what makes a child with autism suddenly go up and hug a stranger? - Forums at Psych Central



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Old 10-26-2018, 04:57 PM #1
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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.
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Old 11-03-2018, 02:07 PM #2
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Default Re: what makes a child with autism suddenly go up and hug a stranger?

My daughter has autism . she hates touch and physical contact . I guess every child is different. Also i worked with adults with severe autism years ago and they did like physical contact , sometimes it would be hitting though rather than a hug . they struggled with vocal communication so I guess they used physical contact to cimmubicate in other ways .

Maybe your small frame made you less intimidating . maybe something about your facial expressions and body language showed empathy and it sounds like the arguing distressed him. My Austistic daughter hates loud noise and distractions .

Try not to overthink it and if he does it again and it makes you unconfortable try and ask his mum why he does it . it just occurred to me that maybe you look just like somebody he knows and he may have mistook you for that person.
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Old 11-03-2018, 02:20 PM #3
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Default Re: what makes a child with autism suddenly go up and hug a stranger?

It sounds like you were aware of what was going on in his family and he picked up on that, like you were part of their circle? Why you? Maybe other people were just looking at their phones or otherwise not paying attention to them.
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Old 01-23-2019, 06:11 PM #4
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Default Re: what makes a child with autism suddenly go up and hug a stranger?

i believe it because maybe because people with autism in some people get so obsessed with sing their opinion obsessions or excitement or friendliness without understanding social cues causes them to talk to anyone who will listen just to be herd.

i did that sometimes i still do,and i have autism as well
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