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Autism is usually diagnosed by age two and symptoms include abnormally low social interaction, minimal eye contact, a fragmented attention span and a strong dislike to touch.

The most heartbreaking aspect of Autism for a parent is the lack of intimate loving interaction with their child, like cuddling and holding hands.

Though it may seem like massage could be an unwanted experience with no benefits, research indicates the opposite.

After one month of daily massage autistic preschool children were more attentive and showed better relationships with their teachers, while another study found that autistic children slept better after a bedtime massage by their parent.

Both studies reported an improvement in touch aversion and the other great news is that most parents found that the interaction level between them and their child improved after daily massage.

There’s no doubt that having a physical and nurturing relationship with your child, no matter what their health status is, fosters a loving bond.

To massage a child with autism, techniques are tailored to the child’s needs by their primary caregiver.

What is certain is that Autistic children thrive on routine, so a predictable and short 15 minute massage routine (to accommodate a short attention span), at the same time daily, is recommended. Strokes in successful studies were smooth, firm and repetitive.

For massaging children with Autism unscented massage oil would be most suitable, unless the child shows a particular liking to scented massage oil.

As always use organic oil so no harmful side effects are experienced by absorbing chemicals into the skin.

Try the Little Innoscents Massage Oil to massage your child.

While the greatest effort has been invested to ensure the validity of this information, the advice therein is set as a ‘general’ guide only, and your individual needs may require a different method to the one shown. Little Innoscents would like to encourage you to see your regular healthcare professional, should you be concerned for you or your baby’s wellbeing.
  • If it works, why not give it a go.

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  • I have found that massage helps everyone – so why wouldn’t it also help a child with autism?

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  • cheers Antonette for this good post

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  • You recommend unscented massage oil but then advertise your oil which has 4 different scents mixed in?

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  • I no that massage is a wonderful relaxing therapy so I think gentle hands on massaging would not hurt at all

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  • this sounds like a great idea – even though the child may not like it to start with, gentle massage might just relieve some of their stress too.

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  • ANotehr type of massage which is done with a gentile brush is called the Willbarger protocol! Worked wonders for us.

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  • Thank you for this article.
    Massage is very individual and depends upon a persons sensory processing. Massage may be beneficial for some children; however; for other children it may be difficult, uncomfortable and overwhelming. Do you have links to the studies/research mentioned in this article? Thank you.

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  • We are way behind USA. A friend of mine went to USA and worked as nanny to 2 children, one a 2year old with Autism. He was already having speech therapy a few hours each week. As he grew a little older his hours increased and he had other therapies as well.
    By the time she left 15 months later, he was going every day, having lunch and a nap during the day with morning and afternoon sessions. Needless to say he often slept in the car all the home so she carried him inside and put him to bed.

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  • I massaged my young children and they loved it. When teaching autistic children I used a firmer style of massage with the children. It was apparent that a touch irritated them. The other thing I noticed was that the children liked to be wrapped firmly in a blanket. It calmed them down.

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  • Yes in most cases I think they would benefit greatly.

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  • Nice advertisement for Little Innoscents Massage Oil – but as any parent of a child with Autism (or rather Autism Spectrum Disorder – as is is now referred to) will tell you – it is very rare for a child to be diagnosed before the age of 2! For me one of the most heartbreaking aspects of having a child with ASD are the obtuse statements from people who know little about it!


    • That is what I had always understood as well. A little boy I knew whilst working in daycare wasn’t diagnosed until he was 3.

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  • Really interesting but not surprising that massage is beneficial to autistic children. It certainly couldn’t do any harm unless the child didn’t enjoy it.

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  • This is really interesting, and other thing htat helps to break through some of the myths about autism and what it means for kids living with it.

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  • It’s always great when new things can be found to help

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