Sunday, June 16, 2024

How To Stop Autistic Child From Biting Nails

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When To Seek Professional Help

Ask an Autism Expert- Obsessive Nail-Biting

Biting of any kind is distressing, but when it occurs frequently across a number of different settings, is severe, causes the child distress, or is causing serious injury, contact a professional right away. Behavior modification techniques such as those listed above are often effective, but there are other avenues of treatment. Some, however, are aversive techniques that should be discussed fully with a professional before being implemented. Other strategies may include dietary changes or prescribing medications, which would also require professional intervention and supervision.

Why Do Kids Bite Their Nails

So why do kids pick up this strange habit anyway? Just like in adults, nail-biting is done for many reasonsusually unconsciously. Your child may gnaw at his or her fingernails out of curiosity or boredom when trying to pass the time.

An infant will often suck on his or her thumb to self-soothe, and as they grow this habit changes slightly. Fingernail biting is a modified version of thumb-sucking, which can feel like a soothing action many times.

Nail biting can also be a sign of stress or nervousness in some children. Some common stressful triggers for children include:

  • Fights between family members
  • Relocating or moving to a new place
  • Bullying
  • Pressure to perform in school or sports

If you find that your kids are biting their nails so much that they draw blood or have sore fingertips, you will want to consult your doctor and work together on a plan to figure out how to get kids to stop biting their nails together.

Lastly, nail biting can be picked up from someone else around them. If you want to figure out how to get kids to stop biting their nails you will need to conquer the habit first, and model the appropriate behavior.

How To Prevent Your Child With Autism From Biting

Parenting a special needs child is more rewarding than we can explain, but it also comes with its challenges. If your child with Autism is biting, youre experiencing one of these difficulties right now. Biting can be scary, as it is harmful to your child and those around him or her. At the same time, though, biting is a fairly normal behavior. The American Disabilities Association even considers biting a possible sign of Autism.

Even though its common for children with Autism to bite, its something that needs to be addressed. Of course, you cannot let your child bite themselves or others. With that said, what can you do to help stop your child with special needs from biting?

First, its important to understand the reason behind the action. Once weve got a full understanding of why children with Autism bite, well discuss how to stop it.

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Keep Your Cuticles Clipped

The coarseskin left from wounds can lead you to pick them. File them gently after a few days so they are almost even as your skin. There are special clippers designed for your cuticles which are amazing for people who struggle with sensory issues. They can help you to get rid of hangnails and cuticles so easily.

Which Behaviors Are Considered Stims

How to Stop Children From Biting Their Nails

“Stims” are repetitive behaviors that go beyond what is culturally acceptable. In the United States, for example, nail biting and hair twirling are considered okay. Hand flapping, though, is not considered okay.

In a person with autism, stimming usually refers to behaviors like:

People with autism argue that there is no reason why one behavior should be more acceptable than another. Still, some stims can be alarming to neurotypical people .

For example, some autistic people make loud noises that may seem threatening. Some hit themselves or even bang their heads. These types of stims can be problematic.

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How To Help Your Child With Oral Fixation

We expect our babies and toddlers to constantly put things in their mouths. But what if that behavior continues into the preschool years and beyond? You may wonder if this could be a sign of a neurodevelopmental disorder or if its just a stage thats taking your child a bit longer to outgrow. Ultimately, taking steps to help your child with their oral fixation will limit the negative oral behavior and reduce the effects it can cause.

Here well give you a better understanding of what an oral fixation is, what it may be related to, as well as methods to help your child better manage the behavior.

Identify Triggers For The Orally Fixated Behavior

Pay close attention to your child and when they exhibit their oral fixations the most. Take note of what happens before you see the stimming behavior as well as what the surroundings look like around them in that moment. Jotting down notes can be helpful in order to pinpoint trigger patterns that lead to the behavior.

Once trigger have been identified, you want to help reduce the triggering behavior. Sticking to routines can help reduce unnecessary stress that may lead to your childs stimming behavior.

It is unlikely that all triggers will be completely eliminated, so its important for your child to have an appropriate substitution that they can use for chewing or other coping strategies in place.

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Ask Your Friends And Family To Help

You may not notice youre biting your nails as often as you are, and once you do the damage is often already done.

One thing you can do is ask the people around you to remind you not to bite your nails you choose how cruel or kind you want them to be.

This not only gives you accountability and a better visibility of your nail-biting habit, but it also gives you the support to help you stop.

Try A Bit Of Bitter Gourd

Life Coaching for Parents : How to Stop a Child from Nail Biting

Bitter gourd is a vegetable commonly used in Asian cuisine hailed for its naturally bitter taste.

Also known as bitter squash or bitter melon, this vegetable is very potent when used on its own.

Its bitter taste is sure to put you off biting your nails, leaving a gag-worthy taste in your mouth if you choose to get nibbling.

