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night time head banging behaviour in a 31month old boy


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I have a concerned parent who has asked me for advice...I mentioned to her that on the two days he comes to us that he falls asleep by 11am every time....not a problem for us but it interferes with his nap times at home, Mum mentioned today that he has the habit of banging his head very hard on the wall just before he goes to sleep, she showed me a bald patch underneath his hair ( I had not seen it before) and asked me what to do about it! she said the health visitor told her to take away his comforter blankie! but ( and it seems obvious to me) its got worse! mum has now taken to getting him up and bringing him downstairs so that he does not wake his siblings! hence why he is falling asleep during the session! I have researched this condition and it seems its quite common, he has no developmental issues and is exactly where he should be for his age band....I was hoping some one here might have come across this behavior before, I read that supporting this love of rhythm is a good idea but will anything I provide during the day make a difference at night time? I have compiled a sheet of information for mum to have and it has lots of useful info on it about maybe trying a ticking clock, to sooth him instead of banging his head, and that he should grow out of it by the age of 3 and if possible moving his bed away from the walls....it says not to intervene and to let him do it till he is asleep but I think mum will struggle with this! any other advice would be really appreciated! thanks in advance x

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I've just goggled headbanging in children, quite fascinating.

If she wants to get a clock, I used to have a cuckoo clock which had the loudest tick imaginable, he could listen for the cuckoo too maybe.

How about suggesting he holds something that vibrates or throbs (dont google that, I just did :o :rolleyes: ) I was thinking along the lines of a bumbleball.

Just found a vibrating pillow too, www.specialneedstoys.com/uk/60-vibration

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Ouch!

 

Poor little thing and I'm not surprised that mum is concerned - must be awful for her to see him doing this.......

 

If the HV really suggested taking away his comforter she needs 'shooting' :ph34r: how on earth could that possibly help? :blink:

 

Not helpful but I do wonder if mum might be 'reinforcing' this behaviour if she responds by bringing him back downstairs......

 

Sounds like you have done a brilliant job by gathering together lots of info for her :1b

 

If he continues to do this and she is worried (who wouldn't be?) perhaps she should bypass the HV and have a chat with her GP.....

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thanks, I will feed back the info to mum on Thursday, I too think that bringing him downstairs is not helping him, love it idea of a vibrating toy! lol and that sounds wrong on a few levels! lol I was wondering if his schema when playing has anything to do with it, he is a very enthusiastic "scatterer" and will, left to his own devices empty every box,tray,tub of toys available...I am attempting to channel this into more positive experiences for him by providing lots of pouring and filling activities....I noticed today that he sits on the floor with is back against the wall with his legs stretched out, tapping his feet together in perfect time to music! he loves any shaky, sensory time resources so will advise mum to make some at home for him. thanks again x

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Just another very quick thought - he is not 'in pain' in any way is he? Are his ears OK? Have heard of children 'hurting themselves' to distract from other pain.....

 

No, I dont think so, its a comforting behavior that he seems to do before he falls asleep but I may well say to mum to get a GP to check his ears just to rule it out x

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Just found a vibrating pillow too, www.specialneedstoys.com/uk/60-vibration

 

A friend with a son with ASD with sleep problems tried this and found it worked but had a very short life exepectancy, so the benefit was limited!!

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Does the child in question have other sensory issues??

 

Ths can be a classic sign of a sensory issue....if you require more info let me know

 

not that I can see....although I assessed him for the first time last week, he was developmentally where he should be for his age in months with the exception of toileting, , having read more on rhythmic motion disorder, i watched him and he does rock from foot to foot when he first arrives in preschool. and I also noticed some very rhythmic movements during his play which I have not observed before, I am now staring to question my own assessments of him and may ask for a second opinion with a colleague, I read that this behavior may link to ADHD and this rings alarm bells, he demonstrates scattering and transporting type play and delights in emptying every thing in the setting! I am speaking to mum tomorrow so I will advise her to visit the GP and give her some of the information I have gathered, I dont want to alarm her so I will have to be careful as she is a very sensitive mum .

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I have spoken to mum, armed her with a print out of information about rhythmic movement disorder after telling her not to be alarmed about some of it ( it linked the disorder to others) and told her to rule out ear problems with the GP and not to let them fob her off! go with the print out in hand and they should listen to her! I also said try some of the hints and tips I retrieved from a parenting site first and then if she feels she needs too, take it to the GP.

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