Toddler Head Banging, Please Help!!
by Shannon R.
Hi everyone! I have a 23 month old daughter who is very high needs and always has been. She is not diagnosed with autism or SPD that I know of (will be asking her ped at 2 yr check appt in March about this) however, my husband and I have always suspected something is not right with her as we have had a rough time since day one & she has sensory issues that myself and my family have observed.
She had severe reflux from birth that lasted over a year, and has always been a poor sleeper. She wakes with night terrors screaming and crying and sometimes throwing a violent temper tantrum upon waking where she will bang her head on the wall or physically hurt my husband and I. She has had night terrors since a year old, maybe longer. Her ped said that it was normal & she will outgrow it, but I don't know anymore. It's easy to say for someone who doesn't have to live with it you know what I mean?
She has also been in this horrible habit of banging her head against walls, the floor, our glass patio, us, the fishtank, mirrors etc. whenever she gets mad or we tell her no. Sometimes it's over a toy getting stuck or something not opening...very trivial things. We told her ped at her 18 month check up about it & she said it's normal & to ignore it & walk away. We tried that tactic before & it ends up with her getting huge knots on her head because she will keep on repeatedly banging her head and screaming bloody murder. So, my husband and I will have to go running to stop her from running to the wall & banging her head as her head keeps getting bruises over bruises (it looks like we beat her, I hate it!)
She has been doing this constantly lately the last few months and it's driving my husband and I crazy. We try time out on the couch & she just stands up screaming & bangs her head on the wall or leaps off the couch & bangs her head on the floor or walls. I have neighbors which I've never met yet & I can only imagine
what they think is going on!
My husband and I have been getting so upset over this as we love our daughter so much & it is killing us to see her hurt herself & have this crazy stress going on all day long. I have even been trying to limit the processed foods we give her & went out & bought a bunch of organic foods hoping that maybe a food intolerance that we don't know about could be the culprit. Of course she is a picky eater & doesn't want the organic foods, just her processed crap foods.
She does drink a ton of dairy and seems OK with the dairy, but someone told me to cut it from her diet and see if that helps. She also has some sensory issues with certain textures of foods (will gag on bread like textures) and doesn't like messy hands, her sleeves have to be rolled up etc. She was in feeding therapy for a few sessions for gagging while eating & it has improved.
I am just curious if this sounds like SPD or autism to you, on the spectrum or just typical toddler behavior? She is my first, but in comparison to other toddlers I have been around Aubrey is just more and with this violent behavior something is not right to us. She is very intelligent & is always amazing us at what she knows. She has been early & right on time with milestones so some of the autism signs like not walking, crawling, pointing, talking etc. does not seem like her. She does get a bit obsessed with certain things like movie characters (Buzz, Toy Story) and likes to stack and line up toys a lot. Not sure if that is just toddler behavior or a sign? She has never slept well & seems hyperactive to us, always restless.
Is there anything I can do to help her or limit this? I am so stressed and upset over this and it's made my husband and I very frustrated to keep her from banging her head all day long. Does this sound like SPD to you? I really need some advice as this is very stressful & I don't know where to go from here, please help! Thank you!