You can either crush bitter gourd, apply the juices on your nails and leave to dry, or find a pre-prepared bitter gourd nail-biting treatment in the shops.

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Do Allistic People Stim

Many forms of fidgeting, such as twisting hair or tapping fingers, are also a type of stimming. These forms of stimming are so common that they often go unnoticed.

Toddlers and preschoolers may also stim to cope with overwhelming emotions and having little control over their own lives. Some parents worry this stimming behavior is an early warning sign of autism, but when stimming is the only symptom, autism is unlikely. According to United Cerebral Palsy, about 20% of neurotypical toddlers bang their heads.

Neurotypical people stim for the same reasons that autistic people doto cope with boredom, alleviate feelings of sensory overload, manage frustration and anxiety, and because stimming can become a pleasurable habit. Fidget spinners, a recent toy fad, are a stimming tool popular among both neurotypical and neurodivergent children.

What Is This Word

It’s stimming, short for the medical term self-stimulatory behaviours – a real mouthful.

Stimming might be rocking, head banging, repeatedly feeling textures or squealing. You’ll probably have seen this in people with Autism Spectrum Disorder but not really wanted to ask about it.

It is a term used widely in the ASD community.

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How Can I Teach My Child To Stop Whining

10 Ways to Get Your Kids to Stop Whining Ignore them. The vast majority of parents polled on this subject all say that ignoring a whining child is a great technique. Leave the room. When your child begins to whine, simply leave the room. Remove the cause. Name it. Time Out. Watch your tone. Change the subject. The Whiny Jar. You are the role model. Make sure your kids get enough sleep.

Discover What Triggers Your Nail Biting

How to Get Kids to Stop Biting Their Nails: 14 Tips for ...

There are many reasons why people bite their nails, but people arent always conscious about why they do it.

One of the most important steps in overcoming this habit is to identify what triggers you to bite your nails.

Is it when youre feeling anxious? When youre bored? Or maybe you start nibbling when you want to forget a certain feeling e.g. anger?

A good way to do this is to keep a journal a notes app on your phone is ok too! Just try to jot down when you bite your nails and how youre feeling / what youre doing.

This will help you to identify any patterns so that you can try and change your reaction to any nail-biting triggers, e.g. filing your nails into a nice shape when youre worried instead of biting them all off.

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How Therapy Can Help Manage Stimming Behaviors

Therapy can help families and individuals manage stimming behaviors, especially when those stimming behaviors seem dangerous or interfere with daily life.

Family therapy can help families to:

  • Address and manage overwhelming sensory environments.
  • Develop strategies for managing the emotions and sensations that trigger stimming.
  • Address conflicts between caregivers about how best to manage stimming.
  • Determine whether a person is stimming because of an underlying neurological or mental health issue.
  • Help caregivers differentiate age-typical stimming from stimming that may signal a problem.

Individual therapy can help children and adults who engage in stimming find healthy outlets for their emotions. A therapist may:

  • Help a person manage harmful stimming behavior such as head-banging.
  • Offer different strategies, such as meditation, for managing anxiety.
  • Help a person talk to loved ones about stress and frustration.
  • Offer alternative stimming options that may be less disruptive or harmful.
  • Help an autistic person better control their sensory environment by identifying and addressing triggers for stimming.
  • Support a person in advocating for their needs, including disability accommodations, at work or school.

A compassionate therapist can help with stimming and the emotions that trigger it. Find a counselor today!


  • Living with children: Head-banging . . United Cerebral Palsy. Retrieved from
  • Autism And Aggressive Behavior

    Hi, My 4 yr. old son, Clark, has autism. Ever since he was about a year old, he has occasionally bitten other people. Sometimes it is when he is frustrated, but sometimes it is when he is in a playful, happy mood. He has even bitten his brother when that brother was sleeping on the couch . Th A: A nail-biting habit is hard to break , but you can try to wean your daughter off it. Here are few ways to begin: – Start by keeping your child’s hands.

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    Types: Fashion Motors Electronics Sports & Leisure Health & Beaut

    • d her alot and then she tells me she isn’t even doing it! She doesn’t even realize it’s happening! She is also a nail biter–like m
    • d them to stop
    • This week’s expert, CARD Research Manager and BCBA Karen Nohelty answers your autism questions LIVE!Like Autism Live on Facebook at
    • utes without spitting. Gradually increase the time until the child no longer spits
    • Fingernail biting is a disgusting habit cursed by nervousness, often accelerated by masturbation or astigmatism. Thus intoned Ray C. Beery in 1917 in his Practical Child Training Book.Public.
    • Is nail biting an autistic stim? I used to bite my nails a lot as a child up to age 10 or 11. I found torn nails, and tears to the quick a pain so I stopped. I cut my nails from then on. I began chewing pens inces..

    Why Is My Toddler Biting Their Nails

    Nail Biting – First With Kids – UVM Children’s Hospital

    An estimated 30 to 60 percent of kids and teens bite their nails, so your child isnt alone. So what causes it?

