Hair pulling/grabbing

Beth - posted on 12/16/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )

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My 5 year old developmentally delayed daughter pulls other peoples hair and grabs at them. She does not talk, and I think this may be a way of communication (to get someones attention) as well as the excitement seems to take over and she needs to grab at someone. Advice such as 'pull her hair' is not what I am looking for.

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Laura - posted on 01/16/2010

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My 2 year old daughter pulls hair when she gets excited or when she tried to show her love. She also is developmentally delayed and doesn't talk much. So, I am also interested in what others have to say. She does know the sign for "hurt" and I have been working with her on that. She seems to understand and it is getting better.

Nikki - posted on 01/16/2010

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my first thought was to pull her hair just to let her know that it hurts but its never the answer! lol
how about getting a soft toy or blanket and encourage her to grab and pull at that when she gets excited. it may mean carrying it around all the time but it might make her behaviour more "socially acceptable". it will take time, obviously but it will be worth it in the end. i used to work with severe autistic children and one girl had SIB and would also punch, kick, bite and pull at people when angry, excited whatever. we got her to pull at a rag doll about 12 inches big. it took time, and she was one of the "easier" ones to communicate with but it worked eventually.
good luck hun
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Heather - posted on 01/16/2010

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My daughter does this too. When she is upset she pinches as well. We do tell her no and she does stop. She is very limited in her speech, so this is her way of communicating. What they started doing at school is putting her in time out. I would have never thought of that! Of course, they dont do it in minutes as in her age. They do it for maybe 2 minutes. We have also started doing this at home and it seems to be working! My daughter is 9, but, maybe at a 2 yr old level if that. Try that and hopefully it works.

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Tabitha - posted on 04/02/2012

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I have a son that is 3yrs old when he gets mad he pulls his sisters hair his own and slaps his head with is hand and bangs his head of the floor and i dont know what to do cuz now he pulls so hard on his 4yr old sister hair and pulls it out i have told him no have sat him in time out i think it is cuz he cant say what he wants he says up to five words but he dose have alot going on with him to if anyone can help with idas i am all for it thanks

Johanna - posted on 01/25/2010

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I have a 5 year old with Down's Syndrome. She has just recently stopped the hair pulling. It took alot of patience with her. One trick that really helped was every time she would pull some ones hair we would encourage a sad face from that person (if they didn't have one already) and if they allowed us we would take Emiley's hands and gently stroke that persons hair and tell them it is ok and that she is sorry. When she saw the smiles created by her nice touching she started doing it on her own. Really encourage the "nice touching". And your right about not pulling her hair in return. All that does is encourage her to do that when she is upset with someone and you don't want her doing it at all and especially out of anger or frustration. Just try to be patient with her Beth. Encourage her family and school to enforce the new lesson and it will help. Good luck

Gina - posted on 01/22/2010

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My son had the same problems when he was younger. It took a lot of time and holding my temper but after talking with a child life specialist, we found that if we showed him other ways to get attention like tapping someones leg and ignored the bad behavior until the good one was used he stopped grabbing and pinching. you don't have to yell or anything negative. Just reinforce the behavior after showing her how it works and ignore the negative behavior. It is harder when she will do this to friends and company, but just pick her up and tell her no we don't grab (without yelling). It will take time but it worked for us and now he is 11 and talks for himself! We made it through the pinching, you can make it through the hair pulling. Good luck.

Lorena - posted on 01/19/2010

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My son went through a bad hair pull stage that I had to cut my hair short, he got very excited and since he does not talk I think he tried to communicate with us by pulling hair and scratching. I let this stage go through for about a year, patience I have, maybe but now he likes to hit/punch. Signing no and telling him no and to calm down by grabbing his hands and putting them down next to him has worked for me. He has gone through so many stages: bitting the rug, pulling hair, licking windows, screaming when he heard children crying, bitting people, spitting his juice from his mouth, and now his hitting our face. I love my child and thats just another challenge for us, just have patience and keep up with any discipline that might work for you even if it means trying to find one that suits you.

Amber - posted on 01/18/2010

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My son does the same thing we cant seem to get him to stop either and he does it only to me when we go places he pulls so har dhe pulls my hair out and nothing has worked his doc didnt know what do do either so if u find anything that helps please let me now

Vicki - posted on 01/15/2010

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I worked with a little girl who did this constantly in nursery and we encouraged other children/people to reach out and greet her instead...shake hands. If she still did it I agree with other posters, we firmly said no and very briefly removed her from the situation. Hope that helps. I know it is a very difficult time but for this little girl it was just a phase and introducing picture exchange helped her tremendously.

Brenda - posted on 12/28/2009

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If she doesn't talk, do you use sign? This is where I might start, she needs to communicate. My daughter has Downs, and she was signing around 1 yr. She was non-verbal until 31/2 so we did a lot of signing. She also pulled hair, glasses, and bit. I know pulling their hair back does not work! We tried everything. Until we finally realized it was useless to find a "cure" and just said "no" every time and put her down if she were being held. Eventually she got it.

Emily - posted on 12/18/2009

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hi, im sorry i wish i could help to but my daughter also has some behavior issues she hits bites and head bangs. we have tried everything we can think of but nothing has worked yet!! so if either of you come up with something please share!! lol

LeeAnn - posted on 12/16/2009

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I wish I could help! My 3 year old Autistic daughter does this too...along with hitting herself and others. I have tried to discipline her, ignore her, tell her it hurts, make a big fuss, none of that seems to work. I have heard that making picture cards help, so I plan to try that asap. I have also heard that making a picture story helps ( you write a story telling them what and why you want/don't want them to do something, and have pictures to support your story). I don't know what "level" your daughter is on, but I am not sure these methods will work with my daughter, but at this point, I have to try!

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