How to Help an Autistic Child with Inappropriate Touching
Edit: I understand that children have a natural need for exploring their genitals. However, this article is for those children who do not stop and do this in class in front of peers and who also have trouble keeping their hands out of their mouths. While I appreciate opinions of natural exploring, comments that make me seem like a bad mother will be deleted. Please read before you leave rude comments.
Ever since Korey was little he was always seeking out touch. Whether it was my breast when he was breastfeeding or holding my hand while he napped, he has always needed to comfort his need for touch. If you have a child with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and no Autism these tips will help as well.
Sensory Needs in Autistic Children
All autistic children have SPD, but not all children with SPD have Autism. It’s important to know the sensory needs of your child with Autism, once you can tell if they are a sensory seeker or sensory avoid-er it is easier to help them with giving them an outlet for the need. When your child turns their need for touch into inappropriate touching it is troublesome, especially when they start going to preschool. I’ve provided a few tips we have learned, and have been shown by teachers and therapists to help your autistic child with inappropriate touching.
Give them a small toy
Sometimes a fidget toy or small stuffed animal can help keep their hands busy. Whether it is a textured ball or a little soft animal they can place in their pocket, giving them verbal cues when you catch them with their hands in their pants you can tell they are about to. The sensory need to touch has probably been going on for a while with them now, and they will need multiple cues before they start to reach for the object themselves.
Doodling and Coloring
If they happen to be doing work in class and can doodle on a piece of paper or be offered a coloring page, that is a perfect way to keep their little hands busy. Not only are they getting a distraction but, they are also helping build up their fine motor skills. When they are home and reach that “I’m bored” stage, it’s the perfect time to take out paper and crayons to let their imagination go.
Puzzles and Building Blocks
If you’re looking to expand their memory, puzzles are a great way to keep their hands busy. Korey is very much a visual learner, so giving him time to sit down with puzzles or make a building out of blocks is an easy transition. Taking their mind off what they were doing with their hands can help them forget about the need to touch inappropriately.
However you choose to help your child, or a child in your class, deal with inappropriate touching you will need one thing on your side: patience. Children with special needs take time to process things in their own way and not every solution will work for every child. Through trial and error you will be able to find the solution to help them in easing their sensory need for touch.
Do you have any suggestions that you have tried that are not mentioned?