Friday, March 30, 2012

Nudity – Therapy for Autism?

This week alarming new statistics about autism made headlines.  According to the latest release, about one in eighty-eight children will be diagnosed with some form of autism, ranging from mild to more severe cases. [See, for example, this article in USA TODAY ]

We have said many times on Bare Platypus that we are NOT doctors.  When it comes to autism, however, we have been following the condition for some time.  That’s because autism and nudism have crossed paths more than once.  It seems that many autistic people do not like the feeling of clothes on their body.  This may be due to an increased sensitivity to touch.

In our previous work, The Platypus Team in fact took up the case of one young man with moderately-severe autism who had made the transition to living alone.  He had a job and rode the bus line to and from his apartment each day.  He also removed his clothes immediately upon getting home and stayed that way until it was time to go to work.  It’s not clear that he considered any of the more esoteric aspects of “nudism”… he just knew it felt better to have nothing on his skin. 

All went well until he once went out on his balcony to retrieve his cat at about 5:00 in the morning without stopping to dress. [This young man was no pervert… just forgetful  He had signs taped to the inside frame of his front door made by his mother to remind him he needed to put on clothes before leaving for work.] 

A neighbor complained and the apartment complex planned to evict him until we assisted his mother with negotiating with the complex by leveraging the young man’s status under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The landlords recanted; they also helped install new louvered blinds on the balcony to avoid further complications with the neighbors.  We considered this victory to be among our finest of hours.

Nudism and autism have also crossed paths in some studies linking autism with Vitamin D deficiency.  A chief source of Vitamin D is direct exposure to sunlight and about 15 minutes a day on a fully-naked body yields a full day’s supply of this nutrient.

Finally, we strongly encourage you to read this touching story about the mother of a six year old boy who watched him experience genuine freedom and joy when the family stumbled onto the Rooster Rock nude beach. See Living with autism: A beach, a boy, a moment of joy  . 

10/30/13 Update: We came across the following nudity and autism website .On it parents and grandparents of autistic children share tips and experiences. There are even suggested types of clothing for making kids more comfortabl or to seethat certain behavior is addressed. Several parents suggest nudism too.

04/25/12 Update:  Bare Platypus came across this somewhat humorous account from the mother of an autistic teen son with a nudist streak:

07/13 Update:  Another story of one with autism who took to the buff to go swimming in a hotel pond.  Concerned mom and dad got her back safe and sound: Autistic Person's Nude Swim