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Mr Beek 05-06-2019 07:48 PM

Inappropriate touching -SPED
This classroom has not had a consistent teacher, ever. This is the first year this school has has a self-contained 3-4th grade class of learners with autism.
Should staff allow students to climb into their laps? Is it ok for a 10 year old boy to climb into the lap of a woman?
This makes me feel uncomfortable.
Your advice is appreciated.

whatever 05-07-2019 04:53 AM

Right now I teach MS/HS Sped and the majority have autism. Some kids crave touch and others abhor it. When it is inappropriate, we try to decrease that and make replacement behaviors instead.

I've also taught in the elementary and middle schools SPED rooms. I would discourage any lap sitting--boy or girl of any age.

readandweep 05-07-2019 02:31 PM

Lap sitting
If it is not appropriate for their peers (regular ed and special ed), it should not be appropriate for this group.

It will be very hard for you to break this cycle. I would emphasize who they can hug and kiss (Mom, Dad and Grandma, etc.). Also, you probably need to teach self-soothing behaviors if the students rely on an adult to help calm themselves.

If staff balks, ask them to imagine a 200-pound 16-year old with bad body odor and acne trying to sit on their lap.

Been there, done that. It is going to be hard, but it is best for the kids.

sensoryinput 05-09-2019 04:26 AM

I would tell them in a friendly way that snuggling and kissing are for mom and dad. It is part of teaching social rules. Kids with autism do not intrinsically pick upon social rules, and it takes time to learn them. I would insist that my staff let them know in a kind and friendly way, this is part of their disability and you do not shame kids for symptoms of their disability. That being said, many kids with autism need sensory input to self regulate, and they do let you know through things like trying to sit on your lap. If that is the case, I will look for other ways that they can get that input - weighted blanket, swinging, pushing heavy items, and yes - sometimes a sideway hug. If I see a kid dysregulate and know they need sensory input, I will show them visual choices of what they ca do. The goal is that over time they will learn the signs of needing sensory input, and ways to get that input in social appropriate ways.

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