Face-slapping, scratching, hair-pulling, and head-banging are only a few examples of the many self-injurious behaviors (SIB) that are common among individuals with autism. These behaviors are linked to discomfort, overstimulation, anxiety, etc.
Self-injurious behaviors often cause parents and caregivers to worry, and rightfully so. Watching someone you care about hurt themselves can make anyone feel powerless. Apex Human Services, LLC is here to give a few strategies on how you can help:
- Change your strategy.
People with autism thrive off of routine. Changing your strategy to something that revolves around routines can minimize SIB.
- Give them the wheel.
People with Developmental Disabilities like autism would love it if they had some control over their lives. In fact, many studies have shown that control over one’s life reduces the likelihood of self-injury.
- Be mindful of their surroundings.
People with autism can easily get overwhelmed by their surroundings. Sensory overload often leads to meltdowns and SIBs. Our Behavioral Health Services in Pennsylvania always recommends that families should make sure their loved one’s space is as peaceful and relaxing as possible.
- Avoid reinforcing SIB.
Some individuals with autism may feel unheard. This makes them think that SIBs are the only ways they can get their loved one’s attention. Don’t yell, push, or immediately ignore SIB from your loved one. Instead, do your best to listen to them when they attempt to communicate.