Can I Hug You?


Yes, that is me above. Time flies.

“Can I hug you?” was probably the question that I asked the most often as a child. I didn’t understand at the time why I was asking for a hug. I just knew I felt the sudden need to be held. But not just by anyone, I always seemed to pick certain people.

After I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, at twenty-three, I had a little more understanding about what make me tick. But something FINALLY clicked for me last night and as usual it didnt make me like myself anymore but it made more sense. My therapist had told me I had adapted so well over the years and, in several ways, I would absolutely agree.

Obviously, I learned the hard way while I was growing up that it is not acceptable to ask just anyone for a hug. So what did I do? It’s almost laughable today as I’m writing this to realize how I’ve adapted this simple question without a different expectation without even realizing it. The question “Can I hug you?” was simply reworded as

“Can we talk?”

Touch is extremely grounding for me. When I feel overwhelmed, its something I crave with such an intensity that I seek out affection from others because that “hug” calms me like nothing else can. Or at least that is what my brain thinks. I realized with an uneasy sense of clarity that I am not only continuing this behavior, but that I am, in an unintentional way, manipulating others by attempting to provoke a protective response from them.

Unfortunately, I never really made this concrete connection between my emotional outbursts where I might share something that is not socially appropriate with wanting a hug. But its absolutely there whether I want it to be or not. It completely explains why I respond so emotionally when I share something in a moment of anxiety or being overwhelmed and the person responds in a non-protective way. Maybe the person I am reaching out to perceives this as “needy” behavior or intentional attention seeking behavior and they are freaked out by it and in turn push away.

Now, obviously, since I am just now learning about myself, and because outside of those moments I can see what I am doing, I need to be much more mindful of what I share. However, in those moments, I do not have much awareness of what I am doing. When I do realize what I’m doing, I try desperately to undo what I’ve done and push them away.

The end result of this is generally me becoming emotionally distraught because I reached out to someone because I needed touch (not for romantic reasons) but to feel grounded, and then denied myself by saying to that person “I’m sorry” or “Nevermind” and then berating myself with “This is not appropriate, I need to calm down right this second and get myself together” and my anxiety spirals from that to an incredibly intense feeling of a ribbon of self deprecating thoughts: I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. Why can’t I be normal? Am I a bad person? Yes, I must be a bad person. I can’t handle this. I need to get away from everyone. And the list goes on.

When everything started to come together in my head last night, I literally went into a fetal position without realizing what I was doing and shut down. All I kept thinking was that I was a bad friend, a selfish person, with serious attention seeking behavioral issues. I couldn’t handle it and all I could do was cry. Then my brain went from being shut down to freak out mode. I suddenly wanted to apologize for doing this, to make things right. But how?

Now it makes sense that I am constantly apologizing for asking questions. Somewhere deep inside, I knew that my reaching out for help was selfish and inappropriate and unfair to the person I’m asking. Solution? Push them away and FAST. I’ve done this for years. And guess what? It has never worked.

So the question that remains is this: How do I fix this? I cannot ask people outside of my home for a hug. I can only fathom the response I would get if I got horrible responses as a child and I do understand that it’s not socially appropriate. But I need to find a coping skill that can mimic what a hug does for me in a way that is socially appropriate so I can stop this incredibly vicious cycle. I don’t just seek out anyone for this need, my brain seems someone who seems protective by nature and someone strong.

I cannot believe it took me almost twenty-seven years to figure this out but I think that once I find that coping skill, my emotion outbursts will start to decline because I won’t feel that need as often. Maybe then I won’t feel this panic-stricken need for affection when I feel overwhelmed. I AM glad I figured the root of it- but I am at a loss for what to do?

I feel such a sense of sorrow to know that I have been unknowingly manipulating others because of my inability to communicate that I didn’t want “tough love”. Tough love isn’t grounding, well at least not for me. That’s because it wasn’t that I really wanted advice or that I really wanted to talk- I wanted a hug and I didn’t even realize it myself! No wonder I have confused feelings of friendship for romance multiples times in my life.

So with all of that said, please, I need some insight. Does anyone else have this issue? Or a similar one? Can someone please help me find a coping skill that I can use in a social, public, or work environment?

Your turn: I am ready to listen.


About Gretchen Venters

I am 36 years old and I live in Montana. God has set my soul on fire to serve others through writing.
This entry was posted in ASD, Aspergers, Autism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to Can I Hug You?

  1. raeme67 says:

    My son didn’t want you to hug him, but my daughter also sought out reassurance from hugs.

