Does anyone else out there have a child who hurts himself obessively?

Stacy - posted on 05/31/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My son is 7 and has brain damage. Since he was 2 he has bite his hands, knees, and shoulders and has taken skin off. He also bangs is head on anything he can and hits his fist together. Sometimes he just can't seem to help it, then other times he does it when he's not getting what he wants or you aren't understanding what he wants. Anyone have a similiar story that might be able to help with something?

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My son used to do the same things when he was that age. He would bite himself , slam his head and fists into windows and walls and jump up and land on his knees. If we made the mistake of yelling at him to get him to stop the situation got much worse. What would work was getting him in a bear hug and holding him to the rage passed. For awhile he was on ritalin and it did seem to reduce the frequency of the outbursts. He is 32 now and fortunately those behaviors for the most part are gone. Doctors have never been able to diagnose anything other than seizures and some type of brain injury from birth. He is also pretty much non verbal in that you can't carry on a conversation with him. However he has grown into a very caring loving man with many friends. I believe sometimes when a child can't express verbally their wants they use violent behaviors to get their frustrations out. Good luck I know how helpless you feel having to see your son hurt himself.

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Maryann - posted 3 days ago

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I have a 15 year old son with cp and seizures and he is always hitting his ears with his thumbs and hits himself in the head. Biting his hands and kicks himself in the crotch area. Its so bothersome to see him do this to himself. He has been on so many meds and nothing seems to help. He even seems he gets worse with meds. its so frustrating. The bigger he gets the harder he hits.

Melissa - posted on 06/24/2010

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Hi Stacy,

I have a little girl (5 years old), who is multiply impaired...she bites her hands till they bleed. She has been doing it since the age of one. We had tried many things, and many Dr's, but no one seemed to be able to help till about 2 years ago. She is now on an anti psychotic (sounds bad, I know) called Respiridol. It has calmed immensely. Her biting is almost non existant now. Hope this helps...I know how hard it is to see your child hurt themselves!

Lymari - posted on 06/23/2010

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STACY: MY 5 YEAR OLD SON HAS BRAIN DAMAGED AND MULTIPLE DISABILITIES DUE TO A STROKE WHEN HE WAS 6 DAYS OLD, HE IS AN EX PREEMIE. SINCE HE TURN 4 STARTED BANGING HIS HEAD EVERY TIME HE IS ON HIS BELLY AND HE DOESN'T WANT TO AND NOW HE IS DOING IT EVERY TIME HE DOESN'T WANT SOMETHING OR DO SOMETHING. SINCE I NOTICE WHY HE WAS DOING IT BECAUSE HE CAN'T TALK, THE THING WE ARE DOING INCLUDING HIS THERAPISTS IS GIVING HIM A LITTLE BREAK AND THE CONTINUE. YOU SHOULD SEE HIS FACE OF RELIEF AND HIS SMILE WHEN WE STOPPED DOING WHAT'S BOTHERING HIM. YOU HAVE TO WATCH CAREFULLY WHEN AND WHY HE IS BEHAVING LIKE THAT, TRY THIS FIRST BEFORE TRYING MEDICATION. IT'S NOT EASY BUT WE LOVE THEM AND WILL FIND A WAY TO HELP THEM OUT. GOD BLESS!!!

Deborah - posted on 06/11/2010

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Hi Grandma Linda McNeal--I like the idea of the karate helmet and wish I knew about that when my son was younger. It is true that you should hold him until he calms down. The head banging and other ticks are sensory seeking issues and the more pressure he feels by you holding him will help calm him down. My son was put in a weighted vest at early childhood, which also helps. Just keep remembering that it will get better, it just takes time and patience.

Grandma Linda - posted on 06/10/2010

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My son is two and is just starting the head banging and I went to the doctor today and she says they can't evaluate him till he is three,that is very frustrating. I am suppose to hold him on my lap for as long as it takes for him to calm down she says,Ha that is easier said than done...He has a bruise on his forehead now that is just healing but will it ever heal I wonder cause everytime he don't get his way he does it again...it is very frustrating...

Deborah - posted on 06/10/2010

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Good Morning--

I have a 9 year old autistic (PDD-nos to be specific). The first line is to have your child evaluated by your school district at the age of 3. While we have always known that our child had some form of autism, we did not know which kind specifically. We also had him evaluated and treated by a Pediatric Neurologist who put him on meds last year to help with his "ticks" and to improve his skills and learning at school. The sooner you get him diagnosed, the better your child will be in getting the proper treatments.

