Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Photo Wednesday: Chomp.

What you are about to see looks like documentation of abuse.

But we didn't do this to her. I promise. She's doing this to herself. With her teeth.

Self-inflicted bite bruises on Joy's arm and leg

Joy's such a sensory kid, plus she's got a ridiculously high tolerance for pain, plus she's recently stopped grinding her teeth when she stims, plus she has a lot of therapists filling up her days for the past couple of weeks. I think there's something in these aspects put together, with some click of some internal switch, that has resulted in Joy chomping on herself. She does this particularly when she is angry or frustrated, as in "Come on Joy, let's go change your diaper." I try to take her hand, she doesn't want to go, and all of a sudden she's dangling from my hand by one arm and her knee is up in her mouth and she's biting down hard. It's clearly enough to make her feel pain at the time, as she lets out a loud wail when the bite stops.

We've been trying to offer alternate chewing stimulation with therapy chewies and good chewy food. It would be great if she'd re-direct the bite into a chewy-toy instead, but she strikes like a snake and there just isn't time to insert a chewy in between her teeth and her arm.

Jeans and long-sleeve shirts would blunt things somewhat, but we've been topping out past 80 degrees with a lovely bit of late summer weather.

She's done some biting of adults too, but usually we can get out of the way. When the biter and the target are the same person, though, and she doesn't want to get out of the way, you get the results that you see in the photo.

Joy's occupational therapist is making inquiries as to whether the Wilbarger "brushing" protocol might be applicable for this situation. We used the brushing/joint-compressions back when Joy was not quite two years old, and aren't sure it was a lot of help back then. We need something to try now, though. Maybe brushing is it.

Meanwhile, if anyone else has dealt successfully with this kind of thing... let us know! We could use some positive thoughts / vibes / prayers on this, too.


Niksmom said...

Ouch! I don't have anything to offer except good thoughts and wishes that she finds an alternative soon!

Bobbi said...

((hugs)) Poor girl. I hope you find something that works to get her to stop biting herself. I'm sure you've tried everything. Here's hoping it stops soon.

Mama Mara said...

Somehow missed this post yesterday. Owie! There has to be some resource out there for this, right? I'm going to see if any of my favorite autism books (see my post tomorrow) have any ideas.

In the meantime, I'll be thinking of you and hoping the weather cools down soon so you can pad our dear Joy.

datri said...

We did the brushing with both of my kids. It's funny our EI OT was really into the sensory integration stuff, but our preschool OT thinks it's all "woo" since she doesn't think there's enough science behind it. It's worth a try at any rate. Kayla's biting phase was very short, she just decided not to do it anymore.

Casdok said...

C went thought this. But for the life of me i cant remember how/why he stopped as it was a good few years ago!
If i remember ill come back.

Anonymous said...

Wow... that looks familiar. rhema does the same thing - but it kind of comes and goes in phases. the 10 chewy tubes i ordered are useless as she's not the least bit interesting in chomping on something that's o.k. to chew on. sometimes i have time to grab a towel or wash cloth and she'll bear down on that. but mainly i try to avoid the triggers that will make her angry and frustrated enough to start biting herself (or others). i'll pray for you on this b/c i truly know how upsetting and disheartening it can be.