Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Explaining Personal Space to Your ASD Child

As with so many things related to ASD, there is a wide range of behavior when it comes to personal space and touching. Some kids don't want to be touched and they certainly don't want to snuggle. Others (like my son) have no understanding of personal space or inappropriate touching. He's still a snuggler at the age of ten, though, so it's not all bad. :-) We just have to teach him what is appropriate and what isn't.

When someone doesn't understand personal boundaries, they often annoy those around them by standing too close, touching too much or in the wrong places, or hugging inappropriately. I remember having J in Sunday School class/nursery at church when he was 18 months-2 years (long before I had even heard of Asperger's). I was in there with him during that time as a teacher, along with several other parents. (We had a 2-1 ratio and it was a big class.) J would hug the other kids, but then not let go and they would end up both falling over. Or the other child would get tired of the game and want loose. I would have to go pry J off the other child. Most of the other teachers were also parents of children in the class, and they just thought it was cute and sweet. No one was ever hurt.  I used to say, "It's a hug for about five seconds. After that, it's assault." (Actually, I still say that.) Well, what's funny at the age of two isn't so funny at the age of 15 or 20. So I'm always trying to teach him what is appropriate behavior so we don't end up with a serious problem later.
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