Daughter Biting Herself

Discussion in 'General Health & Wellness' started by kittygirl1972, May 14, 2009.

  1. kittygirl1972

    kittygirl1972 New Member

    My daughter is on the spectrum and turning three in July. Beginning this past February after a bout with a horrible stomach virus, she turned to biting her hands and arms....hard....so much so that she bites the skin.

    My husband and I have tried everything from chewy tubes to telling her no to even trying to ignore the behavior. Nothing has been working and our priority has been to protect herself from further harming herself so she wears protective wrist guards. She doesn't bite anyone else...only herself. She bites when frustrated, but also if we are just changing her gloves/guards, she goes to bite. Did anyone have any experience with this and if so, if you have any strategies to share, I'd greatly appreciate.

    I've spoken to numerous doctors, therapists, etc. and they claim because she is nonverbal now, she is frustrated and this is what she is doing and will outgrow, etc. I am just desparate for any help or advice - this behavior is so unnerving...

    Thanks in advance.
  2. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    I hope that you will continue searching out different doctors to help you. I do not feel satisfied with what you have been told nor feel the problem has been resolved. If she is biting, it could be also due to pain. Have you seen a neurologist to see if there is anything such as nerve pain that she might be experiencing and can't tell you or is she perhaps still having stomach trouble even this long after the virus. Also, she is non-verbal and shouldn't she already be into some speech?

    I'm afraid that none of these doctors can figure it out and thus are giving you B.S. answers. How about writing into The Doctors TV show and Dr. Phil to see if perhaps they might take on her case. I seriously believe she needs more help than what the doctors so far have been able to give. Good luck.
  3. Pippi1313

    Pippi1313 New Member

    Don't let the docs & "professionals" brush you off or disregard this as a "phase". It could be any number of things. Don't let them get away with being too lazy to look for the cause, or to be uncaring about your childs' suffering.

    Has she been checked out by a neurologist?

    Just a thought...

  4. frickly

    frickly New Member

    The fact that this started after a stomach virus would concern me as well. I would definitly get some second opinions and rule out any gastrointenstinal issues that could have resulted from her illness. It does sound like she is in pain and you should always trust your instincts. Do you have her in speech therapy? My son did not talk until three and then it was impossible to understand him for many years. I also had books with pictures of foods, toys and even family members. This may help to releive her frustration if this is the problem. Take a deep breath and don't give up until you are satisfied with the answers you receive.

    I just wanted to add that my three year old daughter received a flu mist and immediatly after got mono, fifths disease and developed an intolerance to dairy. She was a good eater before this but then started to avoid food as it always made her stomach hurt. Luckily, she was able to tell me that her stomach hurt and we were able to change her diet. I had to take my daughter to the doctor twice and then insist on blood tests before we were taken seriously. She was finally diagnosed with mono. Don't give up. You know your daughter better than anyone.
  5. SnooZQ

    SnooZQ New Member

    With spectrum kids, biting can occur because of frustration and/or a need for self-stimulation. Exactly why such likely painful self-stim occurs with kids on the spectrum is a question currently answered by only by theories. Example: pain tends to increase brain endorphins, which help us "feel better." Pain also can help keep us alert & in touch with our environment, to some extent. On the other hand, pain can be used as a focus to "block" interaction with the environment -- some of our kiddos are incredibly sensitive & easily overwhelmed by certain sights, sounds, odors, textures.

    If your daughter has exhibited basic motor imitation skills, simple signing may help reduce some of her frustration. If your daughter is able to imitate clapping, pointing, patting etc, you as parent may be able to teach her some sign language. There are books, flashcards, videos, etc. available to help you.

    In particular, I recommend the DVD set, Teaching Verbal Behavior in the Natural Environment: Teaching Manding (Requesting) Using Sign Language. This is an expensive instructive video, however it is valuable as it is geared specifically toward parents of nonverbal children on the spectrum. Perhaps it is available through your local school district or Educational Service District (ESD). Or perhaps public library ILL (inter-library loan) can obtain it for you at low cost.

    On the other hand, if your daughter doesn't seem to be able to copy simple motor actions, teaching sign may be a frustration for both of you until attention & imitative skills develop. There are specialist therapists who can often be of assistance in facilitating development of attention & imitation. Don't be put off by the naysayers.

    Some kids do better with another form of facilitated communication -- a sign board or a computer program. A speech therapist who specializes in autism should be able to help.

