Why do blind infants bang their heads?

I work with a blind infant/toddler who bangs toys, books, and other objects on his forehead. The parent wants to know why. Other than being understimulated, what may be other causes?

Topics: Behavior
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Posted by Mary on Dec 28, 2013 - 12:08pm

There are numerous possibilities for head banging ( or self- injurious behaviour) by a child. You mentioned the most common- chronic lack of appropriate stimulation but there are other possible, though far less likely reasons. I will mention a few but really the parents need to bring this to the attention of the multi- disciplinary team as it is not an issue which will go of its own accord- indeed, it will become more entrenched and violent as time progresses. 
/The child may be responding to a pain he cannot verbalise. It is always of the utmost importance to rule out physical causes first because, left untreated, improvement is impossible. 
/If the child is being given medication, self- harm may be an unwanted side-effect.
/This child may be hyper-sensitive to common stimulation; noise or touch may be unusually unpleasant for him.
/It is possible that his doctors may wish to consider that he has another, co- existing condition.
As I'm sure you are aware, the child's parents have the prerogative to approach the team to pursue a cause and treatment but if, as you say, they are concerned about the maladaptive behaviour then I'm sure they will do this. 

I doubt there is anyone who is hurt more by seeing their child hurt himself than his parents.

I want to add that it is wonderful to see someone working with a blind child finding resources and information to assist them in their work; you are obviously committed to the care of this child!

Posted by Amber Bobnar on Dec 28, 2013 - 8:36pm

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Posted by kbedsworth13 on Jan 27, 2014 - 7:26pm

My son is completely blind in both eyes and would hit his head constantly it worried myself and his father but his vision teacher reassured us it was actually normal but not to encourage it. Instead we worked on his language and sure enough when he began to communicate with us by language or simple directions he stopped banging hos head. Our son will be two soon and I'm thankful that stage is over, hopefully soon for you too. Remember your not alone this!!!!!!