logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Clairvoyance: 08:00 PM

Full Schedule
g
g Children with Special Needs Site

BellaOnline's Children with Special Needs Editor

g

Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors - Skin, Cheeks


Some children and teens with developmental disabilities or sensory processing challenges are more likely to develop habits like skin-picking (Dermatillomania) and cheek biting than their mainstream peers. I became aware of these issues chatting with mothers who were concerned with the effects these habits had on their children's health and socialization.

It surprised me that these "Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors" were as common as they are in the mainstream population, and how difficult adults found it to change what they recognize as troublesome habits. Other BFRBs like hair-pulling and nail-biting may be as common as cheek-biting and skin picking.

One doctor suggests that although these habits are destructive, they may be ways for individuals under stress to normalize the sensory imbalance caused by periods of sensory overload as well as boredom and inactivity, using their own bodies to meet a need for self-regularion; natural grooming behaviors taken to extremes. Many seem to focus on irregularities - misaligned teeth or TMJ; tenderness or a callous in the cheek; a dry skin patch or scab; a hangnail, loose cuticle or broken nail.

Mainstream adults may resort to hypnosis, cognitive-behavioral therapy; finding substitute behaviors or sensations to break the habit; or use of objects to block access to the areas most likely to be damaged. For individuals who bite the inside of their cheeks, chewing sugar-free gum as a substitute behavior, or using acrylic mouth guards to allow cheeks to heal may be temporary solutions.

Children with disabilities may find fidgets or items developed to chew or bite on to be helpful where gum is difficult or inappropriate. Redirecting habits or behaviors may be more difficult when we don't understand that a child craves an interesting sensation that is part of the habit that is unhealthy.

Reading reports from mainstream adults about the satisfaction felt in using their teeth and tongue to pull strips of skin from the insides of their cheeks made me cringe, but a child with communication challenges might understand completely without being able to tell us. Having accidentally bit my cheek on a few occasions, I remember how difficult it was to ignore the swollen area as it healed.

I also have had chapped lips and bitten off small pieces of chapped skin - painfully attached at the other end. That might be an interesting feeling for a child that develops into a habit. Many applications of lip balm may help, but some children have chronically chapped lips that are hard to ignore, too.

Reading mainstream adult reports of their challenges in stopping these behaviors, often habits developed during childhood, can help us understand how difficult it may be for children with disabilities to manage or abandon their Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors.

Browse at your public library, local bookstore, or online retailer for items like: Trichotillomania, Skin Picking, and Other Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, A Parent Guide to Hair Pulling Disorder: Effective Parenting Strategies for Children with Trichotillomania (Formerly "Stay Out of My Hair") or The Super Chewnoodle http://tinyurl.com/m9lbkpc

160C Clinical Workshop: Clinical Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Trichotillomania and Other Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors; Golomb, Mouton-Odum
194C Clinical Workshop: Beating Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors: A Two-Pronged Approach; Rego
http://www.adaa.org/resources-professionals/32nd-annual-conference/handouts

Trichotillomania Learning Center.
Skin Picking Disorder: Frequently Asked Questions
http://www.trich.org/about/skin-faqs.html

A Stimulus Regulation Model of Trichotillomania
http://www.trich.org/treatment/article-stimulus-penzel.html

Dr. Oz answers: Is chewing the inside of my cheek dangerous to my health?
(A callous forms; might get infected - try chewing gum)
http://www.sharecare.com/health/healthy-teeth-and-mouth/chewing-inside-of-cheek

Cheek Biting: Why You Bite Your Cheek and How to Stop
Thomas P. Connelly, D.D.S. on careless chewing; misalignment in your teeth/TMJ; the nervous habit
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-p-connelly-dds/cheek-biting-_b_818047.html

Mental Wellness in Adults with Down Syndrome - A Guide to Emotional and Behavioral Strengths and Challenges
Chapter 9 excerpt: THE GROOVE AND FLEXIBILITY Dennis McGuire, Ph.D. & Brian Chicoine, M.D.
http://www.woodbinehouse.com/excerpt.asp_Q_product_id_E_1-890627-65-8

Add Body%2DFocused+Repetitive+Behaviors+%2D+Skin%2C+Cheeks+ to Twitter Add Body%2DFocused+Repetitive+Behaviors+%2D+Skin%2C+Cheeks+ to Facebook Add Body%2DFocused+Repetitive+Behaviors+%2D+Skin%2C+Cheeks+ to MySpace Add Body%2DFocused+Repetitive+Behaviors+%2D+Skin%2C+Cheeks+ to Del.icio.us Digg Body%2DFocused+Repetitive+Behaviors+%2D+Skin%2C+Cheeks+ Add Body%2DFocused+Repetitive+Behaviors+%2D+Skin%2C+Cheeks+ to Yahoo My Web Add Body%2DFocused+Repetitive+Behaviors+%2D+Skin%2C+Cheeks+ to Google Bookmarks Add Body%2DFocused+Repetitive+Behaviors+%2D+Skin%2C+Cheeks+ to Stumbleupon Add Body%2DFocused+Repetitive+Behaviors+%2D+Skin%2C+Cheeks+ to Reddit



 



Down Syndrome and Autism Dual Diagnosis
Sensory Integration and Children
Sensory Processing Disorder in Children
RSS
Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map




For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Children with Special Needs Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Pamela Wilson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Pamela Wilson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Pamela Wilson for details.

g


g features
Babies with Developmental Delays

Inclusive Playgroups for Babies and Toddlers

Holiday Breaks and Childhood Disabilities

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor