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facial grimacing

(7 Posts)
sphil Fri 12-Aug-11 20:42:09

About two or three months ago DS2 (8, ASD) started blowing raspberries, I think at the time because he liked the sensation. This evolved into pushing his lips forward and squinting down his nose ( I presume because he can then see his lips). Now he is doing it ( the grimacing and the raspberries) many many times each day and its become much more exaggerated. I am guessing that something that started as an enjoyable sensation has changed into a habit and now a stim.

I hate it because it draws attention to him like nothing else, but I dont know if I should try to stop it, and if so, how? He has had other stims in the past that have come and gone without us doing anything.

Although I think its a stim, I'm also a bit concerned about tics/ Tourettes as he is also making many more involuntary noises than he used to ( have started a separate thread about this).

Any similar experiences would be good to hear. Also, if anyone has found that any supplements make a difference to this sort of thing, Id be grateful to hear.

TIA

Claw3 Fri 12-Aug-11 21:11:50

Ds has had lots of grimaces/tics/stims whatever you want to call them over the years, like your ds they come and go, usually during times of stress or change to routine.

Just before the school holidays ds started to do a head shake every few seconds, while obsessively lining things up (i think he finds this calming)

He is now doing a vocal tic of clearing his throat every few seconds (i think he finds this stimulating or maybe even calming)

Whatever they start off as, as you say i think they quickly become a habit. I try not to draw attention to them, i find he gets very embarrassed and self conscious which tends to make them worse.

If you think he is finding it stimulating, you could try other stimulating things to do with with his mouth, without drawing attention to the grimace, drinking through straw, straw painting (blowing paint on paper), blowing bubbles, electric toothbrush, chewy toys etc, etc to see if this gives him the stimulating he is seeking. Even fiddle toys or any other distraction that he can do regularly might take his mind of it long enough to break the habit.

sphil Fri 12-Aug-11 21:57:43

Thanks Claw3 - distraction does work, though he sometimes blows the raspberries and then looks at me for a reaction, which suggests that it is voluntary at least some of the time. You're right that drawing attention to them doesnt work - not in Ds's case because of embarrassment (he seems completely unaware of what others think of him) but because he thinks its funny and does it more!

Claw3 Fri 12-Aug-11 22:08:32

When ds is doing his obsessive lining things up and head shaking, he shouts at me not to look at him, so i assume he is aware of what he is doing or what others might think, mind you its hard to tell isnt it!

Advice from OT when ds developed a 'habit' of scratching his skin until it bleed, was not to draw attention to it, but distract ie keeps his hands occupied and lots of exercises and movement breaks to give him sensory input.

Sorry i dont have any quick fix suggestions.

sphil Fri 12-Aug-11 22:13:13

Oh no, you've been very helpful. I am thinking that it may be a visual as well as a oral/tactile stim, so will try some visual stimulation as well.

Claw3 Fri 12-Aug-11 22:25:14

I was saying on another thread the other day, is this grimace something that started during the school holidays?

I was wondering whether ds had been having a sensory need met by the daily usual school day or perhaps even overwhelmed by it and therefore didnt want any more input at home.

sphil Sat 13-Aug-11 13:27:13

Not in Ds2's case as he was doing it at school as well, unfortunately smile.
I am now starting to wonder whether it has got to do with the Behaviour Balance liquid Ive been giving him - this biomedical stuff is so difficult to get right.

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