    • Did you find what made him not want touch and made her want it? Like pattern wise?

      • raeme67 says:

        Light touch is not something my son really liked much,and I think hugging took up too much of his personal space, he liked a lot of space, he will let certain people hug him now. Katie, when she was a toddler would go up to complete strangers and want them to hug her. I never made either one of them hug anyone they were not comfortable with. Not sure if this answers your question.

  2. Caroline says:

    Since you asked, my first thought is many it would help if you made friends with other people who hug? Your statement that you can’t hug anyone outside your home is so absolute…and yet I have a number of friends–outside my home–whom I can hug. Most of my friends actually greet me with a hug, and I have a few friends whom I can also hug if I just really need a hug. I’m thinking of one in particular–last summer he and I were working in the same building. I know he does not like to be interrupted, but I was really upset about something, so I emailed him, saying just that I was having a bad day, and would he come to my office and hug me, the next time he took a break? He not only did so, he brought a friend of his who gladly hugged me also. Neither of them even needed to know what was wrong. Friendships like that are rare and precious, and I’ve gone through periods without them, but they do exist.

    Yes, hugging is a big deal for me, too (and I have a number of Aspie characteristics, which may or may not be relevant). Because it is a big deal, I don’t like being touched by just anybody, or if the person does not in some way ask permission (non-verbal asking is ok). If I’m feeling vulnerable I get very picky about whom I hug. I’m also shy, so I don’t usually initiate hugs. But hugs are important.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a hug. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing a hug. For some people, touch is the primary way of communicating affection–and no, it does not at all have to be romantic. I have one friend who seems unable to express or receive affection–with me, at least–any other way. And remember that babies who do not get skin to skin contact often fail to thrive. All of us when young, and many of us as adults NEED physical affection for mental and even physical health. “Can I hug you” is, in fact, an excellent question. How else are you going to know who to hug? The trick, of course, is to do some sort of initial screening so you can rule out people who don’t want to be asked. That might be the difficult part. If you find yourself entirely surrounded by unhuggable people, you might try hugging an animal. If you can’t take care of a pet (or your pet does not like hugs), go to an animal shelter and volunteer. Give what you need to get.

    • Thank-you for your input! The only issue with the idea of making friends with people who like hugs is that I don’t know how to make friends. It doesn’t not come naturally at all. I freeze up, I even start stuttering sometimes if I get really really anxious if I try to maintain eye contact. I guess I have to start at square one though, which means I have to find some books on how to make friends. Seems silly but rules help me so maybe that will work? I don’t know. I feel very lost right now but I’m not going to give up.

  3. Very insightful Gretchen and helpful for me as a parent. I like the new look of your website too!

  4. I swear you are in my brain this week. I have very very similar issues with hugs. I don’t like hugs most of the time, but sometimes, I just need a hug. I used to have a friend I could go text and he would give me a hug. (He’s gay, and where I am, the LGBT community all greets with hugs, something both helpful in the I need a hug category, and very unhelpful in the don’t touch me now category.) I’ve written a couple of posts on hugs, which I (think) I have linked to here, if you’re interested: What Hugs Mean to one autistic person and Hugs.

    • Thank-you for responding. You and I seem a lot a like. I only like surprise hugs if its someone I really trust- not a stranger or just a basic acquaintance (with little exception) It’s so hard to know this about myself now and feel like I can’t simply explain it to people. I think Aspergers is such a double edged sword at times. Sometimes it brings us such strength but socially speaking it is like a 100lb weight for me.

  5. Annalisse Mayer says:

    If you were asking, that’s already showing some sensitivity. I watched my son go around hugging people at a religious retreat. He would grab them from the side, without making eye contact first, and just sort of pounce.

    I don’t think it’s inappropriate to ask for a hug, in general, especially for a kid. If other people are very hung up & don’t like to be hugged, they can say “No.”

    Do you feel guilty for asking if the other person says, “No?”

    • I stopped asking (except for my spouse) and just let go of the idea of being able to hug other people. I don’t know what would happen if I asked and they said “No”. To be honest, I would probably feel very guilty for asking if they said “No”. I’d be afraid that I made them uncomfortable and would probably panic

    • I try not to be the person initiating hugs just to be safe. I think being rejected for something that means so much to me would be very hard not to take personally, does that make sense?

