My 5 years old girl has started to lick her hands and I have not idea why. Sometimes she only licks her hands, other times she licks her hands and touches her ears and others she licks her index fingers in each hand and touches her eyes. She normally says that it is because she is hot. I really don't know what to do. I am very concern this could be a tic or some type of behavior. I have noticed that it often occurs more when she gets anxious, nervous or over excited. Do you have any idea what could this be? Who can I see? I have mention it to my pediatrician but she couldn't give me a answer for this. I have also mention it to our neurologist (my daughter has been diagnosed with complex stereotypies) but it seems that no one pays any attention to what I am saying. I feel very frustrated because I know that the sooner she gets treatment the best will be for her.
The behavior may well be one manifestation of the stereotypic movement disorder with which your daughter has been diagnosed. Such stereotypies are different from tics and tend to be rather chronic. They can be seen in some disorders such as retardation and autism, but children without such disorders can display them as well. Sometimes a sensory integration component can be present, and it might be useful to rule this out by arranging an evaluation with an Occupational Therapist.
Hi there, this is not a professional answer, but just from experience, my son started doing that from an early age too. He is a highly sensitive person, and doesn't like to have dirty hands, but because he washed them regularly (not compulsively), his hands were constantly dry (like normal), and he told me he hated the dry feeling that's why he licked his fingers. I started putting camphor cream on his hands, and his hand licking habit has stopped since then.
Listen to your daughter, it sounds like she really is just hot, and cool wet fingers are giving her some relief.
Perhaps you could give her a cool face pack, the kind that you keep in the fridge, or a cool wet facecloth and suggest she uses that instead of licking her fingers.
Thank you for your answer. My daughter has been diagnosed too with Sensory Integration Dysfunction and she has been seeing an OT for almost 2 years. However, even her OT is concern about this new behavior. She does not think is a sensory issue. Is there anyone else I can consult? (just for your information too my daughter has also been diagnosed with Dyspraxia). Thanks.
Thank you so much. My daughter is very sensitive too, but she is not washing her hands all the time. I do believe she feels hot, but I am concern that her body is not regulating properly the heat factor. The thing is that she is only hot in her hands, feet, eyes and ears and nobody seems to know why is this. As a mother, I know there is something wrong, just that instinct, but I cannot find answers yet. I have tried giving her some wet towel, but not luck.
The behavior is definitely not a tic, and her explanation probably does not really mean anything. In other words, often when we ask young children why they are doing something they offer a 'reason', but it is only something they say because it's expected they reply. There is often no substance to the reply. I think you already have the answer - she displays complex motor stereotypies and this is one of those behaviors.
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