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Old 08-09-2009, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, Wa
63 posts, read 222,748 times
Reputation: 32

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Hello,

My son is 7yrs old. My husband is out of town for the second time this month. I had noticed toward the end of the school year that when my son was feeling anxious he was pulling at his hair. Now months later my husband went out of town for the second time this month. This is unusual for him. My son has been pulling at his hair so much now that he has a small bald spot. Telling him to stop does not help. I just cut his hair very short hoping it will deter him. I feel badly cutting his hair when he is this anxious because he hates it. Of course it does not seem to be slowing him down in the hair pulling. I have tried getting him some sensory toys, tried keeping him busy and taken him to some of his favorite places. I feel so bad for him I feel like I am going to lose it myself. I just want to cry when I see him like this. Not to mention I am hoping he will stop and his bald spot will be gone when he goes back to school in a few weeks. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Change usually does not bother him. I am so worried.
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:50 PM
 
3,737 posts, read 9,573,155 times
Reputation: 6958
I wonder if this is a circular problem. Son getting anxious for some reason, mother becoming worried and anxious over the changes, son reacting and getting more anxious, and on and on.

If hair is the issue, have it cut short. This is reasonable and understandable. This is not the end of the world or a health or safety issue. Boy, it could be so much worse. Just stay calm and assertive and keep doing the things you are doing.

I sucked my thumb for many years when anxious and there was nothing anyone could do. It was not a health or safety issue. There are so many other issues to work on.
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:37 AM
 
Location: 89074
500 posts, read 612,327 times
Reputation: 850
My dd with autism can also be very anxious. I have started her in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and it is beginning to help her with identifying feelings and emotions, and their connections to our actions and thoughts. I am doing mine through a local university's autism center. Perhaps you have something like that in your area. If not, many child psychologists specialize in CBT, though I would look for someone who has experience working with children on the spectrum.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:19 AM
 
Location: following the wind of change
2,279 posts, read 3,490,871 times
Reputation: 4377
I'm with LVKim there. Have him looked at by a child psychologist that specializes with the spectrum. And ask him/her what you can do at your end to minimize it. I think, also, like the other poster stated..the anxiety cycle perpetuates when he sees you anxious and that makes him more anxious therefore increasing in his hair pulling. That's just my opinion. Maybe if you can gather yourself somewhere else so you can be calm before you deal with him again, if he sees that it might lessen his anxiety. It's got to be a sensory thing where he's more immune to the infliction of pain than the sensation of the hair pull. But yes, talk to a specialist and figure out what you need to do at your end to minimize then stop that routine.
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Birmingham
756 posts, read 1,711,510 times
Reputation: 924
The next time your husband plans on going out of town, can you prempt some of this? I don't know your son's level of autism, but perhaps this will help:

Make a calander - or let him and Daddy make it showing the days he will be away.
Have a special time set up to call Daddy and let your son place the call at the same time every day.
Daddy and He should plan something upon his arrival - such as, when I get home we will play that game you like or go for a walk at your favorite park etc. This will give him something to look forward to.

It has helped my son when his father (he loves dearly and plays with everyday) is out of town. My son wouldn't pull his hair but, wouldn't sleep and would sit in one place like he was frozen.
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:06 PM
 
33 posts, read 87,934 times
Reputation: 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by OcularBeauty View Post
Hello,

My son is 7yrs old. My husband is out of town for the second time this month. I had noticed toward the end of the school year that when my son was feeling anxious he was pulling at his hair. Now months later my husband went out of town for the second time this month. This is unusual for him. My son has been pulling at his hair so much now that he has a small bald spot. Telling him to stop does not help. I just cut his hair very short hoping it will deter him. I feel badly cutting his hair when he is this anxious because he hates it. Of course it does not seem to be slowing him down in the hair pulling. I have tried getting him some sensory toys, tried keeping him busy and taken him to some of his favorite places. I feel so bad for him I feel like I am going to lose it myself. I just want to cry when I see him like this. Not to mention I am hoping he will stop and his bald spot will be gone when he goes back to school in a few weeks. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Change usually does not bother him. I am so worried.
Take him to the doctor and get medication for anxiety for him. This should have been done long enough before school started so he could have gotten used to the meds. All dont work for children. I experimented with several with my grandson. His doctor also ordered an ekg to rule out any heart problems should he have to take stimulants. Be very patient with him. Life goes on. Let him know he is to do the best he can do. And let his teacher know to not tell him to hurry up when doing his work!! Don't worry about being called part of the problem. Those people who do will not do anything for your child. Still, make sure you let your son gain independence from you as you go on. Blessings.
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Old 11-10-2010, 12:08 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,612 times
Reputation: 10
One of the basic underlying characteristics of autism is the need for sameness and repetition. I believe this is a pervasive trait that infiltraits all aspects of life for an individual with an ASD. I agree with the previous post, "Be very patient with him. Life goes on. Let him know he is to do the best he can do." Try not to focus on the problem (the need for sameness - your husband not being there) but his rection to it (the hair pulling). I would try to stop the hair pulling at every moment -when in your presence, but do it in a non-descipt manner. Pull his hand away from his head when he tries it but don't show your own anxiety or stress for him. Don't talk about your husband being away and don't focus on his anxiety or yours. Calendars and notices as to when he will be away/at home will draw more attention to his anxiety not alieviate it. Add some other structure to his day that he might focus on, i.e, a special routine that he can look forward to the same time everyday. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-14-2010, 07:27 PM
 
48 posts, read 95,425 times
Reputation: 90
Anxiety can be common in kids with ASD...CBT may be the answer plus some medication. I hope you can find the solution soon!
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