My daughter is Autistic, and hits herself, any advice?

LeeAnn - posted on 06/08/2009 ( 27 moms have responded )

201

30

15

My 2 1/2 year old daughter is Autistic, and has been hitting herself, and others. She has also bitten herself and others, but now only does this on occasion. If we try to get her to stop it makes it worse. I don't know what to do.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Kelcey - posted on 06/15/2009

13

9

5

My son is 2 and he hits me not himself, but the best I could say to you is that I hold his arms down and don't let go til it passes. I was told to try that after the not paying attention didn't do anything. For him it is different reasons that he hits me, he doesn't talk so some is communication and there's frustration too. He does seem to calm him after a few. The only bad thing about them hitting weather its themselves or others is that its not okay to hit and even though we understand why other people don't and we have to be the ones to teach them so it doesn't get worse. Its not always easy to hold him but I stay strong so he knows that he can't hit. I hope that this will help.

Kristal - posted on 06/19/2009

6

5

1

SOME excellent advise here. The only other thing I can think to add, because we are in process of trying it as well now, is treating the (sensory) part of my son's abusive behavior. For example my son bites himself and others at times.... but more than anything he presses his chin against your arm hard enough to bruise you. We have been trying massaging oral stimulations, deep pressure treaments perriodically during day (pressing down on top of head (gently but firm) and holding chin., also we are arying to find "alternatives" such as kush balls, oral biters etc... he can squeeze, or apply pressure to any areas instead on pinch, hit, or bite. My son attends a special needs school, and I have been told that this process of finding the right things for my son to use consistently may take awhile, however its our goal to eventually have him perhaps have his own "sensory bag" filled with the objects that help him that he can go to on his own, or with just a verbal cue.



I would like to also say.... I think all the above advise was very good. As a parent whose still coping with this issue from time to time, and had advise from teachers, therapists, etc. think this is an amazing group, with amazing mom's in it. What a blessing to get so much advise in one place.

Catriona - posted on 06/13/2009

55

16

15

Hi LeeAnn,

My son doesn't have Autism but I do work with children who do. my advice is firstly make a list of all situations where this behaviour occurs and try to look out for them before they arise, and try to give her a warning, for example, if you need to say "no" to her tell her she needs to stay calm. Then make a "Star chart" for your daughter and award her with a star onto the chart and a little treat (like her favourite sweet) everytime one of these situations arises and she does not hit herself. She should eventually come to pair the positive reinforcement with not emitting the behaviour. it may take a few tries but should eventually work. you can also pair this with verbal praise, "Great girl, you stayed so calm you get a special treat"

if she does begin hitting herself in one of these situation try not to make any eye contact with her, show her the star chart and remove one star from it and say "you are not calm"....this way she should realise that when she does hit herself she doesn;t get her favourite treat. I hope this helps you.

Catríona....x

Amanda - posted on 06/13/2009

102

2

6

I agree with Heidi, the best thing to do is to try not to react when she is doing it, remember it is a stim, she does it because it makes her feel good and the more people try to stop her from doing it the more she will want to.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

27 Comments

View replies by

Patricia - posted on 12/21/2013

1

0

0

most helpful, where can we get these things to use with our granddaughter? She scratches and bites and pinches, also digs her elbows hard enough to bruise, this is both to herself or us. It is getting so hard to look after her, and we are at the end of our tether. She is 9 and very strong, no chance of holding her down without hurting her. She is too strong for us to put her in a 'time out' lover her to bits, but the stress for her and us is mounting up, my husband is 70 and I am 65,neither in good health, can you give my any advice about strategies please?

Amanda Lynn - posted on 04/04/2013

4

0

0

I don't know too much about this, but what about buying her something like a soft baseball bat, pillow or doll and giving her something to hit when she wants to hit? i practiced boxing for a few years and when boxers hit the bag, that is what we do- we relieve stress and it feels great. i can't really relate to hitting oneself, but maybe if she has something to hit, she will get aggression out without hitting others. poor thing. i can only imagine the strength of emotions inside her.

Chontene - posted on 06/18/2009

5

19

0

My daughter who has ASD and just turned five has not gone to that extreme of belting herself up, but claws herself and grinds her teeth, and has major meltdowns that esculate in no time flat, and when you can't figure out the problem it only gets worse, when they have no other way of communicating or are so beside themselves they can't even listen to any words. Sometimes a really firm hug, chill things right out in a quiet place and also a firm head squeeze with both hands. When none of the above works, we resort to time out. This has worked well because there's no audience, they learn to self calm and you can get your head together. I say 'into your room until you can be quiet' and when it calms down enough to open up and offer them to come out if they're calmed down, if not close the door and repeat! But you've probably tried all that. You have to perservere though, sounds terrible but we put a lock on her door, worked though confines her there instead of rampaging in and out and waking up my other baby! Good luck!

