Monday, August 25, 2014

A new term for me with Will.

Will came home from his adult day program with a note on his iPad about a 'not-so-good-day' that he had -- apparently he was frustrated a lot and they saw a few incidents of 'Self Injurious Behavior' or 'SIB'. Now knowing Will is not violent or has ever exhibited any issues of what I thought was SIB, like head banging or biting, I got worried. Yes sometimes he balls his hand into a fist and will hit his headphones or chin lightly, or will dance and jump around and slap his thigh, I never realized this was SIB. Granted it was not a behavior I liked or endorsed and we were trying to stop it.

So I decided to take a look into it and read about it. I have not found anything yet that specifically targets adults, just children but I guess most of what they write can be used for adults with autism. An ezine article, 'Treating Autism Symptoms in Your Child', by Craig Kendall tells of several reasons why your child might do this. One is that they might be overwhelmed or overstimulated and need to focus on something internal or external and pain does that. Second is that the child might need more tactile feedback. Third, if the child hits ears, it may be a sign of an ear infection. Lastly Craig states that it may be related to a specific type of seizure so contact your physician.


He also states that when a child is non-verbal, there is a frustration of not being able to communicate. So besides the obvious of finding a communication method, we should also work on teaching the child ways to lessen the frustration like through diet, relaxation techniques, exercise, or deep pressure. We try to get Will to type out what he feels though this is hard for him to do. Of course, you can keep a record of what is happening that triggers this SIB that will help to stop it before it happens. In Will's case, he does it when he is happy or sad, when he listens to his music or on the computer or just sitting quiet. Of course, seek medical help if you are not sure what to do or talk to your child's teachers or therapists.


Another article by Gary Heffner, "Introduction to Self Injurious Behavior" from Autism Help, states:
'It would make sense that the seriousness of the self-injury should direct the choice of treatment. A child's whose life is in danger should receive the most aggressive treatment. The choice of treatment needs to be up to the parent, of course. In some countries or states, there may be laws that limit the type of treatment a child may receive, however. These laws may require treating self-injurious behavior with positive behavioral programs and outlaw the use of aversives, even when the self-injury is life-threatening. Read how one parent described this approach:
"Currently, there are 100's of autistic people being tortured by ineffective, tedious and ridiculous "positive behavioral programs" - Worse, even when these autistic people have repeatedly failed to respond to these conventional methods, several state laws have prohibited the use of mild aversive therapy, which - ironically is one of the most safe, effective and humane therapies used to protect a compulsive self-injurious autistic person-who has otherwise NOT responded to a plethora of conventional interventions. It's a crime to allow a person to continue injuring themselves...and the worst is the on-going practice of behavioral psychologists taking data - yes data - counting the number of times the autistic person smashes their skull with their fists, or rips their hair out... it's called a "functional analysis" - and this practice should be illegal.
I never want any family or child to suffer the unbelievable hell we experienced dealing with uncontrollable self-injurious behavior. Families should know what the alternatives are to help their child. Skin-stimulus therapy is very effective in that small population of self-injurious children, who have otherwise NOT responded to other therapies. Many people do not realize that it's extremely complex to treat a profoundly-autistic or profoundly-disabled person's self-injurious behaviors - as they have limited cognitive abilities; hence don't respond favorably to ignoring, re-direction or pharmaceutical interventions. The skin-shock works best for compulsive self-abuse, as it acts like a nudge on a record player that keeps playing. It's like it "startles' the otherwise very distant autistic child into reality. It actually teaches them self-control. Some of these types of autistic children are on a very primitive level - and it's hard for others to accept that they simply don't respond to conventional therapies." (An anonymous parent). Try the non-aversive procedures first, but for those children whose seriously self-injurious behavior has not responded to these procedures, it may pay to look at aversive strategies as well.'

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Ranting

You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.

A Caregiver's Poem

I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!

Grandma’s Pearls of Wisdom:
(picture from Caregivers Blog)

I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.

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