The Autism Chronicles: Self-Injury Hurts Everyone
At the beginning of the school year, Charlie had some big issues. We got regular reports that he was biting and hitting his teacher and aides. This isn’t an uncommon behavior with non-verbal children, but we only saw it at home when he was extremely frustrated, angry or in pain. It wasn’t a regular occurrence, so the fact that he was doing it at school was troubling. New town, new home, new school – new acting out. I, of course, felt super guilty for bringing them down here and his obvious dislike of the situation. We worried they were going to kick him out of school, that he was going to seriously injure someone, that maybe something bad was happening at school to trigger this behavior. Check out news stories of abuse in schools against autistic students – it’s absolutely horrifying how frequent and severe it is.
Luckily, this behavior settled down after a couple of weeks. A combination of Charlie getting used to the teachers, teachers getting used to Charlie, and vast quantities of pepperoni to get him to do as asked. He began getting more and more positive reports, he came home with crafts projects and started using utensils when he ate. There was an outburst every once in a while, but quickly diffused without injury to anyone. We were feeling pretty good, this experiment was working, we were a functional, happy family.