TIP of the WEEK: Self-Injurious Behaviors

Self-injurious behaviors provide a lot of sensory input but for health, social and long term mental health reasons it is dangerous and paradoxical. Head banging, slapping, biting and hair pulling typically occur in response to a sensory processing difficulty. Replacing the maladaptive behaviors with adaptive and positive coping skills will create positive input. If done often and long term the self-injurious behaviors will be less necessary and less effective in relation to sensory input. Sensory tools used daily will reduce symptoms of distress and will provide optimal health, adaptability and well-being.
Examples of sensory tools that can be used daily:

  • Weighted blankets with or without heat. Please be aware of low muscle tone and temperature dis regulation when using this tool. Consult your child’s doctor to determine the correct weight and degree of heat to use.
  • Massage
  • Joint compression ( squeezing a ball, lifting weighted objects, pushing hands and feet against solid objects, weight lifting- again, consult your doctor or PT/OT)
  • Swinging
  • Walking barefoot in grass or sand
  • Head rolls
  • Rolling down an incline
  • Soothing sounds or scents

Using tools such as these could improve your child’s overall quality of life if it decreases self-injurious behaviors. Not only does it replace socially unacceptable behaviors but it improves overall self-esteem. Don’t hesitate to contact is if you have a specific problem that you are struggling with.

Happy New Year!

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