    If going through MDs hasn't yielded constructive assistance, consult your local school district. Here in the USA, many states offer preschool programs & therapy for special needs kids. Consult Easter Seals -- they have been getting into spectrum issues recently, not just physical needs as in past times.

    Your comment about the timing of the biting, after a stomach virus, does ring a bell. Many kids on the spectrum, my son included, are prone to gut issues. We've found some of the biomedical approaches to be very helpful. Healing the gut can sometimes work wonders for behavioral issues. If desired, biomed treatment can run side by side with behavioral and/or speech therapies.

    If you are inclined to investigate biomed approaches (not all parents are), there are a number of routes you could go. You might network with a local autism support group & find out if there is a DAN doctor nearby, what his/her track record is. Or you might start soft, reading Jenny McCarthy's popular book. If you'd like to dig deeper, I highly recommend the book, Autism: Effective Biomedical Treatments by Jon Pangborn, PhD and Sidney Baker, MD.

    Hang in there -- and best wishes to you & your family.

    [This Message was Edited on 07/18/2009]
  6. Granniluvsu

    Granniluvsu Well-Known Member

    This is such a trcky subject and all the people here were so right on with their answers. My grandson, now age 5, was finally diagnosed with mild to moderate autism when he was about 3 or a little younger. I don;t think he bit or hurt himself but he did alot of screaming and other unsocial behaviors. He didn;t talk till he was about 4 or so and now is a chatterbox. My daughter, thank goodness had already learned some sign language in college and it really helped the situation when he could not speak. I know sometimes they glet extrememely frustrated and then do unwanted behaviors, not necessarily biting or hurting themselves.

    My grown up daughter was also a very late talker and before she could talk she would just scream and scream if something did not go her way.. I figured at that time that it was a frustration thing and not being able to actually tall about her problems and or frustrations.

    Yes, I would check out as many things here as you can. Make sure there is no problem with her stomach, etc. She might possibly be in pain.. Maybe some more tests will tell. the tale. It is good to do the process of elimination thing . It does not mean also that she is autistic but that is one possibility. BTW, my grandson is now talking a blue streak after speech therapy and won't shut up and has also stopped alot of his antisocial behavior :) !! So BE PATIENT and take one thing at a time and it might turn out to be something simple that speech therapy and or signing will help with. You just don't want her to hurt herself and you want to find out the root of the problem.

    God bless you and your daughter !!

    Hugs,

    Granni
  7. Granniluvsu

    Granniluvsu Well-Known Member

    This is such a trcky subject and all the people here were so right on with their answers. My grandson, now age 5, was finally diagnosed with mild to moderate autism when he was about 3 or a little younger. I don;t think he bit or hurt himself but he did alot of screaming and other unsocial behaviors. He didn;t talk till he was about 4 or so and now is a chatterbox. My daughter, thank goodness had already learned some sign language in college and it really helped the situation when he could not speak. I know sometimes they glet extrememely frustrated and then do unwanted behaviors, not necessarily biting or hurting themselves.

    My grown up daughter was also a very late talker and before she could talk she would just scream and scream if something did not go her way.. I figured at that time that it was a frustration thing and not being able to actually tall about her problems and or frustrations.

    Yes, I would check out as many things here as you can. Make sure there is no problem with her stomach, etc. She might possibly be in pain.. Maybe some more tests will tell. the tale. It is good to do the process of elimination thing . It does not mean also that she is autistic but that is one possibility. BTW, my grandson is now talking a blue streak after speech therapy and won't shut up and has also stopped alot of his antisocial behavior :) !! So BE PATIENT and take one thing at a time and it might turn out to be something simple that speech therapy and or signing will help with. You just don't want her to hurt herself and you want to find out the root of the problem.

    God bless you and your daughter !!

    Hugs,

    Granni
  8. simpson6074

    simpson6074 New Member

    Hi Kittygirl,
    I'm so sorry your daughter has developed this behavior. When she got the stomach virus she probably dealt with the pain by biting her hands and arms and the habit stuck. And if the biting helped sooth her pain during her stomach virus, then when she is frustrated or upset about something else she reverts back to the biting because it has helped her before. This just may be a way that she has learned to cope with stressful situations and frustration. You could try slowly moving in a more appropriate coping mechanism like a game, throwing a ball back and forth, etc., but if you make her stop the biting all at once that might shock and upset her. Gradually move her away from it. Good luck.