Excerpts from an article:
By Mary Gengler Fuhr, OTR/L, RYT, CEIM, with Jackie Kalina Hattori, COTA/L, LMP and Carrie Sheppard, MEd., LMHC
It is estimated that 1 in 110 children in the US are considered to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Most children are not diagnosed with ASD until age 2 and many not until elementary school.
While it was at one time thought that children with ASD did not want to be touched, it is actually a matter of finding the right kind of touch or sensory- motor experience that is calming or regulating for the individual child.
As Certified Educators of Infant Massage (CEIMs), we have the opportunity to help parents explore what works best for their childand best enhances their relationship with their child with ASD.
Each infant and child is unique and so we will present 3 different approaches to massage, based on our personal experiences.
Jackie Hattori, a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and Licensed Massage Practitioner adds:
“Being a massage therapist and the mother of a child with ASD, I have a unique perspective on massage and autism. There is a saying that children with ASD are like snowflakes, no two are alike. This is especially true when we look at how children on the spectrum react to touch. My son was a very easy baby. It wasn’t until he was around 3 that I realized he might be on the spectrum. Through my journey to find his diagnosis, I realized that I had been soothing his sensory system unknowingly. I gave him massages after his baths using soft touch and lots of reciprocal eye contact to encourage bonding.
Parents with children with ASD can greatly benefit from the pediatric massage experience and the calming time together.
As CEIMs, one of the greatest gifts we can offer parents is to listen without judgment.