Don’t know how to deal with this

My son is 15 and has special needs....adhd, autism and learning difficulties. He started scratching his arms and hands in August of this year so I am quite new to all this. He is also feeling down and depressed . He has been quite open about the self harming from the start and is already receiving counselling. It’s really freaking me out though and affecting my mental health. I just don’t know how to handle it when he scratches himself. It breaks my heart looking at the scratches. Any advice would be most welcome.

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  • Jess

    Supporting a child with additional needs is incredibly demanding, frustrating and exhausting - let alone when they harm as well. Self harm for those on the autistic spectrum is very common sadly; often because they are struggling to find words to express pain, discomfort and sadness - i wonder what non verbal ways you use in your home to help him? Perhaps coloured wrist bands? Emojis? Song lyrics? Art?

    Finding the thing he connects with that gives expression to his feelings will reduce his harming. Perhaps items to hold, pull, even bite at times of frustration might help? Also, have you read our page about Autism and self-harm? https://www.selfharm.co.uk/parents/info/the-facts/autism-and-self-harm

    From Jo, Alumina Manager