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how to stop DD2 from chewing for skin :(

(5 Posts)
lisad123 Sat 30-Jul-11 21:41:00

DD2 is 3 years old and has autism, and sensory processing. She has a terrible habit of chewing her skin on her fingers, mainly around the nails. She will take layers of skin off and had to be treated for infection.
GP commented that she was too young to be chewing her nails/fingers but when i told her she had autism, she just replied "oh that explains it".
How the hell do i stop her? When I ask her to stop if i catch her doing it, she then starts hitting herself in the head.

janetsplanet Sat 30-Jul-11 21:58:29

DD kept biting her big toenails off. they were all infected. think she was about 4 or 5. she didnt care that they had cream on. we put her in tights and she would hide to take them off and have a chew. i cant actually remember what we did to stop her.
has the nurse had a word with her at all. DD had an infected thumb a few weeks back and the nurse told her about the poison etc

Pigglesworth Sun 31-Jul-11 10:23:03

Have you tried anti-nail-biting lotions on her nails, like one I just found via Google - "CONTROL-IT!"?

They have a bad taste which can discourage biting her skin. This particular ointment is also designed to heal the skin damage nail-biting causes. I have no idea as to its effectiveness though - reviews on Amazon suggest that it varies.

TooJung Mon 01-Aug-11 09:49:34

I wanted to answer before, but my son is so much older than your daughter.

DS2 with high functioning autism started biting his nails later, around 5 I think. I deregistered him from school aged 10 due to overwhelming distress and have been home educating in an autonomous way ever since (because it suits him). Last summer, after 2 1/2 years of de-escalating situations, doing lots of accepting, living a much, much less stressful life, he happened to stop biting his nails and skin. It was gradual, a longer nail here and there, then the nails became dirtier (due to not being in mouth). No more plasters on his red, hard, raw, sore thumbs.

Instead of telling him not to bite his nails and being cross, I'd be on his side and ask if they were sore and gently hold or kiss his hands. I also told my mother in law, lives next door, not to be verbally aggressive about it to him, that was hard to do.

Interestingly last summer he restarted being interested in reading for his own pleasure again, it had been knocked comprehensively by school. So a new love might have shifted something in him at a deep level, something which I couldn't have planned or directed. My own nail biting went away of its own accord the very day I started working on a till for the first time in my life, so that's why I suspect there is a link for him too.

I hope this helps.

ommmward Mon 01-Aug-11 15:18:04

Might it help if you think of it as a stim rather than an irritating habit?

It was a glorious day when I figured out that such stims seem to last about 6 months in my world. And that probably the next one will be less socially acceptable than the current one, so let's enjoy the current one while it lasts...

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