75. The Taboo Topic of Self-Injurious Behaviors

podcast Feb 24, 2022

Yes, we are talking about it again because you still have questions and so I'm going to dive in a little bit more.  While self-harming behaviors look different for our children with autism and individuals without autism, they are very prevalent in the autistic population. You may have heard them referred to as SIB for short.

For most individuals on the spectrum, these behaviors are happening in a very rhythmic or repetitive way and that then leads us to believe that they could be using them to meet a specific need. It could be head-banging, hand-biting, hitting themselves with their fists, skin-picking, or pulling their hair out.  

It might be that they are finding them soothing or stimulating and these types of reasons are definitely more unique to those with autism than individuals who are not on the spectrum.

The first thing to consider is what is the behavior providing them and that in itself is another one of those mysteries that we often find ourselves unable to understand or uncover.  Whatever steps you decide to take it is critically important that all of it is coming from a place of love and a willingness to help them figure it out and find a way to re-direct that behavior to one that is more positive.

While many autistics' engage in self-injurious behaviors, it is not just a "part of autism" and it generally won't just go away on its own. 

If your child is exhibiting self-injurious behaviors, trust in your professionals and physicians to navigate you in the right direction.  

You can also go back and listen to episode #64 for more information on this topic.