  6. Oh God, your post about hugs has affected me more than i can express. What you experience is more or less EXACTLY the same as myself. Just writing this is making me feel anxious, a dead weight inside and tears in my eyes. I can write more on this and am happy for you to email me about it I have the same desperate need for this type of grounding contact and have behaved in similar ways to get it (whilst being confused and distressed by my behavior, which is very obsessive whilst trying to meet this ‘need’). I was diagnosed with Aspergers last year and have felt this all my life. I am also struggling on a daily basis with this feeling, even though i now understand it is to do with Aspergers. I have read a lot about Sensory Processing Disorder, which a lot of Autistic people have alongside their autism. I believe this is what we are describing. A friend made me a weighted lap pad with 3kg of rice inside freezer bags, all taped together with parcel tape. if i put it on my head or over my shoulders the relief from the feeling you are describing is incredible. i have now ordered a 15kg single bed size weighted blanket, hoping this will also help. What you describe is the hardest part of Aspergers for me and it is even harder that i have not come across anyone else who has the same .. until now !

  7. I’ve been thinking about your post for days now because I relate to it so strongly and have struggled to find a coping mechanism to replace a very similar “seeking” instinct to the one you describe. I don’t seek hugs, but I do find myself needing that strong reassuring presence of a person and then immediately feeling like I’ve done something inappropriate in asking for it, usually by way of oversharing in some emotionally inappropriate way. As soon as I do it, I know that I’ve done it and it’s not “good” but right up until that point, the drive/need is so intense that I can’t escape it.

    I wish I had something more helpful to share.

    • That is exactly how it feels for me. It’s easier to process when it’s not happening but when it happens I don’t realize it until I’ve just said it and I freak out and try to undo what I’ve just done and then it becomes even more awkward

  8. How about massage? As a massage therapist, I can tell you that many people see me for exactly the reasons you express. We provide a positive experience of non-sexual touch. And we can tailor that touch to the preferred depth/pressure of the client. For example, some of my clients prefer, deep slow pressure, but others only relax with a very light touch. Preferences vary widely among everyone, and especially with my clients with ASD.
    Sometimes just a friend who can give a hand massage or foot rub can fulfill that desire for touch, too. What’s even cooler- sometimes GIVING a hand massage, etc can be just as fulfilling as receiving.
    Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like some more info or a referral to someone in your area.
    PS- love your blog, so glad it appeared in my news stream this morning!

    • Hi Allissa!

      I am so happy you found my blog too! Massages are a bit on the expensive side and cannot fix things in the moment but maybe I should save up for one once a month. Maybe that would help. Thank-you so much for taking the time to read my post and respond!

  9. Susan R says:

    There is nothing wrong with needing a hug šŸ™‚ My niece with Asperger’s doesn’t seem to want a hug often, but when she does, she seeks it out and I want to always be ready and help her feel safe and grounded. My nephew with Down syndrome and autism gives hugs freely, but sometimes doesn’t want one — he has times when he prefers to be alone. For those around them, sometimes it is hard because we need the hug, but the kids just can’t do it then.
    As to how to express your needs among acquaintances or co-workers, unfortunately, it mostly requires using words. Especially with co-workers. In some workplaces, it is very risky to show any vulnerability, because it can be perceived as weak or even unstable. It might be better to excuse yourself and call a good friend when you need a hug and don’t have the right person around. I remember an ad where the daughter calls her dad, and he instructs her to put one arm around herself, then the other, then squeeze–so he can give her a hug over the phone! Not quite the same, I know, but maybe enough to get you through the day.
    Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Hi Susan! When I am at work and I get that sensation, if I can think outside of the racing thoughts, I try to go to the restroom and shake my arms as hard as I can. It releases tension but I don’t always see it happening until I’m on the verge of tears. The more stressed out I am, the harder it gets. People see me as so high functioning, and in many ways, its true but when this happens, often times my coping skills which I have adapted to over the years, go right out the window. Meltdowns for me are not anger, its usually anxiety and extreme sadness.

  10. I would like to first thank you for sharing, I have a son with autism and I find your post very inspiring. We occasionally use a compression vest for him, I don’t know if you have heard of them before, it is basically just a weighted vest that you can adjust to be looser or tighter around your torso. Best of all you can wear it under your clothes at work, though you should probably wear a tshirt under it. It works wonders for him when he is feeling anxiety or gets very hyper.

