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Living with Autism


July 30, 2013

Troubleshooting Self-Injurious Behavior in Autism

Award Winning Non-Fiction Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog DirectoryImagine if you couldn't talk. Years passed. Couldn't tell anyone about your bouts of acid stomach or severe belly cramps. Time ticked on. Doctors didn't know you had recurrent shooting pain above your ear. Sudden throbbing headaches. Or in one case, "a child's decades-long severe (self-injurious behavior) SIB was found to be caused by a chronic painful mastoid infection." Source: Autism Research Institute, Vol. 19, No.1, 2005

Treating self-injurious behavior in non-verbal autistic persons doesn't have to a decades long nightmare.  Look for obvious signs. Know the person's baseline. Learn how they use SIB to communicate. IF an autistic person is self-abusing ALL day, something is very wrong. Don't blame it on the autism. It's NOT normal for autistic people to want to hurt themselves all day long, unless they are being tormented by acute, chronic or intermittent pain. 

Or something else is tormenting them, such as drug induced restless legs. Or undetected high blood pressure. You really do have to be a Sherlock Holmes when it comes to treating non-verbal autistic persons. There is simply no other way about it. 

It can't be overlooked that what is easily or moderately tolerated for us, is torture for some autistic people. Restless legs may be akin to your legs on fire. High blood pressure may feel like having a jack hammer in your body. A stuffy nose feels like you're suffocating. 

Because standard medical treatment carries many adverse side effects, try natural treatments. At least if that fails, you know you first tried something less invasive. 

Some alternative treatments for troubleshooting SIB:

1. Stomach Pain: Herbal teas with honey. (Don't use Peppermint Tea if person has acid reflux)

2. Headaches: Peppermint Oil on scalp and temples. Apply layer of Vaseline below temples to avoid Peppermint oil going into eyes. 

3. Restless Legs: Give a Magnesium drink. Massage legs. Check iron levels. Increase exercise and hydration. 

4. High Blood Pressure: See a doctor. Not something you want to ignore. However, garlic supplements can lower blood pressure. So can exercise. 

5. Insomnia: Melatonin. Calcium-magnesium. Gaba. Glycine.

6. Spots of Pain: Capsaicin cream applied VERY carefully. And in small dots. Read the directions. But no doubt, this is the quickest most effective topical pain relieving cream on the market.  It works. I've dotted in on my autistic son's neck when I suspected he slept too long in an uncomfortable position. It seemed to help. Don't apply before bathing. Or swimming. Water seems to super activate the capsaicin. It can cause burning sensation. 

7. Hypersensitive hearing: Give magnesium drinks. Apply ear plugs. Music therapy. 

8. Anxiety:  Liquid B-vitamins. Emergen-C packets. Epsom salt baths.

Sometimes the SIB may be so bad, you can't try any of the above. You have to take them to the doctor. Do tests. Rule out things. Guess. The point is you can't give up. Can't just dismiss everything and blame it on the autism. Be the Sherlock Holmes you need to be to make their lives happier and healthier. 



Roger Kulp said...

I have cerebral folate deficiency syndrome.I may be the only person in the world diagnosed with this as an adult.Ever since I was a very small child,I had episodes of both head banging,and blackouts that led to wandering.The head banging could last almost an hour,the wandering two,three hours or more.Day or night.During all these episodes I would temporarily lose the ability to talk,and speech would return after the episodes had passed.I was only partially aware of what I was doing during the head banging.It was involuntary movement I had no control over.I could go days or even weeks without an episode of either type,and then they would come back again.Often they would start with a burst of electricity in my brain,I could actually feel.

These "behaviors" were the first things to go away after I started taking leucovorin.My doctor and I just figured out these were caused by frontal lobe seizures.I was never tested for epilepsy.

And yes,after four years on leucovorin and a milk free diet,my autism is completely gone.

This stuff always has a medical cause.

Tatiana g. said...

Great info! I follow your you tube videos and your blog and you have abounding information and expertise in so many areas. I really enjoy reading your nutritional advice. I have fibromyalgia and while I have no idea what it is like to have compulsive self injury, I do have intermittent and frequent pain and I believe diet can affect this in many ways. Your insight is helpful to so many people!

Ross Gallor said...

There are many beliefs related to Autism Spectrum Disorder, but no one knows the proven real cause to promote disorder in brain development. One of the rare disorders named Rettâ Syndrome has been proven to be the main cause of Autism by a specific genetic mutation. Mostly theories predict a no single cause for ASD, but a complex combination of things can cause dangerous neurological disorders to human brain which can lead to Autism. But autism can be cured by showing love and affection, also by Cluas aspergers care

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