Skin Picking, Phobias, & Other

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by jennd23, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    Last week I noticed a raw area on my son's hand. I asked him what happened, he said it was a freckle, but he picked it off. (ouch) I "inspected" him during his bath and noticed a couple of other places. I just said freckles are just part of our skin and there's no reason to pick them off. And left it at that. Then I was thinking about it and a while ago (months/yearish) he had a scab that wouldn't heal because he kept picking at it. I really never thought anything of it.

    But now that he's started to pick at freckles it makes me curious. I know that some people pick at their skin, but why? Is it a stress thing? Anxiety? He just likes to do it? Which doctor should I bring it up with, if at all? What should I be doing to address it with him? He's only 6 but emotionally a lot younger.

    I am also curious how you address your kids fears/phobias? My guy is terrified of bugs. There have been several times when one's gotten in the house and you would think the devil himself was standing in front of the kid. He gets completely hysterical and can not get control of himself, usually he'll lay down on the couch or I'll let him lay in my bed and he'll cry himself to sleep, but do you have any suggestions on how I can work with him on being less afraid of them?

    And along the fears, he hates to be alone. Hates it. He will sleep in his room, but only if I leave the lights on under his bed (its a half bunk/small loft style), his closet light, his bathroom, and the hallway light on, oh, and a lamp in the living room when I go to bed. That sounds more like a fear of the dark, which he also has, but I can not get this child to stay alone in a room for two minutes.

    Its like when you have an infant and you sit them in front of the shower so you can bathe. I can't even go into the bathroom for any length of time with out him freaking out about being alone in the attached bedroom. I can't use a time out or "take a break in your room" technique because he is too scared to go there alone. Sometimes we BOTH need a time out but I can't even get one because that would mean he would be alone. We've tried a time out in the living room, with him on one couch and me on the other but he can't seem to regain control if I'm in there with him. A lot of times he ends up tantruming himself to sleep which sounds ok but then he wakes up and I can't get him to bed on time (which causes the morning to suck even more lol).

    As if this isn't long enough another issue I'm having is punishment or even strict speaking. I can't say anything with out him saying to "stop yelling at him" to be fair, I'm honestly not yelling, and rarely even using a harsh tone. But this morning he clipped a hair thing on my ear (just being silly but it really hurt). I just simply said "hey bud, that hurt, please don't do that" and he reacts by screaming and crying "STOP YELLING AT ME" I do yell sometimes (not my best parenting moments) but 99% of the time, I don't. I try to use positive and earn rewards instead of negative consequences but it wears me out when I can't even say "you're hurting me" with out him getting out of control yelling, screaming, throwing things. The other day he was playing his video game before breakfast and getting dressed. I reminded him that we don't do that and he needed to get dressed to earn his token. He told me "YOU don't take away my games" and hurled the DS at me. Then in the car (same morning) I set his shoes next to him and said "ok, time to get shoes on then you can have the DS" he hurled the shoe at me and said "its time for YOU to put YOUR shoes on" I get so annoyed by that. We never talked back to our parents like that and I know he's different than we were but ugh, it drives me nuts and yet I have no idea what to do about it. I can't even say anything to him because he will just start yelling about what I'm doing wrong and its just so draining that a lot of times I just ignore it or say "we don't throw things in this family" or like in the car "stop throwing things at me and put your shoes on" Obviously this isn't effective but I don't know what else to do with him? I don't know how to effectively discipline him. He doesn't even seem to feel sorry for it later. Its never a "sorry I threw my ds at you" its "how dare you even think about taking that from me". I'm just drained. And if you made it through the marathon post, I appreciate it. I didn't mean to be so long winded.

    I just don't know what I'm supposed to be doing with him....
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to the board. Sorry you have to be here.

    I have a son who was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified and children like this are different. No, they do not act like we did when were kids or like their peers and require a special sort of parenting. You may want to call your local autism society to see if there is a parent group nearby. Even an online group formed by parents who have traveled this path already are probably a great source of help for the difficult behaviors that these children give us...and the problems that they face.