    I also want to say that everybody has issues, I was violated and abused as a child and don’t like to be touched by strangers but have been very inappropriate with “friends” in the past… Don’t ever feel like a burden or that you are less than anybody else because you are amazing and strong. Keep looking for answers and sharing your experiences and you WILL help a lot more people than I think you realize. God Bless

    • Hi Jessika! You are so kind. šŸ™‚

      Thank-you for the encouragement. I think that in time I will figure this out.

      My coping skills have changed a lot over the years.

      I definitely crave actual touch and not just the sensation of a hug which complicates things a lot. It’s the feeling of safety. It’s almost as if I regress to a five year old when I go into meltdown mode.

  11. Amy says:

    Is it the human touch of a hug that you crave or is it the sensation of being held that you like? Have you tried using a weighted blanket? (Joanna seemed to describe one in her comment above). That is something you could keep at work to wrap up in when you feel the need for a hug. It gives the feeling of a hug without the person. They might be a little pricey, but I know there are ways to make your own if you are a crafty person. Another super neat thing I have learned about is a squeeze machine (invented by Dr. Temple Grandin, who has Asperger’s herself) which is basically two padded panels that you lay in between and then pull a lever and they come together and hug you. Here is a link to learn a little more about it >> This option, however, is not very portable and is probably expensive. These both might be things you already know about, but I thought I’d throw the ideas out there just in case! Best of luck to you!

    • Hi Amy! Thank you for the suggestions! When I am at home I do wrap myself in a blanket if my spouse isn’t home. The biggest issue is when I am not home. I work full time so I’m away from my home most of the time.

  12. Jaime says:

    As I read your post, I was thinking about some sensory processing product catalogs we have gotten for our son. There are tight fitting “hugging” t-shirts and such. Even weighted vests, which are more obvious to others. But you could wear the t-shirts as undergarments without anyone knowing.

  13. I also find a professional massage can be very helpful when I need human contact, but recommend Aspies with questions about social appropriateness should consult a speech pathologist who specializes in speech pragmatics training.

  14. Mary Cancel says:

    My son is constantly asking people for hugs. We have worked on who it is appropriate to hug (not random security guard at the airport) and to ask before hugging because not everyone likes or wants a hug. I often thought it a sensory seeking deep pressure hug or a transitional hug or even seeking solace/reassurance that everything is ok hug. We are an affectionate family and if someone does not want to give or receive affection tha is alright too. Thank you for some interesting insight – I wonder do reassuring words work just as well? Or requesting for reassurance? I never want my son to stop hugging me if he needs to but I know as he gets older appropriate hugging socially is becoming an issue. Again, thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Mary! Words of affirmation are helpful but only go so far. Sometimes I keep texts on my phone so I can read them when I’m anxious but it won’t stop the craving for touch. Sometimes I rub my thumb on my pointer finger slowly and it is soothing but it doesn’t give that tight squeeze and closeness.

  15. Dale Favier says:

    I’m 54, and it took me decades to create a life for myself that made sense, given how much I needed touch and how inappropriate it is to ask for it. I’m a part-time massage therapist now — (friends with Allissa, that’s how I got here!) And I find giving & receiving touch just incredibly grounding. Nothing else ratchets my social anxiety down like that. Social situations in which I’m not touching people? I used to be able to take it for half an hour, 45 minutes maybe, and then I’d be edging toward the door: God, let me out of this!

    Over a long time — and becoming a professional toucher was a large part of this, but by no means all of it — I found my way to people who understood this. For instance, I have a coworker at my office job who just routinely comes in to hug me good night. We don’t have to talk: often we don’t. There’s nothing remotely flirty or sexual about it. Just a good strong embrace for a few seconds, and we’re good to go.

    My point is, a lot of people don’t get this but a lot of people do. You can find them. And it’s worth doing. You don’t need to just cave in to the dominant culture of touchlessness. All non-human primates groom each other: If they don’t their nervous systems get wonky, and they get depressed or vicious. Some human beings seem to do fine without it, but some of us really don’t, and I don’t think we need to be ashamed of it. We just need to find each other.

    It doesn’t mean we all give each other free passes to nuzzle each other. It matters who and when. Boundaries are completely necessary and appropriate, and they get negotiated in this context just like they do in any other. But just don’t go thinking there’s anything wrong with needing the hugs, and going and getting them. There’s not.

    • Hi there Dale,

      I wish I had “huggy” coworkers but I think that’s luck if you find them and also even if they are, my social awkwardness tends to push folks away. I wish it was so simple as to walk up to someone and ask. Of course I can ask my spouse for a hug at home, but at home, I end up going outside to smoke or doing as I mentioned in another comment to calm down. I used to use a stress ball and a Tangle (they’re pretty cool) but everyone kept asking what it was, and I have to admit it looks a lot like a baby toy or even dog chew toy. Maybe I’ll get one of the chrome colored ones but I don’t think they have the rubbery bumps on them that I like. I also almost always sit on one of my legs. It’s something I’ve always done. I can’t sit still with my legs on the floor. I get extremely antsy so the pressure from that helps. Because I can’t ask my coworkers and because most of my family I know will feed off of my anxiety if I call them, maybe I can start taking lunch breaks alone and write in my actual journal. I just get afraid that if I keep to myself too much, I’ll get more lonesome and that intense need for touch will lead to more anxiety attacks. Some days when it happens I want to literally cover my ears and start screaming (which has only happened one time in my life and was due to a sound in my senior year in school) but I feel like I’m screaming internally. On the inside I feel like rocking back and forth and crying and on the outside its like everyone just assumes that because its Aspergers and not Autistic disorder that I can handle high stress. I may still cover my ears when an ambulance goes by if I forget not to but I know I’ve come a long way. I think people that are not familiar with ASD also forget that being extremely happy can also make me extremely anxious/agitated too! Everything is extreme, I’ve just learned how to hide it at least most of the time. At home, it shows more often.

      • Dale Favier says:

        Oh yes, I hear that. Blogging made a big difference for me, in the long haul, when I finally started meeting people whom I actually knew very well through their writing, and who knew me better than most of my social acquaintances. And social media too: really the coworkers I know, I know because of facebook interactions. I just can convey so much more of my inner life through writing than I can through speech: it’s always been that way for me. Man, though, I know that agitation, that feeling that if I don’t just make a break for it and run out of the building soon I’m going to die. It still comes up sometimes, even now.

  16. I’ve taken the unofficial tests, and I’ve come out on the Aspie end of ASD. I have never had a formal diagnosis, but the more I learn about ASD, the more I understand about how my brain works and why it works the way it does — and I’m astonished that there are people out there who know my brain better than I do, and they can explain to me how and why it works the way it does.

    I’ve never had problems with giving hugs — on both sides of my family, they were really big on hugging everyone anytime they got together, both at the beginning of the event and at the end. Looking back, I missed that as I got older and I saw friends that were having good relationships with members of the appropriate gender and yet I couldn’t have the same success. I was twenty-nine before I had my first date, and she practically had to hit me over the head with a two-by-four to get me to take her out. That first girlfriend also had to help me understand all the dating and relationship games that “normal people” play, and what I got from that relationship is that I don’t do well in playing those sorts of games — I just don’t pick up on the social cues that I should.

    As I’ve gotten older (and married the most wonderful woman in the world), I’ve met more friends who are open to hugging, and I’ve discovered that I am apparently pretty good at giving good hugs. And I am generally open to giving hugs to anyone that requests a hug, or looks to me like they could use one — but if I feel that someone does need a hug, I make sure to ask first.

    So, speaking only for myself (and any potential co-workers I might have now or in the future), if you ask me for a hug, I’m usually happy to oblige. And if I know the reason why you might need a hug (e.g., in cases such as yours), then I would go out of my way to make myself available.

    But you do need to ask. Or hit me over the head with a two-by-four, because I am really not good at picking up on social cues.

    • Hi Brad! I definitely believe in the rule of asking, but there is simply something …odd to me about asking people that I work with for a hug. I don’t mean I would just do it. It seems out of place, in my case, and because its such an ongoing almost daily internal issue for me, I think it would be unwise. I can’t put my finger on it but in a corporate setting, hugging just doesn’t seem right. Maybe it’s my all or nothing mind set. I don’t know. Maybe its that I’m not close enough to anyone to ask. It seems like I’d be asking someone to really step out of their comfort zone. I’m trying to wrap my head around a group of coping skills. Maybe if I have a little list of ideas with me, it’ll remind me I can try different things that I can do on my own (e.g- stress ball, a very short brisk walk alone, or a weighted vest) In general, the sensation of touch is so intense/poweful for me, so for some that might read this, they might be thinking “It’s just a hug” but that’s just the problem, it’s not to me. Am I just rambling now? About to head to bed now. Thanks for sharing your perspective, I love hearing others point of view on this. Everyone is so different and so much alike at the same time. Night!

      • In a “normal” work place, I would agree with you — hugging is probably not considered an “appropriate” activity to participate in.

        However, enlightened employers can choose to provide spousal-type benefits to people who are not legally married, they can choose to provide paternity leave for men who have recently had a new baby delivered into their lives, and they can choose to provide counseling services to employees who might need it, so why can’t they also allow for (or encourage) “Designated Hugger” roles for employees?

        Seriously, I think this would be a valid question that could be raised with a manager or HR. I’m certainly going to mention this issue as a whole to future employers (to try to help them understand the kind of position that you are in), as well as my willingness to play the part of DH. If the respective managers or HR departments choose not to avail themselves of my offer in this regard, I might be slightly disappointed but I would fully understand.

        However, unless they actively discouraged me from doing so, I would still make it known amongst my co-workers to serve in this role in an unofficial capacity. And if they did discourage me from doing so, I might wonder if I am working at the right kind of a company.

        Anyway, just a thought. You have to decide what is right for you, and I have to respect that.

      • It’s something to think about. An idea to chew on so to speak. I’ll see what I come up with. šŸ™‚

  17. Of course, now it occurs to me that those of us who are willing to give hugs to anyone who needs one really should start wearing shirts or some other obvious identifying piece of clothing, so that people like yourself can find us when you need us.

    You’d have to be careful about the potential to abuse that identifier (in either direction), but it would be great for both of us if we might happen to both be in the same airport or train station or workplace and if you needed a hug then I could be there to provide one — even if we had never met before. That would make me feel better that I was able to help someone who needed it, and would make you feel better that you got the hug you needed when you needed it.

    Ahh, “Designated Hugger”. That’s what I was looking for. See and among others.

    Now we just need to turn this into a line of t-shirts or something. šŸ˜‰

  18. Here’s the jackpot — 262 pages of results for “hugs+clothing”, with almost 16,000 total hits. See

  19. Dale Favier says:

    Re hugging at work — yes, I’d never have tried to find the hugs at work when I was at IBM. A lot of places it would just never work. And I just lucked out, in this particular workplace and with this particular person. I didn’t mean that as an example of a solution so much as an example of what can start to happen as you get older and you find more of your own people (and feel you can afford to “come out” more.)

    • Deb says:

      I really loved reading your blog. My son has aspergers and is always seeking out my touch in particular. He frequently will ask me for a hug while upset and crying. Thank you for putting your experiences out there so that we can all better understand.

  20. himeiput says:

    I have the similar issue. Maybe i just want to feel save and comfort. I live in a country where hugging someone you just know is not appropriate. So i just hug somebody i know really well.
    But sometimes they don’t want to be hugged, you know because of the culture.
    In here, hugging is just for some special moment. When you’re really sad, or first meet after a long time, or really need support, etc.
    When they don’t want to be hugged, i just end up touching their fingers or their clothes.

  21. Allison Oh says:

    Hi,will something like this be useful for you? It is a jacket which can be remotely controlled using a phone to give you hugs/deep pressure sensation.

  22. Pingback: Can I Hug You? | High Functioning Autism |

  23. Robin says:

    Gretchen – thank you so much for writing and sharing…Aspergers could be a part of why you experience this, but really it is part of the human condition to want to be touched, to be held, to be cared for…and there is nothing selfish about this.
    I always wanted a hug…but came from a family that didn’t really hug. It left me feeling “ungrounded.” I love that you explain it that way because it helps me to understand how I was feeling and my coping mechanisms.
    My son has Aspergers and is sensitive to touch. He is 15 now and is just beginning to welcome a hug and kiss. My daughter is a bit stand offish with hugs and my other son would be hugged and squeezed all the time if he could.
    Each as their own sensory system and regulation. I can say my oldest improved as did I when we studied something called primitive reflexes. Check out Jon Bredal or RhythmicMovements. These strategies help to address some basic sensory and limbic system needs which might have not have set in early childhood development which then effect prefrontal cortex processing.
    Maybe it would help.

  24. Pingback: Can I Hug You? | Social Skills & Autism |

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  27. My daughter who is not big on hugs and touching, asked for hugs from the nurse before getting shots (the huge male nurse looked at me for approval first!). My son is often seeking hugs, especially after doing something wrong. seems to be a reassurance thing for them.

  28. Nothing wrong with needing a hug, or asking for it. I am thinking perhaps somehow I am picking up on that desire to reach out to other people that exists behind your words in your poetry. You DO reach us, and I would give you a hug right now, if you wanted one.

  29. Pingback: Can I Hug You? – Part 2 | Gretchen Leary

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