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Hand sucking and licking

My son is three and diagnosed with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Recently he has turned to sucking and licking his hands which could possibly be described as a stim because he does it all the time when he is either anxious, scared, upset or does not get his own way.  It seems to be a tactile sersory issue as most of his A typical sensory concerns are oral.  Groaning, screaming, having extreemly narrow food preferences and now licking his mouth, arms and sucking his fingers.  As a result from the licking etc, my son is presenting with a social negative odor.

Does any one else experience this and what have people done to manage it.  If it calms him down when he is anxious or upset, I wonder if I am doing the right thing to discourage it.  I am not happy with the idea I read on the internet with giving him a chew toy to suck on in its place.  Please share if you experience this and perhaps whether you have had any success in managing it.  Thank you kindly.
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365714 tn?1292199108
I had that problem as a child and I still do (although I don't lick my hands because I've found a substitiute)

I used to lick my hands to keep them moist. My hands (and skin in general) is always a bit dry and itchy.  For some reason it's worse on my hands. They'd get so chapped they'd bleed, but the more I licked them the worse they got... I switched over to running my hands under water and then later to using hand lotion.

I use hand lotion now and on a rather constant basis. I should seriously consider taking stock in the Suave company, lol.

I find their natural oatmeal to be one of the best lotions I've used. It leaves my hands feeling smooth, no gritty abrasion, and it is fragrance free.
Helpful - 3
2 Comments
Thank you MJIthewriter. This was very helpful. My son was doing this, and I couldn't figure it out. He couldn't tell me why he was doing it. After I read this, I told him that I thought he was doing it because his hands were dry and he was trying to put moisture in them.. you could see his wheels turning, and he was like, yeah.. and made the non-verbal expressions and nodded to say.. yeah that sounds about right.. then allowed me to use lotion on his hands. He hates lotion, but he realized his hands were dry... and he needed to moisturize them. Thank you... I wouldn't have figured this out on my own. <3
My hands were always chapped as a child and would bleed as well.
I'm going to try the lotion you are using for my son. Maybe he will like it better.
:) Thanks again.
401219 tn?1205879481
I have worked with children with similar issues.  One thing that has shown some success has been to have a  "mouth basket" full of things for your son to eat/suck/lick instead of his hand.  The basket could contain lolipops for your child to suck on or other hard candy if you are comfortable with that.  Also, you could have some things that encourage sustained chewing such as Starburst candy, Laffy taffy or gum.  Other options could be pretzels or other crunchy food that give input in terms of his mouth.  Have you ever hear of Pop Rocks candy?  That is another option that has worked well with children who exhibit this behavior.  Chew toys can have similar effects too.  Do you have a speech therapist or occupational therapist on the issue?  They may have suggestions on this too.
Helpful - 2
1 Comments
thanks for this information.
127529 tn?1331840780
My son had similar issues and still does it from time to time. We had great success with a "chew tube" given to him by his OT, he used it a lot at first but now not so much (he is nearly 6 now)
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Horrible dangerous advice from Angela77. Please do not give your children choking hazards. Go see a doctor who graduated from college and is qualified to advise you.
Helpful - 0
371143 tn?1229866260
hi i just wanted to let you know, i have this issue with my son, the finger sucking and hand licking.  He licks the palms of his hands and sucks his 4 fingers.  Please email me at ***@****.  I would love to talk to you about it.  thanks
Helpful - 0

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