Some behaviors are a way to get your attention, however, most are due to poor impulse control and sensory seeking. I would not discipline my child for these behaviors but move him into a quiet area where he is safe and can calm down.

As a parent it is very difficult to accept that there is something wrong with your child. I think that my early inability to accept that he had autism delayed him in getting proper treatment.

Candi - posted on 06/08/2010

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Oh goodness. That's so freaking stressful for you as a parent! Have you talked to a behavior therapist? Perhaps an evaluation would give you some help?

LeeAnn - posted on 06/08/2010

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My autistic 3 year old daughter also hurts herself. She used to bite, but now she slaps herself in the face, or on her legs. She has also on occasion made a fist and hit herself in the head. At our latest appointment the doctor suggested we place something she likes, such as a specific toy, in her hand to distract her. We've tried, and it doesn't help. Disciplining her for it also makes it worse. I have no idea how to make it stop, and my husband and I differ on our idea of how to deal with it. He thinks it is a behavior that can be controlled with discipline, and I think if we find the reason for it, we would be able to stop it. I haven't tried any meds yet, because of her age, the doctor didn't want to try them yet. I am sorry to "hijack" your post, but I could really use any help there is at this point! Good luck with your son.

Kristian - posted on 06/05/2010

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My son is 16. He bangs his head, bites himself, and punches his eyes. The thing that we do for him is we bought a karate helmet, with a clear, plastic face shield. Some boxing, sparring gloves that tie at the wrists, the others would fly off. This protects his head, face, and hands. He actually likes wearing this, and when we take off the helmet to wash his hair, he trys to put it back on. He doesn't want to hurt himself, but for whatever reason he can't help it. Our priority was keeping his head safe. He has been on many meds. Anxiety meds help some, but nothing truly helps like the helmet. We also tried bicycle helmets and batting helmets, but the karate helmet is soft foam and his hands don't get as banged up. Hope this helps.

Rebecca - posted on 06/04/2010

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My daughter is 13 years old. She has multiple disabilities including brain damage from birth. She was a premie 23 weeks gestation. She also hasbehavioral problems including: banging her head, biting herself and she gets uncontrollable to the point that i can not calm her down. She is on 3 different behavioral medicines including an antidepressent. The doctors tell me she will not do these things to where she will hurt herself (i do not believe that). The therapist says that due to the brain damage it is hard to find a medication that will help her and that none may ever work. I am to the point that i do not know what to do for her and it takes a lot out of me physically and mentally, i am scared she will hurt herself are someone else. When she is not throwimg these tantrum she is a very loving and caring child it is almost like she is bipolar. If you are anyone else finds a way to manage a child like this , i will gladly like your advice on what to do to help her. Thank You and not sure if this will help

Angela - posted on 06/04/2010

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My son is also 7. He bangs his head into things and continuously hits his ears to the point to where they are busted open and bleeding. He does it when he's happy or sad. I don't know how to make him stop. :( We have asked doctors about it and they say it's his way of expressing himself, that he dosen't know another way being that he can't talk to tell us what he needs or feels. My son has never been diagnosed with any syndrome or anything, they just aren't sure. Sometimes I will massage his head and shoulders and sometimes i will put a cool rag on his ears, it seems to calm him for a little bit, but not for long. So maybe try that? And if you find something that works, please let me know. Take care :)

Iridescent - posted on 06/01/2010

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You're welcome. Sometimes it is so hard to know what to do with our children. Horse therapy sounds awesome! It's not available near us.

Stacy - posted on 06/01/2010

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Thank you so much for your reply. I will talk to his doctor and see if we can try an anti-depressant. I was planning on doing horse therapy too so hopefully that goes well. Thank you for the advice! :)

Iridescent - posted on 05/31/2010

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I'm sorry you're dealing with this. We had this problem with my oldest, severely. Now he likes his head shaved and his head looks like Morse code there are so terribly many scars. Thank God we live in a small area that all knows him. For us, the solution was finding the cause. He's autistic but he was terribly frustrated from being unable to express himself. To stop it quickly we started him on Remeron (antidepressant, also intended to help him sleep and increase appetite). We also had him in ST and when typical therapy didn't help we started a varied form of PECS. His mood improved drastically once he learned to communicate, and the behaviors decreased enough where we were comfortable weaning him off the Remeron. I hope you find a solution soon.

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