Tuesday, March 8, 2011








These are feelings that parents of special needs children feel almost every day.

The key is not giving in to the emotions.

But some days are more difficult than others and emotions can get the best of you.

I'm in a little battle with my feelings this morning.

I'll fill you in on our latest dilemma.

Lily's behaviors tend to be cyclical.

For a while, she will engage in something like biting, for example. No one is safe - except for children.  Thankfully, she has never taken a bite out of another kid.  But any adult is fair game, including her older sisters, therapists, and Sunday School teachers.

This behavior will go on for maybe a month or so and then all of sudden, without any warning or explanation, it will just stop.  No more biting.

Of course, many times it is simply replaced with another lovely behavior, such as pulling hair or pinching.

And the cycle begins again, just with a new behavior.

So the days of our lives can often be measured like this:

Biting. Gone. Pinching. Gone. Hair Pulling. Gone. Biting. Gone. Pinching. Gone.....

Get the idea?

Currently, we have one behavior in particular that has stayed the course for a while now, maybe 3 months or so.

And we are at a complete loss as to what to do.

Lily is hitting herself in the head.  Hard.  With a fist.  And when her fist gets sore, she'll use her open palm.  And if her hand gets sore, she'll hit slightly softer.

It is painful to watch.

While Lily has an amazing tolerance for pain, it has to hurt.

She doesn't do it nonstop throughout the day.  It seems to come in spurts.  She'll go an hour or so with no hits and then the next hour, she'll so it 50 times.

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.

I can be playing with her on the floor, giving her my full attention and she'll hit.  I can be driving in the car with her and not paying any attention to her at all and she'll hit.  I can be in the kitchen while she's in her room and she'll hit.  She'll hit when she's eating.

It's just crazy and incredibly frustrating.

Not to mention how much it freaks other people out if they see her do it while we're in Target or something.

Her therapists are trying something new at school today and we'll see how it goes.

But I'm fighting that hopeless feeling because we've all been trying new things for a couple weeks now and come up with only brief moments of improvement.

It's hard not to feel discouraged.

I'll be spending some time today doing research online and looking through my many books for some possible solutions or things to try.

In the meantime, here's the Scripture I have running on an endless loop in my head these days:

II Corinthians 4:8
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;  perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned;  struck down but not destroyed."

Got any suggestions for me???  Would love to hear them!


  1. While I don't have any answers for you, I do know one thing... Lily is one blessed little girl to have you as her mom!

  2. L- I see this often with my AU students...with my (8-10) year old kids, they usually pound when they are...frustrated and don't have the words to tell me...mad at something or someone....worried about anything...are overstimulated and are trying to calm themselves by stemming....or it could be something as simple as a look, touch or sound...I know this can be disheartening for a parent. You want to fix it...get a "program" together and make it stop...Lily is a normal AU gal...:) However, this doesn't help you does it...;)
    In my experience, I have tried substituting an object (play-dough, squeezy ball, punching doll) for the child to pound on instead of their own body...This level of extinction can take a lot of time...but I have seen it work. It can be frustrating to follow the child around and do a "hand over hand" approach when they begin pounding...but it can work.

    Girl...you have her in an amazing school with people who care about her and her success. I can't wait to see what methods they use to help...keep me informed...

    and you are an amazing God-loving mom....never forget it..if you do..let me know and i will remind you...WORD :)

  3. I'm not sure this will help but Ms.Abington told me when you don't know what to do.Do what you know to do.

  4. Probably not something that she would tolerate, but would wearing a helmet be a possiblity?

  5. Thanks to all of you for your sweet and thoughtful comments. I appreciate knowing that there are so many people out there who are faithfully praying for our family. Some days are just better than others!

    Espy - I got many suggestions from you and another sweet lady regarding substitutions and I'm passing along the ideas to Lily's teachers. Some things may have been tried but I'm betting not all of them. I'll keep you posted!

    Mary - We are trying a helmet so you were right on track! She actually wore her little bike helmet off and on at school today and it definitely seemed to decrease the hitting.

    And I agree with you Anonymous - I love that advice and can't tell you how many times I've told myself that through the years.


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