    Some research shows that nail biting may have genetic factors. Also, your toddler could be biting their nails because of the attention they garner when you insist they stop.

    However, most experts pin down nail biting to habit a repeated behavior that your child isnt even aware of. Habits develop for three main reasons:

    • Boredom. A bored child may start nibbling at their nails because there isnt anything more pressing to do.
    • Relief. Nail biting may be a response to stress.
    • Relaxant. Some kids suck their thumbs to help them fall asleep, while others bite their nails.

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    Enlist Your Teachers Help To Stop Nail Biting

    Somehow convince your child that having his teacher aware of your plan to stop nail biting will help put an end to this more quickly. The strategies you will use at home, for the most part, can also be used at school. You could devise a signal the teacher can use to help remind your child to stop biting his nails. This can tactfully be done without any other student noticing. It could be a gentle tap on the shoulder or on your childs desk, a tug on the lanyard of his chewelry, a request to carry books to a shelf The key, here, is not to nag or embarrass the youngster but to give him a discreet push of encouragement that says to the child, I know it is difficult to stop but give the alternative outlets another try.

    If the nail biting is severe and the problem persists, you must dig deeper to find out the root cause of the biting. An evaluation from a health care professional might bring answers.

    The Takeaway About Nail Biting Picking And Other Nervous Habits

    Your child will likely outgrow their biting and picking habits. However, you can help them stop sooner or reduce the amount of nail-biting before it becomes a problem. Good communication, creating a plan, and working as a team will help you tackle nail-biting without fighting.

    Spend time together doing fun, fulfilling activities. Parenting is hard, and everyone is busy. Taking time to play with your child will help them learn activities that keep their hands busy, and playing together has the added benefit of fulfilling their emotional needs.

    As always, if youre concerned about your childs nail-biting, or any other habit, speak to your pediatrician. Your child may benefit from occupational therapy or another intervention. You can work as a team to create a plan that works for your family and your child.

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    Add Deep Pressure To Sensory Diet Activities

    Research has shown that the occupational therapy technique of deep pressure input has a calming effect on the body and mind. If your sons chewing is associated with anxiety, he may be calmed by engaging in some deep pressure activities throughout the day.

    Some options include:

    • jumping on a trampoline
    • brushing the inside of his cheeks with an electric toothbrush
    • pushing, pulling and lifting activities like engaging in a game of a tug of war or playful arm wrestle.

    Over a few weeks, use your sons behavioral log to see if any of strategies help decrease his tendency to chew on things.

    Keep in mind that both behavioral and sensory issues may contribute to the behavior. So ideally, youll want to work with both a behavioral and an occupational therapist to develop a multidisciplinary approach to address his needs.

    Thanks again for your question. Please let us know how you and your son are doing with a comment below or by emailing us again at .

    Got Questions for our behavioral and medical experts?

    Send them to .

    Avoid Making The Habit Worse

    5 Effective Ways To Stop Nail Biting In Children

    Calling too much attention to your childs bad habits is likely to backfire and their nail-biting may get even worse. Punishing your child or embarrassing them for biting their nails also wont be effective in helping them change their habits.

    Help your child manage their nail-biting but dont get too wrapped up in making them stop. Yelling or telling them that they’re gross wont help.

    Skip the lengthy lectures about all the reasons why putting their fingers in their mouth is disgustingthat isn’t likely to work either.

    Helping your child put an end to biting their nails will be much more effective if they’re on board with the plan. If they’re not particularly motivated to quit, your efforts aren’t likely to be successful. So, be patient with them and if they’re not interested in stopping, you may need to wait until they are.

    You might broach the subject from time to time by saying something like, “I notice you bite your nails a lot. Do kids at school ever seem to notice?” Mentioning that other people might see them doing this might make them a bit more aware of others perceive them.

    Similarly, you might ask them, “It looks like your fingers get sore sometimes when you bite your nails so much. Do you ever wish you didn’t do that?”

    If your child is invested in giving up the habit, work together on coming up with a plan to help them. They might say they want a specific reward if they can grow their nails long enough that you can have to cut them .

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    Why Do Some Children Bite Nails

    Nail biting is called a nervous habit something, a child does unconsciously when he is worried, scared or stressed. Other nervous habits include sucking thumbs, tugging hair, picking nose and grinding teeth. Kids also bite nails when they are bored or curious. They might also be doing it to imitate someone elses nail biting. Sometimes, there is small part of nail hanging and the child must be innocently trying to bite it off, which can cause soreness, making the child attend to the area with further nibbling. Researchers also say that genetics play a role in nail biting too.The child is not doing this consciously. And hence, while there are few things that you can do to stop him from biting his nails, what you should not do is punish or shame him. That will only aggravate the stress the child is feeling, making him want to bite his nails more!

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