Tag Archives: frustration

Biting? Hitting? Pinching? Aggression!

27 Jan

Physical aggression, such as hitting, biting, pinching, and hair pulling, can be common at an age when functional communication is limited. 

These aggressive behaviors can also be exhibited by individuals carrying a diagnosis indicative of impaired functional communication skills such as autism

But let’s start with the basics:

Such behaviors may serve a number of different functions for the child such as:

  • defending possessions 
  • avoiding an undesired activity 
  • expressing frustration (especially when they cannot express themselves with words)
  • getting attention. 

It is important not to allow the aggressive behaviors to work

  • Your child bites you because they don’t want to take a bath. Will you let him/her watch TV instead? 

NO! 

Do not allow them to bite and run! Biting will not prevent bath time! Give him/her the bath!! 

TIP:

Try to figure out situations that may trigger aggressive behaviors.  Prevent or make changes in the environment, routine or activity that seems to produce aggressive behaviors.

He needs a bath, no more cartoons!

He needs a bath, no more cartoons!

ie. If you’re in the grocery store, and your child tantrums because you say no to a bag of M&Ms. Do NOT give them the M&Ms. Avoid the candy aisle, avoid the cash registers with candy, and if that doesn’t work, don’t take them to the grocery store!

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Excited? Nervous? Need To Bite Yourself?

3 Mar

Helping the Self Biting Child

Often young children and children with special needs engage in such behaviors.

I have a student who engages in biting himself on the wrist.

False Teeth

Need to bite?

There are a variety of reasons why he engages in this alarming self-injurious behavior.

When attempting to change a behavior it is important to understand what the function or purpose the behavior serves for the child.

To do this: a functional behavior assessment would  help determine the function of the behavior or the purpose the behavior is serving for the child.

This student engaged in this biting behavior for a number of reasons:

– Excitement

– Frustration with instructional demands

– A request denial

– Reinforced by the sensation

For this child, the behavior appears to be rooted in seeking sensory input at the site of the biting.

Now the challenge is to replace the self-biting with a more appropriate alternative behavior.

Here are a few ideas that were effective with this student:

  1. A beaded bracelet was worn and squeezed instead of biting.
  2. Wear sweat bands with rough velcro sewn on the inside.

These items served the same function as the biting.

This solution was more socially appropriate and less harmful than biting.

For another child, the function may be more orally rooted and the replacement behavior would be very different.