I get asked a lot, why my daughter spends so much time at doctors or ER's. With her multitude of allergies, that are anaphylatic, more times then not, that is why, BUT there are a LOT of times when it's actually from her Autism. Not all autistic children do this, but many do. My daughter self harms.
Many people think of self harming as something depressed adults and teens do. They think its a way to get attention. That can be the case some of the time.
With Autism, however, its a way to get comfort, more times then not its for DEEP PRESSURE! My daughter NEEDS her deep pressure! She truly can NOT live without it. A weighted blanket is on my MUST buy list, as is a weighted vest for school. And a weighted lap pad for school so that its easier for her to sit and do her work. My biggest issue is that we don't make enough money to support ourselves, let alone take care of the expenses of the things that she NEEDS!
My daughter started self harming herself at about 3 months old, whens he would bang her head into things. I told her pediatrician, who brushed it off as a "normal" behaviour for a 3 month old. Seriously?! 6 months later, it was so bad that she would bang her head into the walls in her room (which under that thin drywall layer they were PURE cement), to the point of severe bumps, bruise and marks that scared the crud out of us and everyone who saw them. Doctor still brushed us off. I was worried, severely, about brain damage or internal bleeding! Literally she would bang her head for HOURS on end. Nothing I did would stop it. You could move her, she'd just go to the closest wall. You could put blankets and pillows everywhere, she would dig under them to get to the wall. She was already out a crib and had been for nearly 5 months by that point because she was a HUGE climber. Not matter what we tried, she was able to outsmart us. \
You would wake in the middle of the night, to the rhythmic BANG, BANG, BANG of her head, over and over and over again. For hours it would go on, day and night. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore, I took her to the emergency room when she gave me a scare and passed out from it. Apparently she had caused herself so much pain, she had fainted. But she NEVER shed a tear. Never showed any sign of pain.
Finally, the pediatrician sent her for a CT scan at 9 months, but if you have ever had a CT scan done, you know how loud those machines are to a adult with no trouble with sound, to my daughter who couldn't have a parent in the room, it was TORTURE! They spent over 1.5 hours TRYING to get a good scan and to no avail. They gave up, and I felt like the WORST MOM EVER for letting them torture her!
My daughter is now 5. She still self-harm's, I still don't get taken seriously about it. But I do the best I can to stay with her, to try and stop it when its happening (a lot of time it happens to her during her night terrors) & to keep her safe. I worry that there will be long term damage but I've tried everything I could so far and to no avail! I am in the process of switching her to my family doctor in another city and county. In hopes of getting her some help from someone else. Even if that means that I need to drive an hour to & from EACH appointment or longer, then so be it. If I can get her the help she needs, that's what matters!
When you know your child has severely hurt themself & you say "What hurts?" & they reply with "I don't feel the pain!", you KNOW somethings NOT right! I just wish other people, like professionals, would realize that!