    Does he have an IEP in place in school? It sounds like he probably has sensory issues, which is par for the course for any form of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Our son got PT at school as well as Occupational Therapist (OT). That helped him with his sensory stuff. He also had other interventions which helped him with other issues. How does he behave in school? Does he have any little friends? (My son was always very good in school).

    I found that not making direct orders helped with my son. Rather than "Put your shoes on" I'd suggest "It would be nice if you'd put your shoes on" and then let it go until he had to do it. Usually he would do it at the last minute, but my son, at least, would eventually do it. I am sorry, but not sure what to do with the talking back...this my son did not do. If he was upset with me, he would just cry, which was easier to deal with. But others will come along to help. Remember, he has Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified so regular, common sense strategies do not always work with our kids, which is why I suggested getting in touch with a group of parents who are raising similar children.

    Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids tend to mellow out with age. Does your little guy still have trouble expressing himself? That can cause a great deal of frustration. We just recently saw a great neuropsychologist who explained to us that children on any part of the autism spectrum have a lower threshold for frustration.

    ADHD is part and parcel to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Almost all Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) children also have trouble sustaining focus. However, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids can also be sensitive to medication. My son is off all medications and is actually better without them. This doesn't suggest that you should remove his medications. I just wanted to pass along what I was told...that many Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) children react strangely to medication...not the way the doctors hope or expect.

    Try the Autism Society and see if you can find people you can talk to in real time, who understand and will not judge you. That has been a lifesaver for hub and me.
  3. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    Thanks Midwest Mom, I have been to a local parents group a couple of times but its only once a month, I have gotten phone numbers, email addresses, etc and tried to get together with them outside of the monthly meeting but it never seems to work out. I enjoy the group but it always seems like there's one person who takes over the meeting and no one else gets a word in edgewise :)

    He does very well academically in school. All "M"s (for mastery, they don't use A, B, C, etc or numbers until higher grades) in all subjects, he is also in the Gifted & Talented program at school. I posted on the education board because I am fighting tooth and nail with the school right now. He isn't getting any services and only has a 504 with insignificant things like "teacher will touch his shoulder to get attention" etc. No sevices, etc. They recently called and said they'd finished their Autism evaluation and he doesn't have it ;) He does not have friends and has serious social problems at school.

    He has a lot of trouble expressing himself and I know he gets frustrated with that (I do too!) I just don't know how to help him. He was in speech but my insurance doesn't cover it and my flex account ran out and he isn't getting anything at school so he's kind of on hold with that.

    I have been thinking more and more about trying him off medications to see how he does. My biggest reason for wanting to do this is that even with all the other struggles we have, he has clearly told me that he hates taking medications and he thinks he doesn't need them. There have been times when he has hidden his morning pill and then I find it later (after school) and he had a great day at school, so I really do wonder if he could manage long term. And from reading here I wonder if ADHD is even an appropriate diagnosis or if its more related to the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
  4. Peace Please

    Peace Please New Member

    Has your son every been evaluated for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? The picking at skin and phobias sound exactly like I was at that age. I was not diagnosed until I was 19, after I left home for college and fell apart, but my psychiatrist says that I have probably had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) my entire life. I chewed the skin off the ends of my fingers to the point of drawing blood. I scratched my scalp so much, clumps of hair were falling out. I have now learned that I was doing these things because of the anxiety I was feeling with no way of alleviating it. I was also VERY afraid of a lot of things. Sleeping in my room alone, being alone at all, dirt, germs, spiders, snakes, the dark, etc, etc... Mainly, the phobias were because of unrealistic fears going through my mind (the nature of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) beast). I thought there was a monster in my closet, every spider or snake was deadly poisonous, germs or dirt could get inside me and make me sick or kill me. Have you asked him why he is afraid of certain things?

