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My daughter who has autism is sucking her arm...is this a common trait of autism?

I kept noticing these marks on my daughter, not bruises or bite marks, they literally looked like sucker bites or hickies (sp).
After closely watching her behavior and speaking with her school and therapist we have discovered that she is actually sucking on her arm when she gets nervous or upset.
I was wondering, has anyone else seen this type of behavior in special needs children?
Does anyone have any ideas on how I can stop or redirect this behavior into a more positive way of stress relief for her?
She is 7 by the way.

 
AnonNdrag

Asked by AnonNdrag at 10:20 AM on May. 16, 2013 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 19 (7,783 Credits)
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Answers (7)
  • It sounds like she has an oral fixation. I worked with a little boy a few years ago who did something similar when he was upset and I started giving him a bite stick & just let him stim for a few minutes before getting back to whatever we were working on. http://www.nationalautismresources.com/cool-chews-stems.html

    ABeaverhausen

    Answer by ABeaverhausen at 10:24 AM on May. 16, 2013

  • My 9 yr old does that sometimes, and he's not autistic. I think some kids just do stuff like that. They find something calms them (sucking an arm, sucking a thumb, chewing fingernails, etc.) and just keep doing it.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 10:24 AM on May. 16, 2013

  • Mouthing/biting anything is common in kids with autism. You don't mention how old she is? My oldest has autism and lots of his classmates used to have chewy tubes. Many have graduated now to sugar free chewing gum. One of his classmates used to bite her arms, her mom got tennis wrist bands and put them on her arm every day and night for months, she had them in every color to match her outfits. Eventually she stopped and they were able to discontinue using them.
    An OT would probably be able to provide other ideas. Good luck!
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 10:25 AM on May. 16, 2013

  • Sorry - I guess being in the 5-8 category is close enough, I just wasn't paying attention! My son is 15 so he's in a highschool class now and the chewy tubes have phased out as gum was phased in, but at 8 I wouldn't recommend gum either!
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 10:38 AM on May. 16, 2013

  • I have seen kids with special needs do similar things. You can't really take away a coping mechisim without something replacing it. I like chewelry as an alternative. It is safe, non toxic, wearable and chewable jewelry. They make them in so many colors and designs. The chewable jewelry is socially appropriate.
    frogdawg

    Answer by frogdawg at 9:05 PM on May. 16, 2013

  • Hi, oral issues are very common in special needs children. Try giving her something to chew...we have things called chewy T's that our son's OT provided. You can give your child chewing gum or dried out gummy bears. We found that the oral issues with our son came and went. So, hopefully if you let her chew something besides her arm, the issue will lesson over the next few months. But, oral issues are very common and can lead to behaviors if you don't help them to chew on something. They need it.
    taylor6636

    Answer by taylor6636 at 10:05 AM on May. 17, 2013

  • She is 7, I believe I did put that in my post but may have forgotten too and thought I did. Thank you ladies for the advice and I will check out that link. She does get OT at school so maybe we can get her a chewy. I don't know about gum though because she swallows it.
    AnonNdrag

    Comment by AnonNdrag (original poster) at 10:27 AM on May. 16, 2013

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