Marianne - posted on 06/18/2009

59

16

15

your daughter has a bubbling pressure cooker inside her and her outburts are simply the steam needing to escape. Hi, Im marianne and I have 2 autistic boys and am also autistic. We "self" stimulate by hitting ourselves and others as it really feels good. Its not something we want to do or enjoy doing. My advice would be to distract her from doing this to others, and just make sure she is out of harms way when doing this to herself

Marianne - posted on 06/18/2009

59

16

15

The advise withing is great. What a wonderful group. I need to say though, that I have 2 boys on the spectrum as well as being there myself. I have experiennced the "hitting" first hand as I do it myself when I get very upset or frustrated. It sounds bad but it really is a way of self stimulating. For me..and i speak only for myself..it feels good to punch my own legs. The only way to explain this is its like having a Pressure cooker bubbling away inside. The steam has to escape and when that happens its a massive release wether it be in tantrum form or self harm. We get so frustrated and have so much trouble making sense of things. In my experience having someone physically stop me from this behaviour can do more harm than good. Just make sure your daughter is in a safe place. Remove anything that can do her harm. She is not in pain apart from trying to make sense of the world.

LeeAnn - posted on 06/16/2009

201

30

15

I understand this....She practices with her daughter, at the school. I know that she must be super busy, and I am not asking for updates all the time....I have sent a letter once, but I just got the same response. I wish that she could see the other OT she had at the very first, which was last summer. She was awesome!! She came to our house, but works in another public school system, and could only see her in the summer, becuase we were waiting to get her into FDDC. Now that she is enrolled, she has to use the one we have now.

Nidia - posted on 06/16/2009

16

24

3

Write her a letter, expressing your concerns and fears, and if you can do anything at home to help. Sometimes, they are so overwhelmed with teaching soo many kids they dont realize they are ostrasizing you. They have limited time.



I can only observe for 20 minutes and the Principal or other Admin has to be there with me... same privacy laws.

LeeAnn - posted on 06/16/2009

201

30

15

I don't know. I was at the school one day while she was having testing, for her annual, and the OT thought that Micki wouldn't work for her ( she is probably right..she would be crying for me to hold her). I watched through the door, and she seems to work well with her. I don't have a problem with her methods, and she is very tolerant and works well with my daughter. I just think that she needs to work on communicating with the parents better. I don't know if she assumes that I am not interested, which is the case with lots of her parents, but I am! I want to know if there is anything I can do to help at home, or something I am doing wrong/not doing.

Nidia - posted on 06/16/2009

16

24

3

Quoting LeeAnn:

We have our Autistic daughter, and we have a 14 month old. Our 14 month old doesn't seem to have any struggles yet, but we are keeping a close eye. I am interested in ABA therapy, but don't know what channels to go through. Her other therapies help a lot, and I am sooo thankful, but I don't feel like her OT and I "click". I have to make all contact with her and pry her for info about her progress. I have metioned it before, but nothing has changed. She always gives me the report at her IFSP meetings, but if I want info in between, she just sends a printout of her goals, and percentages. I want a personal account. Does this sound too needy?



No not needy at all.  You just want some direct communication - nothing wrong with that.  My youngest daughter (Thank God is NT) but because she has no good role model, she copies a lot of her sisters behavior. So its really hard for me do go places, or do anything.  Like right now, she tries to bite me when she gets upset but she doesnt realize you have ot use your teeth.  LOL.  She qualified through the Regional Center, she is considered an at risk sibling, so I was able to put her in aproram for 2 year olds... she progressed very well.  But like I said because she copies her sisters behavior - it holds her back.



Are you able to observe the OT?

LeeAnn - posted on 06/16/2009

201

30

15

We have our Autistic daughter, and we have a 14 month old. Our 14 month old doesn't seem to have any struggles yet, but we are keeping a close eye. I am interested in ABA therapy, but don't know what channels to go through. Her other therapies help a lot, and I am sooo thankful, but I don't feel like her OT and I "click". I have to make all contact with her and pry her for info about her progress. I have metioned it before, but nothing has changed. She always gives me the report at her IFSP meetings, but if I want info in between, she just sends a printout of her goals, and percentages. I want a personal account. Does this sound too needy?

Nidia - posted on 06/16/2009

16

24

3

ABA therapy has been a godsend. This is where I have seen the most improvement. The therapist would on purpose pretend ot hurt herself and prompt my DD to ask her if she was ok. After numerous times, it clicked. So I started tripping, or being clumsy on purpose and she will ask if I am ok. Takes time and repetition. Rent a book - you can do it at home. Its hard for me because I also have a younger DD who always wants to be included.



