My ds has some undiagnosed need - we are restarting an assessment process and he has a long history of Sensory difficulties, feeding difficulties, transitional difficulties, etc. At any rate, he has recently begun a new behavior/stim/self comfort of pulling up his sleeve and sucking/biting on his arm until the area is quite red. He says he needs to do it to calm himself. He is open to suggestions to change self calming behaviours or stim behaviors to ones that are less destructive/harmful (such as when I introduced the use of a hammock to use when he was having a full body tantrum. He now can put himself in it or ask me to help get into it as the meltdown is amping up and will stay there until he calms down). Can anyone suggest a substitute behavior that will suffice for biting/sucking that might be calming? I can't think of any at the moment and need to come up with something before he hurts himself!
Thank you :-)
This site has stylish jewelry that is designed to look nice on mom but are safe for teething; I found the suggestion on a blog where a mom wrote about "mouthing" issues with her 8yo.
Unless he is very young I'd get the longer lanyard option for these, the 18" is very short:
I just showed this site to my son and he is thinking about whether something like the triangle onyx one would be something he would be willing to wear and substitute for his arm but he isn't sure it will do it....as apparently the mouth on skin contact is part of the calming bit of the behavior....
But he is now thinking about something that might work as a substitute...However more suggestions of substitute items or behaviours are welcome!
If you google chew sticks that's also a solution for oral stimulation. Chewing on a toothbrush helps my son and lollipops (we get the organic ones - no food dyes). I'd also add in brushing to stimulate his skin as well. Here's a video on the brushing and also joint compression (they typically go hand in hand) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9LSbINc-y0
Fun & Function has a variety of chewable items:
Mom to an amazing little guy, age 9 (Autism, Hyperlexia, Dyspraxia, Albinism, Chromosome Microdeletion)
If he's really needing the particular feel of mouth-on-skin to soothe/comfort, maybe he could switch to that fleshy part of his palm, right under his thumb? That skin is a little tougher, may not show as many marks, and he might be able to do it a bit more discreetly (e.g., if he's sitting it will look sort of like he's resting his chin on his hand, with his fingers covering what his mouth is doing). Maybe this could work until he either outgrows this particular need or finds another soothing alternative?
Excellent suggestion and does not require the purchase of any props!
Have spent today trying out various pendant stones I have around the house and he didn't like the "mouth feel" of any of them.
Will see if tomorrow he is open to this suggestion as it would, indeed, look completely natural.
Am also wondering if a leather cuff bracelet would do (could be easily cleaned as well) if your suggestion doesn't work. The only pendant (biting friendly) above that he liked is not currently available....but would prefer a prop free solution if he doesn't bite/chew/suck hard enough to do skin surface damage.
Thank you to all of you for responding.
If I understand your description correctly, I do the same thing. I have sensory issues and can get over-stimulated pretty easily. I have trouble describing the problem that I use this wrist-biting as a solution for, but I'll try because I think it might be helpful. For me, it doesn't really have much to do with my mouth or needing oral stimulation. Rather, when I'm over-stimulated, I get this uncomfortable full-body physical feeling. I can't describe it, but I don't like it, especially considering that it's combined with the emotional and mental discomfort of over-stimulation. Some kind mild "sharp" pain such as biting or pinching myself makes me feel better in the short term.
Sometimes I pinch the side of my wrist instead.