Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rescuing my son: Hugs Therapy

There are behavioral symptoms have been reported for many parents with a child with autism and sensory processing disorder (SPD). These behavioral symptoms affect them to build "relationships"and being social. Parents report their kids do not like to be touched, hugged or held. Many children with autism or SPD dislike affection or don't show affection.

My son is affectionate and one of his favarate person in this world always has been his Daddy. I have even written in this blog about how much attached Tommy has been to his Daddy since he was a newborn. Because my husband built a "relationship" with him since Tommy was in the womb. Well, things began to change since last year. Tommy wasn't the same affective little boy as before. He began to dislike give hugs or kisses, Tommy was getting insulated from us.  When My husband commented to me a couple of weeks ago: "I think Tommy doesn't like me anymore." This broke my heart because I know Tommy is affectionate, but due to his sensory issues he shows this behaviors.

About two weeks after my husband's comment, on March 25, something wonderful happened: Tommy spontaneously began to show affection for us. We went to local store and we sat Francis and him on a double seat shopping cart. He began to hug and kiss his little brother to the point Francis was annoyed. Every time, I took Francis out the shopping cart, he was signing and trying to say 'my turn' -his turn to hold the baby. But the best of old, he spontaneously hugged and kissed his daddy. My husband told me, Did you see that? He hugged me and kissed me! My husband also said: "I think it is the first time after the hospitalization Tommy has spontaneously hug me. He also gave me a kiss and a hug me while we were waiting on line to pay. When we came back home, Tommy was playing in the backyard climbing in a little climber he has, my husband was sitting at the kitchen table and Tommy suddenly yelled "DAD!", my husband wasn't looking at him at that moment, so my husband looked at him right away. It seems he wanted my husband paying attention to what he was doing. After this, I heard Tommy yelling "Daddy" when my husband wasn't looking at him. This warmed our hearts! 

Scientist research support the theory that people with autism and autistic like have lower levels of oxytocin hormone, known as the cuddle hormone or the moral molecule as it is called by  Neuroeconomist Paul Zak, who "shows why he believes oxytocin is responsible for trust, empathy and other feelings that help build a stable society." Please see the video below where Paul Zak explained the founding of his experiments about oxytocin. 

“Oxytocin connects us to other people; oxytocin makes us feel what other people feel.
 And it’s easy to cause people’s brains to release oxytocin. 
Let me show you. Come here. Give me a hug.”
~ Paul Zak

There a lot more research to do to prove oxytocin will be an good treatment for autism or sensory behaviors, but it seems there is hope. Currently, there are some physicians who are already administering oxytocin to children as young as 2 years old. Personally, I am convinced the best ways to realized oxytocin are non-invasive ways such as: hugs, kisses and massages.  Those help me to create a bound with my son, which I don't think I will get it by using the nasal spray. Before watching Dr. Zak video, I increased my dosage of hugs to Tommy because I felt it could help me to build a stronger relationship with my son, which would allow me to teach him as before. In the last two months, Tommy and I has gotten closer. We still have our little fights, but not as before. We are having more fun by just freely playing around and Tommy is staying longer when is time of structure play. I am encouraging Tommy to give hugs to our relatives and friends. I would also like to encourage family members and professional working with Tommy to help me increase the oxytocin dosage, with a simple tight hug to greet or praise him. This simple gesture tells him: YOU ARE LOVED, YOU ARE INCLUDED!

No comments: