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hugging at school

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by namoomoo, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Wanting some advice...I have a 14 year old student with autism, intellectual impairment and is non-verbal. He used to be bitey and aggressive - but because he has grown up a bit is now huggy and affectionate to teachers he knows and works with. I know that it is not age-appropriate and that perhaps he should not hug at school - but I have issues with age-appropriateness (considering developmental age rather than chronological age) and just think a hug is part of his way of communicating. But am also aware that as he gets older it may be a problem. Anyone with thoughts or expeiences to add?
     
  2. Wanting some advice...I have a 14 year old student with autism, intellectual impairment and is non-verbal. He used to be bitey and aggressive - but because he has grown up a bit is now huggy and affectionate to teachers he knows and works with. I know that it is not age-appropriate and that perhaps he should not hug at school - but I have issues with age-appropriateness (considering developmental age rather than chronological age) and just think a hug is part of his way of communicating. But am also aware that as he gets older it may be a problem. Anyone with thoughts or expeiences to add?
     
  3. There's nothing wrong with a hug, as long as it's only 1 and for a short period of time. I'm sure you will be able to tell when it becomes inappropriate.
     
  4. I think the problem with a lot of students with severe and complex learning disabilities is that they cannot distinguish between people they can hug and people they can't. I work in a residential special school with students like yours and, without exception, the ones that hug people also hug complete strangers-they just don't get the difference between their staff and the general public. Is your student only affectionate with his staff or does he hug strangers as well? If he is affectionate to strangers, this is where the concern is and we have found that, as they can't distinguish between staff and the general public, the only way to prevent them from hugging strangers and putting themselves at risk is to stop them from hugging anybody. Some of them have that need for physical comfort so we do hand and feet massages instead. I hope that helps in some way.
     
  5. We do this with one of our students-we tell her that she can have her Hello hug (1 for each member of staff) and then no more. However, there is another lad on the unit who we do not allow to hug at all as he is 17 years old, over 6 foot tall, weighs 15 stone and gives bear hugs from behind. He also can't limit this so we allow him to shake hands instead.
     

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