Holding Therapy

Description: An intervention in which the caregiver will hold the child very closely and very tightly while speaking in a comforting manner. The caregiver may not release her/his hold until the child “surrenders” and spontaneously looks into the caregiver’s eyes. The caregiver then returns the child’s gaze and exchanges affection.

Research Summary: There have been no scientific studies of holding therapy for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Recommendations: Researchers may wish to conduct studies with strong scientific designs to evaluate holding therapy. Professionals should present holding therapy as untested and encourage families who are considering this intervention to evaluate it carefully.