Stimming and self injury?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Stimming and self injury?
2
Sun, 08-31-2003 - 11:49pm
We have a soon to be 3 year old daughter, diagnosed with pdd-nos. Her biggest detriments aside from language delay, are stimming (walking on her toes constantly) and self injury by punching her mouth with her fist. It breaks my heart to see her do it, and she does it when she's frustrated and can't communicate. Does anyone have any success stories as to what I can do to break the cycle of these behaviors? She's attending a special preschool, does ABA (discrete trial teach) and speech therapy; and these interventions are not hindering this behavior! Many thanks.

Julie

Atlanta

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Mon, 09-01-2003 - 1:30am
Hi Julie, welcome.

I live with 5 people on the Spectrum. Two of them are 'self-inflictors' (dr calls it self-mutilators but that term just gives me the creeps). My 80-year-old grandmother, Asperger's Syndrome, hits herself in the forehead just like Rainman when she's really frustrated. Thankfully, that isn't often because she's too old to unlearn that behavior. But my 9 year old daughter, Jade, used to smack herself with anything that was handy (including but not limited to fists). She did this from about 2 years to 5 years.

We finally got her over it by using a 'regular reaction' that was pre-planned. Every time she did it we would take her hands in ours and tell her in the calmest voice possible "No. We don't hit ourselves. If you're upset I'll help you through it. But you can't tell me what's wrong if you don't calm down." We had to hold her hands the whole time, and of course, she would try to pull away. We just kept speaking calmly (in the most hypnotic voice possible) and kept telling her it was okay to be upset, but it was not okay to hit ourselves.

The idea is to maintain the emotional level you want your child to reach. Speak calmly while constantly repeating the message you want them to hear. This is called the Stay With Me method of behavioral therapy. It is called that because most practitioners often use the words "stay with me" as a verbal prompt. It doesn't work overnight though. I haven’t found a therapy or discipline that does. It took Jade 3 months to unlearn the self-hitting, but it DID eventually happen.

I hope that helps. Keep us informed as to how things are going. :)

Peace,

Candes

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Sun, 09-07-2003 - 1:53pm
Thank you Miss Candes, for the advice of self-injury! We will definitely implement this method ASAP. My daughter went through an episode this morning 9/7, and I was going crazy and had to leave the room, so my husband could tend to her. I am very greatful for the message board and that there's an outlet to let our voices be heard. GOD bless.

Julie