Compulsive lip-biting - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 05-04-2006, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Our ds is 5 yo and last fall was diagnosed with SID (proprioceptive).

The last 3-4 days DS has been compulsively biting his lip. It's come to light that he can't stop doing it even though it hurts him. Bad as it might sound, at first I thought he was doing it for effect until it became clear that he was really hurting himself and couldn't stop doing it and was starting to break down in tears from hurting himself. Having struggled with compulsive behaviors myself I can certainly recognize what is going on.

He's never had anything quite like this before and it's really disturbing. (Makes me wonder if I started doing stuff like this at age 5 also!) I've been suggesting he chew gum (which generally helps him anyway) and that seems to help somewhat but not entirely, or to try putting his tongue between his teeth because he won't bite his tongue on purpose (yet, anyway...). It seems that once it's healed up it won't be as much of a temptation.

We are deep in the research process about school for next year so there may be a higher anxiety level for him.....

Anyone seen this kind of behavior before? What helped? I've sent a note to his OT also....

TIA--

Jenny
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#2 of 8 Old 05-04-2006, 11:49 AM
 
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Not lip-biting, but my son did go through a phase of shirt-chewing (sudden onset, no history). His OT believed that it was sensory-related and suggested a 2-week brushing/deep pressure protocol. It worked, and the problem hasn't returned (it's been about 18 months).
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#3 of 8 Old 05-07-2006, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks Thoesly DS has resisted the brushing/joint compression over the last several months, which is too bad because it helps him so much our OT and myself both came up with gum chewing as a possible way to get him to stop. Being a somewhat religious person I suggested he pray every single time it happened and ask to have it stop, which he did. Not sure what did it, but the prayer gave him something to do besides scream out in pain, and it did seem to calm him. Now a few days later it seems to have stopped completely.

it's nice when things can go away; we've certainly had a few that took a ton more work and months to resolve...

j.
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#4 of 8 Old 05-08-2006, 01:29 PM
 
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I'm glad something worked! I know that sometimes we can't figure out what triggers a behavior -- which makes it hard to figure out how to help! I've spent considerable time trying one strategy after another for certain problems (and one of my kids went through a brushing aversion, too, but when a new problem came up months later, that was suddenly okay again). The good news is that my 7-year old with autism has enough of this figured out that he can often tell me what he needs -- or even go do his own jumping/spinning/retreat/etc when he needs it. Good luck!
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#5 of 8 Old 05-14-2006, 09:25 PM
 
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my 4 year old bites the back of his hand to the point of breaking the skin. Brushing and joint compression have not worked for us..letting him chew gum does work but he ends up swallowing the gum quite a bit and that worries me. His bitting seems to be sensory related...its so difficult to watch him go through this!!
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#6 of 8 Old 05-15-2006, 03:05 AM
 
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my oldest son went for 2 years of licking his lips to the point of severe chapping and he basically went through tubes of chapstick. he has finally, at the age of 12, stopped this.

Me and my wonderful husband serve God. Blessed with twin girls 2/11/11. <3

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#7 of 8 Old 05-16-2006, 10:55 AM
 
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Fiddlemom, does your son have any tics or tic-like behaviors? Common early ones are eye-blinking, throat clearing, sniffing, curling or thrusting the tongue repeatedly, pulling in the abdominal muscles, making little noises with his tongue (kind of like 'tsk'), or low, gutteral noises (these can be very quiet). If it's a tic, it will be repeated a lot for a certain period--usually between 4 and 10 weeks--and then it will stop. It may come back a month or two later, though. Tics are very common, and lick-biting can be one (though somewhat unusual as an "only" tic--it would usually be one of a few) and moreso in people with a family history or tics or OCD. My son has Tourette's Syndrome, but having a few tics does not = TS (about 10 % of children have tics during childhood, but about 1 in 200 or fewer have TS).

I may be offbase on the suggestion of tics, but the fact that he wants to stop and can't does sound potentially tic-like (and the fact that it just seemed to stop at one point is very tic-like). It it is a tic, the approach is basically to wait it out and do what you can to see that the child isn't scolded, punished, or shamed for tic behavior. With problematic tics, redirection such as you tried (like chewing gum, prayer) is helpful. Since tics can be associated with OCD, I would be careful to not foster the thought that "If I pray right it will stop, so if I pray and it doesn't stop, then I must not be praying right". That kind of thinking can get out of control in kids with these tendencies.

Sherri
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#8 of 8 Old 05-16-2006, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohannasGarden
Fiddlemom, does your son have any tics or tic-like behaviors?....Since tics can be associated with OCD, I would be careful to not foster the thought that "If I pray right it will stop, so if I pray and it doesn't stop, then I must not be praying right". That kind of thinking can get out of control in kids with these tendencies.

Sherri
Sherri,

thank you so much for these thoughts. I don't see other tics, but I will keep an eye out...thank you for bringing this up. the lip biting has temporarily subsided. During times of stress in the past (when he was as young as 3) I was seeing OCD symptoms in him which thankfully also subsided. Definitely when the lip biting started it was REALLY a wake up call to me, like, "What on earth is going on that is causing THIS?" Of course, if it is symptomatic of something internal rather than externally caused, it is going to come back in same or different form.

thank you all for your responses; back to listening / learning!
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