    I'm sorry I don't have advice regarding the other behavior. I'm still learning about oppositional behavior and tantrums and how to deal with those in my DF's DS. Hang in there.
  5. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    Interesting, Peace. To be completely honest, I'm not exactly sure what he was tested FOR. I just know he spent all day at the neuropsychologist and she came back with the ADHD, ODD, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnosises. Would that be something I would take him back for and ask them to specifically evaluate for that?

    I have asked him why but I don't know if he doesn't know why or if he can't express it. He will usually respond with an "I don't know". I'll ask "is it because they might bite?" "yes" "well, did you know that flys can't bite? They can't even hurt us!" To be honest in the moment when he's freaking out I don't even try to talk except to say "its gone, I killed it (or put it outside), you're ok, i'm right here" and otherwise I stay quiet.
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Question... did the school evaluate him and decide he doesn't have autism?

    If so... I would insist on an independent evaluation. Many schools will say a child does not have a problem so they do not have to provide services under IDEA/FAPE.

    And to build on that - just because he doesn't "have" autism does not mean he's not somewhere on the spectrum.

    I have a strong suspicion that I am high on the spectrum, myself. Never diagnosis'd. It's rarely what you saw in "Rain Man". That was an extreme example, good for the movies.

    And on that note... I still have issues with skin picking. My cuticles, certainly. Any acne (worst thing you can do, and what do I do?!)... Scabs of any kind. Bumps.

    Phobias - not many that are irrational... But Onyxx has those. The neon tetras in the aquarium want to eat her - she won't go NEAR the aquarium - she's squashes spiders bigger than these fish. Her other ones, though, come and go and morph a lot.

    PS - just saw your other post - pervasive developmental disorder and autism spectrum disorder are interchangeable to some...

    I have a question about the bugs, can you maybe find some in a book to look at, and then give him some power over them? For instance, you kill them, but let him use a broom to sweep them out the door, or flush them...?
  7. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    Initially I had him evaluated (and got the results in my sig), when I pushed for services I was told the school has to do their own evaluation. The school evaluation team does not think he is on the spectrum. I have hired an advocate and our plan now is to insist on the independent evaluation (even though I've already done one and that chaps my booty :) )

    I have been using Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) interchangably, sorry if that's confused anyone!

    That's a good idea on giving him some control over them. I'll have to think about that one. its very rare when bugs come IN because I am diligent about spraying to avoid the stress on him, but sometimes they just come in, you know!

    Do you not see a reason to be concerned about the picking? I wasn't sure if it was more of anxiety thing to be watching for or because he's not great at washing his hands, infection, etc.?
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Re: picking... hands only? if so, any chance it could be paper cuts? difficult child wouldn't get cut on purpose (didn't have to - got enough as it was!) but would pick at any cut - so, ditto on sores taking forever to heal.
  9. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    It sounds like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) to me. You might like to read the yahoo group for parents with kids with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

    My daughter was seeing a therapist and had a neuropsychologist exam but I had to figure out her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) myself and take her to a someone that specialized in it.

    Do some research on CBT and ERP (exposure response prevention) for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

    It worked for my daughter when she was afraid to be by herself.
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I had a huge response typed out, almost done and our power flickered. GRRR!

    I use Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) mostly interchangeably - so feel free. I may be wrong.

    Get the advocate to push for using the evaluation you already have. Unless the school PAYS for the independent evaluation. Take it to the state board of education if you need to. Seriously.

    And the picking? As long as it's minor... I wouldn't worry too much. Just make sure he knows it WILL scar.
  11. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    I am pretty sure he's just picking at freckles or other random injuries, they're on the backs of his hands and on his arms.

    Thanks for the other suggestiongs with-the advocate and research items! I'm sending her an email and heading off to google :)
  12. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    I agree that the picking sounds like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). My son's picking (at his hands and feet) is well controlled with a low dose of imipramine (a tricyclic antidepressant).