Forums at Psych Central - View Single Post - what makes a child with autism suddenly go up and hug a stranger?
View Single Post
Old 10-26-2018, 04:57 PM
Blueberrybook's Avatar
Blueberrybook Blueberrybook is offline
Member Since: Oct 2017
Location: La Porte, TX
Posts: 2,751
Blueberrybook Blueberrybook is offline
Blueberrybook's Avatar
Blueberrybook has no updates.
Member Since: Oct 2017
Location: La Porte, TX
Posts: 2,751 (SuperPoster!)

1 yr Member
76 hugs
Default what makes a child with autism suddenly go up and hug a stranger?

I know a little about autism because when my daughter was younger, she had (well, still has most of them), tons of sensory issues, though it's turned out to be sensory processing disorder. My father on the other hand was never diagnosed (in those days, they just didn't), and I am 99% sure he falls on the spectrum near Aspergers.

So I worried about my daughter when she was younger and read quite a bit on the subject.

My daughter is in the 5th grade, still with sensory issues, but doing fine, making friends, though a bit introverted.

I always go to the elementary school to pick up my daughter as a walker. There are usually a group of parents and older siblings, other family members in a group waiting for their child/children.

One mother has it very tough. Her oldest son (maybe around 14) is clearly autistic and frequently inappropriately loud and vocal (perhaps has some other issues too). She has another son in 2nd grade just hanging on to being in a normal class, autistic but not as apparent as the oldest. Her little girl in kindergarten appears to be normal. These past couple of weeks, she's been bringing along another son I didn't realize she had (maybe someone else took care of him or something when school let out). He is a lot quieter, around 12 years old, but also autistic, from the behavior he displays. So this mom has her hands full.

Today, waiting for my daughter's grade to get out, the middle son kept coming up to me and lightly & barely touching my sweater before jerking his hand away and running back to his mom. Nothing unusual about my sweater; it's a sweater, dark gray, the dumpy zip-up outwear type. Then, he came up and said, "I want to hug you". So I let him give me a little side hug, and he scurried back to his mother (almost like he was frightened to touch or hug me even though he said he wanted to?). The mom was now completely engaged in a yelling argument with the first son. By the time my daughter's grade got out, he had come up and hugged me 4 or 5 times.

Why? And why me? There were tons of other people there. I don't know him; he doesn't know me except in the sense I was with all the waiting parents this whole week. I just thought it was odd and uncommon type behavior. I'd let him hug me; then, he'd go up to his mom & brother, then come back and hug me again, go back to his mom and brother, back to me.

But I was one of 50, 60 people standing out there. Why pick me? I wasn't wearing anything remarkable (dark gray sweater, black shirt, black pants, black shoes). I thought maybe it's because I'm small? I'm 5'4" tall but have a very small frame, so I'm not as big as many adults. Did he keep coming up to me because he was upset about his mom and brother fighting?

It didn't bother me (except in the sense that he was there and his mother was so engaged in the yelling match with her first, she seemed to forget he even existed). I'm just curious about the behavior, so please excuse any of my ignorance.
Bipolar 1 mixed features, PTSD, anorexia, panic disorder, ADHD

Bupropion XL 150 mg, Seroquel 400 mg, Lamictal 400 mg, Clonazepam 1 mg 4/day, Clonidine 0.3 mg, Propanolol 10 mg 3/day, Buspar 30 mg 2/day, Adderall 40 mg, Trazodone 25 mg, Protonix 20 mg (ulcer) , Gabapentin 600 mg (fibro), Tizandine 4 mg 4/day (fibro)

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
--Robert Frost
Blueberrybook is offline   Reply With QuoteReply With Quote