Tag Archives: harm

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.