your spouse can ensure that your marriage does not end in a messy divorce.

Autism And Children

What Causes Autism in Children


Many parents hope that in finding the source of autism, this disorder can be cured or prevented. Unfortunately, scientists have yet to find one single reason why children develop autism.

It is possible that someday autism will be linked to a specific gene abnormality, but the more likely source is not one thing, but a number of factors in a child’s world.

Autism cannot be prevented or cured, so the best we can do to help autistic children and adults is be understanding and willing to compromise to make the world comfortable for them and ourselves


First off, there are certain things that do not cause autism, and these myths should be laid to rest immediately.

Most importantly, bad parenting does not cause autism. In the past, mothers were blamed for traumatizing their children with cold parenting techniques, which was thought to lead to autism.

This is simply not true. Autism is also not caused by malnutrition, although food allergies occur in my autistic children and some autistic children do benefit from taking daily vitamins.

Involvement of the Brain

autism awareness
CC BY-SA by hepingting

There are many links between autism and the brain. Most people with autism have larger brains and they are “wired” differently than a typical brain.

Differences occur in many parts of the brain, so it cannot be targeted to one specific brain malfunction overall, but rather a brain malfunction in general.

Immune Deficiency

Autistic children also show signs of an immune deficiency. Evidence in this study is not yet strong, but research is still being done. Many autistic individuals have other health problems related to immune deficiencies.

Overall, these things all seem to point to genetics. Although autism is not the parents’ fault, it is most likely that autism was found elsewhere on your family tree, and it is not uncommon for parents to raise more than one autistic child.

Autism may also be linked to vaccinations, although this is still being highly studied. The benefits of vaccinations greatly outweigh the risks of them causing autism, so you should not deprive your child simply because you are fearful. Talk to you doctor if you have concerns about vaccinations.

No two people on the autism spectrum are alike. … A person on the autism spectrum has difficulties in some areas of their development, but other skills may develop typically. ASD affects around 1 in 100 to 1 in 110 people of school age, with males being around four times more likely to be affected than females.

The three most common forms of autism in the pre-2013 classification system were Autistic Disorder—or classic autism; Asperger’s Syndrome; and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). These three disorders share many of the same symptoms, but they differ in their severity and impact.

Below you will find signs of autism in children from the NHS Website

Autism in young children

Signs of autism in young children include:

  • not responding to their name
  • avoiding eye contact
  • not smiling when you smile at them
  • getting very upset if they do not like a certain taste, smell or sound
  • repetitive movements, such as flapping their hands, flicking their fingers or rocking their body
  • not talking as much as other children
  • repeating the same phrases

Autism in older children

Signs of autism in older children include:

  • not seem to understand what others are thinking or feeling
  • finding it hard to say how they feel
  • liking a strict daily routine and getting very upset if it changes
  • having a very keen interest in certain subjects or activities
  • getting very upset if you ask them to do something
  • finding it hard to make friends or prefer to be on their own
  • taking things very literally – for example, they may not understand phrases like “break a leg”

Autism in girls and boys

Autism can sometimes be different in girls and boys.

For example, autistic girls may be quieter, may hide their feelings and may appear to cope better with social situations.

This means autism can be harder to spot in girls.



Nobody knows what causes autism. Therefore, we can do nothing to prevent and cure it, but rather we can simply treat the autistic people in our lives with the best of our ability.

Becoming educated in autism is the key the more you know about the disorder, the better you can help individuals who suffer from it.

Autism is a complex problem, and as researchers develop new understandings of the way it affects the body, better treatment options will become available, with the hope that someday we will be able to cure this disease.

Please leave a comment or ask questions and I will do my best to answer it for you.