Dealing With Head Banging In Autism

Head banging can be an alarming issue for families on the spectrum. Although many people consider that ignoring this behavior can be the answer (believing that the cause of this might be a call for attention), there are several factors that need to be considered in order to determine how to react.

Why Do ASD Children Do This?

For children on the autism spectrum, head hitting can be a way to soothe themselves and communicate. According to different doctors, this kind of conducts can be referred to as kinesthetic. The reason for this is due to the fact that children want to feel the same way that they used to when abiding in their mothers womb. They look for safety and security, and appeal for conducts that sooth anxiety and stress.
The most common indicators of kinesthetic behavior are:

  1. Headbanging.
  2. Body rolling.
  3. Bitting.
  4. Thumbsucking.

What Triggers Headbanging?

In some cases, headbanging can represent way more than a simple self-soothing conduct and can point to other feelings and conditions.
According to different specialists, headbanging can be triggered by the following conditions:

  • The child is in pain and does this to ease himself/herself.
  • The child wants to communicate something. Very common in non-verbal cases.
  • The child feels overwhelmed by a sensory overload condition (noise, lights, crowds, smells, etc.)
  • The child requires attention and uses it as a way to get it.

How Can I Protect My Child?

 Up to 90% of autistic children practice self-harm or headbanging at some point during their infancy. Although we highly recommend you to visit your family doctor right after witnessing self-injurious behaviors, the following tips will help you ease anxiety and reduce stress:
 1.- Take Your Child Out: Many times the current situation that the child is facing is due to environmental issues. Taking your child out of the scenario can be a really useful way to ensure that he/she is not facing a sensory overload.
2.- Noice Cancelling Headphones:  If for some reason, it is impossible to remove your child from the current situation (F.E. traveling in an airplane), noise-canceling headphones can be a great way to ease noise and reduce anxiety from ambient sound.

3.- Put On His/Her Favourite Clothes: Skin rashes and sensory issues can many times be traced back to your child’s clothes. Putting on his/her favorite outfit can help your child feel secure, and comfortable thus easing anxiety.

4.- Play With Sensory Toys: Sensory toys can be an incredible way to provide the sensory input that your child needs when becoming anxious. Besides removing the attention from the thing that is bothering him/her, sensory toys can make your child feel safe and more at peace since they’ll be playing with something that he/she already knows.
Take into consideration that these tips work in a trial and error method. It takes time to figure out what your child needs, however, with patience and your family doctors guidance, your child will feel better and ease this conduct.

At WSCC, we offer support for autistic families and their children with Stem Cell Therapy treatments that can transform autistic conditions by healing the gut, decreasing inflammation and improving brain function. We also created an autistic community on Facebook that is destined to offer support and companionship for ASD parents and their families on their journey.
Remember, you are not alone!