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3yr old with ASD - hands constantly in his nappies!

(8 Posts)
rocket74 Wed 02-Jan-13 18:22:08

Thought about googling this but bit worried about what it might throw up.
My 3.6 yr old DS with ASD is currently constantly putting his hands in his nappies - front and back to touch himself. This has caused a few issues when he has done a BM but on the whole we have managed it and not tried to make too much of a fuss about it and try to keep a supply of anti-bac wipes around. I don't think he has an infection or anything. He just likes it.
His 1to1 at mainstream nursery has asked us for some advice on how to handle it - but - I thought this was a phase lots of toddlers go through regardless of any SN's. I know that DH's DD had a phase of it around the same age - maybe it just runs in his family?
So is the nursery right to ask for advice (surely they have seen this before??!!) and if so - what should we be doing?

sickofsocalledexperts Wed 02-Jan-13 18:31:37

My boy did this and the autism-specific nursery had zero advice (except "put him in dungarees" - which seemed to me just to sidestep the issue). I decided to stop him every single time he did it, immediately. This helped to disrupt the habit, as in the end the pleasure of doing it was outweighed by the annoyance of being stopped every time. I just removed his hand and did "no". Eventually I was able to teach him that he can touch himself only in private. I always thought of him at 18.

auntevil Wed 02-Jan-13 18:33:21

I suppose it depends on what constantly means to you.
In nursery aged children, there are a lot of children with hands in pants - both girls and boys. Usually a gentle reminder makes them take their hands out.
There are some that have 5/6 reminders in 3 hours - and those are the times that they are spotted.
This would not be remarkable on its own, but might raise a 'always got his hands down his pants' comment if talking about their behaviour generally.
There are still some children in school at the end of KS1 that do the same. Often the sensory seeking children.
Personally I wouldn't be too worried atm, but with my DSs, we remind them of appropriate and inappropriate places and times to do it.

AgnesDiPesto Wed 02-Jan-13 19:01:14

I agree about constantly stopping it actually. With autism repetitive behaviours and 'phases' they can last years not weeks, so if its something you don't want to encourage its easier to stop it quickly.

Always try and label what you want him to do instead. If you say 'don't put your hands in your nappy' often the child can't process all the language and just hears 'hands in nappy' - the opposite of what you want.

so I would say something like 'nice still hands' to remind him to keep his hands still and out of his nappy. Try and catch him before they go in if possible. Stop it every time - my son finds rules much easier if they are consistent.

Lots of praise and rewards when not putting hands in. Nursery can do this as well commenting on his 'nice hands' or how still his hands are. Lots of times throughout the session.

If language is a massive problem you can have a symbol of hands in a nappy (you probably will have to make your own / use a photo) with a red 'no' line through it and maybe one with a child with hands out of nappy and label that one 'nice hands' or whatever you intend to say.

Also giving something to play with which is incompatible with putting hands in his nappy eg a squidgy ball or light up toy etc (see sensory toy warehouse for lots of cheap things) or an activity which needs 2 hands

Nursery should have a box of toys to reward / distract him too. But don't let them give him the toy after he has done it, only when they catch him not doing it as a reward for having nice hands! Reward the behaviour you want to see.

Walter4 Wed 02-Jan-13 19:14:50

My son also did this at about 3, I did just ignore it, and after a couple of months he just stopped. He only really did it at home though, especially when naked !
I know with my son if I'd tried to stop him he'd have done it more! smile

ilovesprouts Wed 02-Jan-13 19:31:01

my ds2 does this lots hes 6 i was sat on my sofa last night watching tv the light was off and i thought he was tickling my leg and it felt wet looked down hed wiped poo all over my leg [boak] he always playing with his poo sad

SallyBear Thu 03-Jan-13 08:35:37

My DS went through that stage at 3-4. He would smear as well if you hadn't got to him in time to change. I ordered pop up vests from Racketys and that stopped the smearing. He does occasionally shove his hands down the front of his trousers now, and I just say "DS hands!!" And he takes them out. The vests did help undoubtably.

MummytoMog Thu 03-Jan-13 10:16:55

DD did this when we were having our second or third attempt at potty training and we tried leaving her naked on her lower half. She spent the entire time with her hands down there and actually made herself sore. She stopped again once the pants were on, so no help there, but I think it's very normal, all of my friends said their children did it during potty training. Of course, their children actually potty trained...

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