Posted on June 21, 2016
Researchers Tiffany Field, David Lasko, Peter Mundy, Tanja Henteleff, Susan Kabat, Susan Talpins, and Monica Dowling conducted a study on 22 preschool children with autism. They investigated the effects of touch therapy on problems commonly associated with autism, such as inattentiveness, touch aversion, and withdrawal. They found that orienting to irrelevant sounds and stereotypic behaviors decreased in both the touch therapy and the touch control group; however, orienting decreased more in the touch therapy group.
While such a small study is certainly not enough to draw any conclusions, it is an area that others have spend time researching. Tina Allen (of LiddleKidz.ca and internationally respected educator, lecturer, author and expert in the field of infant and pediatric massage therapy) writes "Research has demonstrated that this type of intervention (massage) may promote more on-task and social relatedness behavior during play, they show less erratic behavior, and are more attentive after receiving massage therapy. This safe, nurturing touch, along with regular sensory integration, is beneficial in reducing inattentiveness, touch aversion and withdrawal."