Saturday, June 11, 2011

To Touch Or Not To Touch? That Is The Question....

OK, where do I begin?

First of all, I want to explain my meaning - and Sean's meaning - of being restrained.

It doesn't have to do with anything like straps or chairs or anything like that.

For us, being restrained either means being pulled away from the situation and/or getting put into one of those certified holds. 

At no time was it ever physically harmful to Sean.  For him, and his issues, it really had to do with people touching him when he really didn't want to be touched.

'Nuf said, OK?

But that bring me to the subject of touching our special needs child...

Sean was a cuddler when he was little.  He'd snuggle up and wind his little hand up my sleeve and pinch my elbow when he was younger.

I remember when he was in school - and much smaller! - the bell would ring and out ran Sean.  I would scoop him up and twirl him around.

It was a special moment for us....

One time,  a "professional" told me that I was treating him like a baby and that maybe a high five would be better.

I never followed that advice.  He's my son and if I want to pick him up and he enjoys it, then I will.  Besides, at 125 pounds and as tall as me, the days of picking him up have long since passed.

I don't believe for one moment that our after-school ritual caused Sean severe psychological harm thus securing him a place on some reality television and or advice show...

When he was younger Sean was open to hugs and kisses.  Then, as he grew older, touch seemed to be introduced at your own risk.

If he was sitting somewhere and you would go to touch his shoulder, give him a hug, or kiss him on the head, oftentimes an arm or other body part would come flying at you.  At first I thought it was the surprise aspect of it, but even now he bristles at touch that is initiated by someone other than him.

Sean simply wants to be touched when he wants to be touched.

I never kiss his head without putting my hand on it first - creating a barrier just in case his skull is thinking about coming into contact with my front teeth.  It's sad but a reality.

Even when he knows he's going to get touched... like when seeing the chiropractor... he stiffens up and can't relax.  We've even take him for a few massages to help ease the tension in his muscles.

He's always asking for his back or his arm to be rubbed.  In fact, just now, he came up to me after getting his haircut and asked me to scratch his head.

He craves touch but on his own terms.

Still, his poor muscles never seem to truly relax.  They are in a constant fight-or-flight mode.

I wish I knew the key.  It seems unfair to not to enjoy a hug or someone's touch.

Especially when he was so receptive before....

But then again, he is who he is.  He still pinches my elbow to calm himself.  He still sits in my lap sometimes - and usually the words "rub my back" are soon to follow.

And, with 8th grade and girls on the near horizon, should I be all that broken up that he doesn't enjoy touching?

Seriously, now....

Sometimes that can be a good thing!

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