Hitting or smacking yourself in the head?



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angelbear
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Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:37 pm

Hi all-

I am the parent of a 6 yr old boy diagnosed as PDD-NOS when he was 2.5 yrs old. I think he is moving more towards HFA or Aspergers, but either way, he is definitely on the spectrum.

He has recently, in the last 3 months, started hitting himself in the head. He sometimes does it when he is mad at himself, but sometimes it just seems that he is enjoying the sensation of it. I have tried redirecting him or asking him to stop. It doesn't seem like he is hurting himself, but it is very disturbing to watch. He does seem to control it when he is in public. However, he is doing it a lot at home.

Just wanted to see if any of you did this as a child, and should I be concerned? Should I just let him do this, or try to work on this behavior with him?

Thanks for any input that you have!



Megz
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Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:26 pm

I do this sometimes, mostly when I'm really upset/having a meltdown. If he isn't actually causing any injury and there's not a problem with him doing it at school or anything, I would just leave it alone. I have heard that some people end up injuring themselves without really noticing, so if he starts hitting hard enough to cause harm I would suggest trying to redirect or figure out what's upsetting him.



Jory
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Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:37 pm

As a child? I still do it.



chrissyrun
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Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:46 pm

That could kinda be like a facepalm. :shrug:


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sagan
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Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:50 pm

Yep, I do this as well. Especially when I am angry / stressed. But it is quite harmless, does not even hurt.


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Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:06 pm

I tap myself in the head once with my palm when I have an absent minded moment and than I laugh about the moment.


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Artros
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Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:23 am

I sometimes do the facepalm when I feel stupid, or I pinch and slap myself if I feel like I'm not paying attention. I've heard it gets the adrenalin going, though I'm not sure.


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Phonic
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Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:35 am

I smack and slap myself on the head fairly often, i enjoy the sensation, I also allow my head to bang off the window of the bus when it's going over bumps.

He's not really old enough to hurt himself doing this.


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Joe90
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Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:58 am

I hit or smack myself in the head and the face when I'm feeling angry with myself, because it's my way of punishing myself for doing something weird. When I'm angry with myself, I make myself believe that hitting my head might scramble my brain into an NT brain. I really know that this isn't possible, but when I'm angry, I think differently.

I only harm objects and people if they are the ones who caused me to be angry. So for example, if the internet wasn't working for no reason, I will bite the dongle and throw it. Or if my brother delibrately annoys me and makes my mood worse, I would hit him and push him. But I wouldn't pass my anger out onto humans and objects what haven't made me angry. Instead, I hit myself. I suppose that's all fair enough.

I've heard of people hitting themselves in the head when they have a nervous breakdown.


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angelbear
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Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:00 pm

Thanks for all of your replies. I have noticed that my son does it when I correct or reprimand him (even if it is something minor) We were having a problem with him hitting me for awhile, so maybe he has transferred it to himself? Anyway, thanks for taking the time to respond. I will just keep my eye on him to make sure he isn't hurting himself.



Artros
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Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:21 pm

I think you are correct in your approach. As long as he does not hurt himself, this is not a really big problem, and it can feel good to punish yourself for something you've done wrong. If you want to stop it now, you could also tell him that he doesn't need to punish himself...or you could punish him yourself. ;)


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Oren
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Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:26 pm

I have autism. I did this as a child and also pounded my head backwards into the wall.

I had lots of behavior modification therapy and don't do it as an adult.

Boxer's brain can result if it is violent enough.


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Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:49 pm

Image


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angelbear
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Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:42 pm

Well, I have tried taking things away from him if he hits his head too much, but that doesn't seem to work. Also, I wasn't sure if punishing him was the right approach---I do think he has control over it, but sometimes it does seem like he is doing it as a stim. When he is engaged in something, he doesn't seem to do it. He also does a lot of hand flapping and verbal stimming. However, he is starting to talk more normally and is learning to read. He seems very intelligent, but when he does some of these behaviors, I hate to say it, but he does appear to be mentally challenged. I know that he is not, but if someone else walked in the room, they would think that he was. Sorry, I do not mean to offend anyone with that statement.



Artros
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Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:50 pm

angelbear wrote:
Well, I have tried taking things away from him if he hits his head too much, but that doesn't seem to work. Also, I wasn't sure if punishing him was the right approach---I do think he has control over it, but sometimes it does seem like he is doing it as a stim. When he is engaged in something, he doesn't seem to do it. He also does a lot of hand flapping and verbal stimming. However, he is starting to talk more normally and is learning to read. He seems very intelligent, but when he does some of these behaviors, I hate to say it, but he does appear to be mentally challenged. I know that he is not, but if someone else walked in the room, they would think that he was. Sorry, I do not mean to offend anyone with that statement.


I'm sorry, that was a poor attempt at a joke. I think telling him he doesn't need to punish himself is all you need to do as far as that goes. In fact, taking something away from him may even lead him to punishing himself even more (because it is clearly a punishment from your side). If you take away the outlet, he might find something else or, worse, bottle it up.

Also, that's not offensive. From an outsider's point of view, it certainly must come off like that. What's important is that you know that he's smart and that he knows it.

I want to add a disclaimer, too: this is not rocket science. People with ASDs are wildly different. What works for one may not work for the other.


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