Did you know that giving someone a hug increases…Oxytocin which is called the “love hormone,” it’s released when we hug or cuddle, but what about children with autism, and those on the spectrum?
To most people (and children) hugging is an instant mood lifter. It can even lower cortisol levels aka the stress hormone.
It’s said that the best hugs last 20 seconds… these are the ideal stress busters.
And, although it’s important to give hugs to our loved ones, for some a traditional hug doesn’t always work. A child with autism or sensory issues might not respond well to a hug, because the sensation of touch can be too overwhelming for them.
ALTERNATIVES TO HUGGING
- A great alternative might be a starfish hug. This little idea was sweetly introduced on Sesame Street by Julia, the first Muppet with Autism. To do a starfish hug, simply place your hands, palms together, while spreading out your fingers and touching fingertips.
- Another wonderful idea is a made-up hug like an “elephant hug.” Simply where move your arms by your nose like an elephant trunk while touching each other’s fingertips. These types of hugs are less overwhelming while still allowing the healing sensation of touch.
- Get creative and come up with the perfect “hug” for you and your child or loved one. There are lots of ways that we can incorporate a hug with our kiddos, even when traditional hugging won’t do.
- Each child is unique, and their comfort level can vary from person to person and in different situations. Another easy way to know what kind of “hug” someone wants, is to simply ask.
If you can, take the time each day to give your loved ones a hug… whether it’s a starfish hug or just a good old-fashioned cuddle, your mood and stress levels will thank you, plus you’ll find a deeper connection to your tribe.
I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs.
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug.
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.