Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Expert Forum
Head shaking in a 6 year old
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Head shaking in a 6 year old

I wonder if anyone can possibly help. Roughly four to six months ago my son started shaking his head from side to side. I took him to our GP who referred him for an MRI scan. This scan was totally clear and we were told that if symptoms persist we should have a CAT scan in two weeks time. His symptoms are no better and it is really knocking his confidance. He is totally unaware that he is doing it most of the time, however, when I ask him about it he says it hurts if he does not "nod"
Any suggestions would be so helpful to me just now. Thank you in advance.
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The behavior you describe is certainly unusual in an otherwise typically developing child.  The first thing to do is follow your doctor’s recommendation for further assessment.  If there is no medical cause for the behavior then I suggest that you try to find a Board Certified Behavior Analyst to help you with the problem.  You can go to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s website (http://www.bacb.com/) to see if there is one where you live; or at least to see what types of qualifications you should be looking for in someone to help you.  It isn’t really possible to make a suggestion for any type of intervention without actually seeing your son and also asking more questions.  A behavior analyst will try and determine the function of the behavior rather than being so concerned about the form.  That is, examining the circumstances that surround the behavior and considering if there are consequences to the behavior that may be changed.  If your son is troubled by the behavior then he may be a candidate for some self-monitoring procedures that are often helpful in addressing behaviors like the one you describe.  
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Jason C Bourret, Ph.D., BCBA-DBlank
The New England Center for Children
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