i have an 8 year old son with special needs he bites himself when he gets mad and the only way to stop him i have to hold his arms and legs i feel bad when i do it but i hate seeing him hurt himself

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Deanna - posted on 07/23/2012

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As a side note to Jennifers comment....when we were training our dog, they told us if she bites to push toward her rather than pull. If our arm is in her mouth and we push are arm toward her her bottom jaw opens more and some of the pressure is released. Sorry I"m not trying to compare your child to my dog, but just saying the theory makes sense. Good luck.

Deanna - posted on 07/23/2012

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I think you definately need to seek help from a doctor. If he is receiving services at school I'm sure they are trying to deal with this too. We have kids who have sensory boxes for things to do when they need to calm themselves....brush their own arm with a large makeup brush, squeeze a stress ball,etc. A professional should have these kinds of ideas to help you. Has he been labeled as far as his special needs? I have a cousin who is Autistic who used to bite herself unfortunately they live far away so I'm not sure how they handled it. I also have a friend who's son "flaps" a lot. They keep a loose hair tie type rubber band around his wrist and now he has learned to snap himself with it as stimulation rather than the flapping. Good luck. I can only imagine how frustrating it is.

Jennifer - posted on 07/22/2012

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I don't know where you are. Does he get services through school? A lot of times, at least here, school districts will have parenting classes with LOTS of great suggestions. You can also ask them for specific techniques. Sometimes, private companies offer classes and suggestions too.

I learned, in my training, when a client bites, to gently push their head into the bite. They cannot further injure you (or himself in this case) as easily.

You may also seek to help him develop alternative behaviors when he is mad to arrest the self-harming one. This is easier said than done, but re-directing to a more appropriate anger response may be the key. Again, seek the help from professionals that are right there and can observe his behaviors. They can offer solutions and support. This is a very hard situation to be in. You want to be able to help him and you are doing a good job.

I understand that holding him in this situation is stressful for you. I can't tell you the number of times I've had my own child in a hold. (She has spillover tantrums and sometimes can't get herself calmed down without the deep pressure.) You feel awful, but you know they are not harming themselves or others. Truly, ask for help at his school, even the pediatrician, children's hospital, or local private companies. Hang in there and good luck!

Marie - posted on 07/21/2012

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My mom used to put some kind of non toxic nasty tasting liquid on my brother's nails to stop him from biting them till he had none left, maybe if you you put some kind of non toxic soft soap or other liquid or cream on his arms that has a real nasty taste to it it'll be enough for him to think twice about biting himself, Apart from that, the only other thing I can think of is the infamous helmet or mask that would make it impossible for him to bite himself.

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