Self Injury as Alternative Communication: Bridging Behavior and Biology Matt, a 10-year-old living at home and attending a special education classroom for students with intellectual impairments in a public school, spends much of his waking hours biting his hands, arms, and legs, scratching and pinching his face, and banging his head against hard surfaces like desks and doors. ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2001
Self Injury as Alternative Communication: Bridging Behavior and Biology
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Frank J. Symons
    Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Article Information
Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2001
Self Injury as Alternative Communication: Bridging Behavior and Biology
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, March 2001, Vol. 10, 3-5. doi:10.1044/aac10.1.3
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, March 2001, Vol. 10, 3-5. doi:10.1044/aac10.1.3
Matt, a 10-year-old living at home and attending a special education classroom for students with intellectual impairments in a public school, spends much of his waking hours biting his hands, arms, and legs, scratching and pinching his face, and banging his head against hard surfaces like desks and doors. Sometimes he draws blood, and permanent scarring is evident on his hands and wrists. Matt has been injuring himself like this since he was approximately 3 years old. Nothing has consistently reduced Matt’s self-injurious behavior, and his parents and teachers are desperate for help to prevent him from continuing to harm himself. Children like Matt are among the most disturbing and difficult clinical and scientific puzzles. Self-injurious behavior (SIB) is one of the most devastating behavior problems faced by children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. It appears that about one in five persons with mental retardation self-injure at some point in their lives. The most common forms of self-injury include head banging, self-biting, self-slapping or hitting, scratching, kicking, pinching, hair pulling, and poking eyes, nose, or ears.
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