Q&A session 7
Q: My son's name
is Kevin, he is 5 years old, his diagnosis is "An unbalanced
translocation between chromosomes 2 & 22". He has
many repetitious behaviors, some avoidance behaviors,
no speech (although is working with some success on
augmentative devices), and can be self-abusive when
I have been working with my son one on one since August,
following the Son-Rise principles and attitudes as much
as possible. I've tried working with him in an enclosed
"playroom" with limited distractions, and also out of
an enclosed room (i.e. throughout the house). When we
play he frequently gets very excited (good!!), which
can lead to his slapping his face, or butting his forehead
(hard) on tables, or doors, or our heads! What have
you found is an effective way of dealing with kids who
hit themselves, either in excitement or anger?
A: Eileen, it's great
that you've been working with him!
Numerous parents sent in questions about this subject
this time around. Here are some thoughts on it:
In most cases, when kids hit themselves, it's their
excitement (lots of energy and no way to get rid of
it) or their wanting to provoke a reaction in the people
The first thing to try is to offer him other ways of
releasing his energy, like squeezing his body or offering
to run laps around the playroom with him. If you get
a sense that he's building up to one of these 'hitting'
periods, give him the squeezes before the period, if
possible. If not, you can offer them as soon as he starts
to hit himself. Also, squeeze him directly on the place
that he's hitting (if he's hitting his head against
the floor, offer to squeeze his head.)
If this seems to have no impact, then the next thing
to do is ask yourself: 'How am I feeling about this?'
Most people feel uncomfortable in these situations,
and the child picks up on that feeling and it is a motivator
for the child to keep doing the behavior. Don't worry
if you have been feeling bad, you can always turn this
around. When you feel and act calm (not reacting in
an entertaining way), you're child will not be getting
the same reaction from you, and very well may diminish
the behavior. We see this happen all the time. The book,
"Happiness Is A Choice ", is a tremendous resource
for helping people feel more comfortable.
Other factors to look into:
- Your child's diet
- Is this the way your child gets what he wants? Many
children get treats and things once they bang their
head or hit themselves, so they learn to do this when
they want things. If this is the case, you've got
to make it an ineffective method by no longer giving
him what he wants when he does this. I believe that
I have written about this in previous Q and A's (see
archive), so I won't go into any further detail on
so many questions this time… thank you for sending them
For those of you who didn't get you're questions answered
(or those who have questions now), you can post your
question on the Son-Rise Message Board and the entire
Son-Rise internet community can help you out!
I hope everyone has a great winter! Enjoy your children.
Intro to Q&A Session
the BBC Documentary "I Want My Little Boy Back"
Developing Spoken Language
Delays and Vision Problems