They do a lot of sibling sharing segments that has been a godsend too.

LeeAnn - posted on 06/16/2009

201

30

15

My daughter laughs when she hits us. or her sister. She doesn't laugh as much now, we have been working on this. I am interested in Behavioral Therapy, but no one offers it around here. She currently recieves OT, PT, ST, and Day Hab. I will try this.

Nidia - posted on 06/16/2009

16

24

3

My DD would throw herself on the floor, bang her head, bite herself, bite us, kick us, hurl things (make sme think she will do well as a professional softball player) praising her would set her off. We dont use the NO word anymore because that sets her off even more. - we use not nice, not good. She had no empathy so she would laugh when we would cry, or hurt us.



The only thing that works for us is holding her down and talking softly to calm her down. The ABA therapist would tell us to ignore her but that woudlnt work. My daughter is non verbal so I know most of her tantrums are from not being able to be understood. But definitely reditection works great.



Good luck.

LeeAnn - posted on 06/16/2009

201

30

15

I have tried to ignore it, but this doesn't work. I have tried to discourage her, and say that it isn't nice, but that makes it worse. She hits me, and her sister. My husband thinks that disciplining her will get her to stop, but I disagree. I don't know what to do. It breaks my heart!!! She hits the children in her class too. Her therapist knows about this, but doesn't seem to be doing anything....I will try this. Thanks

LeeAnn - posted on 06/15/2009

201

30

15

I am so thankful for all of the advice. I am not comfortable giving my daughter any un-needed meds. I am of the mindset that less is more. I give her meds when she needs them, but I don't want her to be on a regimen unless I have exhausted ALL of the other possiblities. I am glad that this method is working for your little girl, and that is your choice. I am not trying to "cast stones", but am not ready to make this step yet. Thank you for your advice, and please keep any suggestions coming.

Kristie - posted on 06/13/2009

14

5

2

It may be an anxiety thing. My daughter has Asperger's and has pulled her eyebrows and eyelashes out. She has started pulling her arm hair out and sometimes biting herself. She picks at her lips and fingers. I don't know if anxiety medicine will help with some of it or not. The other suggestions were good as well. Try as many things as you need until you find something that works. The reward system never worked for my daughter but all kids are different. I hope you find something that works.

Peta - posted on 06/11/2009

7

59

1

hi there..my 2 year old son does the same...he doesnt talk, he bites himself when hes excited,he really hurts himself...his wrist has permenant teeth marks and bruises, he can get very aggressive...i am so happy to have found this, i can talk with many other people in the same situation as myself, life can become very difficult

LeeAnn - posted on 06/10/2009

201

30

15

I have noticed a pattern with her hitting. She usually does this when frustrated, and trying to say/do something, but can't. When we try to stop her, or acknowledge that she is doing this, it gets worse. It breaks my heart to see her hurting herself, and knowing that there is nothing I can do to make it stop. She used to bite herself, and leave bruises, and teeth marks. I am glad that this is only a very rare thing now. Thanks for all the advice, I am at my wits end on this topic....It is devastating to watch her doing this everyday.

Helen - posted on 06/09/2009

6

9

0

It's about the reaction they get from you or others around her, my son will do things and depending on the reaction it's like a sensory stim. for him, I agree with Heidi and Crystals theories just try both and see works best for you.

Heidi - posted on 06/08/2009

6

29

0

my son used to hit himself in the face until he would get bruises. he also would pull out big clumps of his hair. his doctor told me to sit him down on the sofa and i should sit on the other. then he told me to just stare at the tv until he was done hitting himself or pulling his hair. it took a little bit for me to get used to but eventually it stopped and he has not done it since.

Crystal - posted on 06/08/2009

10

14

1

Your welcome. There is also a chart board that worked really well for my son. And there are pieces of the magnet that u can write in your own projects you feel your child should work on they get to place little smiley faces when they have done a good job and after so many (by your choice) they get a treat.. That way the focus isnt so much on the negative but reinforcing the positive. It worked really well for my son until it became a routine. Children with autism have a really hard time expressing themselves so im sure this is ur daughters way of letting out frustration. It will get easier as time goes by and she gets older. Hang in there =)

LeeAnn - posted on 06/08/2009

201

30

15

Thank you, I will try this. She doesn't do it all of the time, it is just mostly when we tell her no, or try to re-direct her to do something else. For a short while she would bang her head on things, but has since stopped, and begun hitting herself with things in the head, or using her hand to hit herself in the head.

Crystal - posted on 06/08/2009

10

14

1

My advice is reward her every time she doesnt show this behavior. Make a huge deal out of it and show her how proud you are of her. Positive reinforcement is the best way to get her to stop.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms