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is this a tic? Can I get him to stop before he hurts himself more?

(7 Posts)
mrsbaffled Mon 17-Oct-11 17:52:04

DS2 (nearly 4) has been ticcing for a couple of months (vocal, and shirt tugging). But now he's started to pick at his nails. This doesn't bother me tooooo much (I don't see it as any worse than nail biting), but he's just pulled off an entire toe nail sad This is most unpleasant!

Is this another tic? If so, is there anything I can do to get him to stop?

Thank you x

BabeRuthless Mon 17-Oct-11 18:19:03

I do sympathise. Ds (nearly 5) is terrible for picking at his nails & even worse for picking at scabs. He's had little scabs on his face that have got worse & worse due to his insistence that he has to "take it off". When he starts on this we tend to cut his nails very short so he has nothing to pick with. Any joy with that?

mrsbaffled Mon 17-Oct-11 18:26:42

Currently he has no nails as such to pick at (because he's picked them all off already!)...

I hope he'll give up and move onto something else....

BabeRuthless Mon 17-Oct-11 19:18:36

It's a tricky one because your instinct is to tell them to stop but the more you do, the more you draw their attention to it. A lot of things ds does he eventually forgets about (like saying "shit" thankfully!) so maybe give it a couple of weeks to see if this is what happens. Maybe after that seek a bit of advice from your gp or cahms maybe?

coff33pot Mon 17-Oct-11 19:21:45

I dont know if this will help but when you see him "picking" could you give him something else to pick at? thick bit of rope (nylon or string) that he can pick at bit by bit or squares of cotton with threads to pull out. Basically keep his hands busy with something else?

AgnesDiPesto Mon 17-Oct-11 19:55:24

Yes I would try and stop it if it is going to cause injury.
DS sucked and bit his thumb until the skin nearly disintegrated and I thought I was going to have to bandage his hand. I have seen children whose hands have to be bandaged so could see where it was headed.
We were lucky enough at the same time to win ABA at tribunal and immediately asked the ABA team to address it.
Basically we just praised him for not doing it (labelling what you want him to do eg nice keeping your hands still) and when he put his thumb to his mouth just gently pushed his hand back down and distracted him. After a few days of working on it intensively he would stop himself putting it into his mouth.
he still sucks his thumb at night but its now at a level where it doesn't cause him any harm and I can't exactly stop him at night, but it has reduced even at night.
Keeping hands busy with other things can also work.
Or even rewards for not doing it.
I remember one mum who gave her child chocolate if he didn't strip off the second he got inside the house and that actually stopped it really quickly (although obviously you want to fade out rewards like that pretty fast)
You can't work on every stim all the time but we make a point of stopping the ones which could get out of control to the point they cause harm or interfere with everyday life eg DS went through a stage of refusing to walk if the ground was wet which was obviously pretty restrictive.
You need everyone eg school to be alert to it and be praising him not doing it.

mrsbaffled Mon 17-Oct-11 20:09:28

Thank you, all - some good advice here.
I think I will offer him a reward for keeping socks on all day as a first port of call. Both he and his brother have this weird thing where they take off a single idea why!

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