Research Article: Exploring a massage intervention for parents and their children with autism: the implications for bonding and attachment
Cullen-Powell, L. (2012). Exploring a massage intervention for parents and their children with autism: the implications for bonding and attachment. Journal of Child Health Care, 9(4), 245-255. doi: 10.1177/1367493505056479
This exploratory study aimed to address two questions: (1) What does touch mean between parents and their children with autism on completion of a massage intervention? (2) Do parents feel that their relationship with their children has changed on completion of a massage intervention? Fourteen parents agreed to be interviewed. Data were collected before the massage intervention (baseline), immediately after the massage intervention and 16 weeks from baseline and were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. At baseline, parents felt distressed that they felt unable to get ‘close’ to their children. After the intervention, parents reported feeling physically and emotionally closer to their children. Children expressed a range of cues to initiate massage at home. These benefits were maintained at follow-up for parents who continued to use massage at home. In conclusion, giving massage to children with autism may help to enhance the emotional bond between parent and child.