Mother's Body Odor Helps Children with Autism Communicate

Mother and child

A mother is special in a child's life for many reasons, one of which includes the positive effects her distinct smell has on an autistic child's ability to imitate his or her surroundings and communicate more effectively in a social setting. Children with autism often have their automatic imitation social skills impaired, a deficit which seems to be rather easily rectified.

A mother has many an effect on her children, from the time she carries them in her womb to her interaction with them as they grow older. These include:

Where does body odor come in?


Research has discovered that a mother's body odor, the scent that defines her as distinctly the mother of an autistic child in question, allows for the conquering of the social deficiencies and covertly imitate the actions of others. This mimicking ability is seen as extremely important in the development of any child, helping create the perfect platform from whence to launch other social skills that develop per milestone a typical child passes.

To come to this conclusion, the study published in the Biological Psychiatry issue looked into the theory that "body odors are known to initiate and mediate many different social behaviors, smelling the body odor of a family member might constitute a sensory-based action promoting social contact." In essence, researchers observed how 20 autistic and 20 typically developing children reacted to different stimuli when they were coupled with the mother's body odors and without.

How else can you help autistic children communicate?

All in all, autistic children who are normally not quite social and extremely awkward in a setting where they are required to communicate, a mother's body scent helps them feel comfortable enough to imitate the behavior displayed in their surroundings and communicate their needs more efficiently.



is sense of smell just generally more important for autistic people of any gender? i have aspegers (dx) and can vouch for my husbands natural odor to calm me. my son also seeks calm in my odor. so is it only mother children?
Definitely has a major part in it. The one person who you feel most comfortable with, who loves you and you feel a sense of love which have you conditioned to do better when their body odor is close by. What symptoms do you see minimized when he's around? (Your husband)
I have asbergers (dx), when I'm around and can smell my husband: I worry less I have less anxiety I don't think of several different possible outcomes for anything at one time (as I usually would be) I tend to be in a better mood Optimism as a result of this, I tend to be more in the moment, and therefore, more focused and attentive. When we were younger he worked overseas for three years. He gave me his t-shirt "smell" him, actually he asked for mine too, (this is not so strange to do this, for SE Asian cultures are common to be away working) By the way this is not a Body Odor smell I'm talking about, I've got a very sensitive nose and won't let the guy near me after he's been working in the forest or playing soccer, unless he had a wash first, so, what I'm talking about which makes me feel calm is a musky kind of smell, (no he doesn't wear deoderant/attar etc.) so, when my son is freaking out about something unexpected, and he plunges his face into my chest to take a deep breath i kind know what he's after.
Body odor doesn't need to be pungent or strong ;) Simply that every body has a particular smell to it, an odor detected best as youth according to some studies. As we grow up, those scents bring us peace. Your husband's distinct scent seems to have that effect on you, which is also quite common in happy marriages :D