Sunday, July 04, 2010

Déjà Vu All Over Again.

When I was a kid I got a few really bad sun burns. As in, need to a see a doctor, hurts to breathe, stay in bed kind of sun burns. They usually happened as a result of me swimming for hours on end and refusing to get out of the pool. I suppose the fact that I'm about as fair as Snow White and I was in the Dominican Republic didn't help. (There are pictures of me burnt to a crisp, cradling a pineapple in each arm somewhere, but I can't find them so you're out of luck.) But as a result, we're really careful with the kids - dousing them with SPF 60 whenever they are outside. They love that a lot.

One of the things Max does (and this behaviour comes and goes) is wipe his face over and over with the back of his hand. It causes his face to become so raw that it bleeds. One of his therapists reported to us that in a 3 hour period, he wiped his face over 200 times. It's heartbreaking to see his face after a day of this.
We combat this by applying zinc once Max falls asleep. I had to wear zinc on my face when I was a kid, so I know it sucks and I don't blame him for hating it. He seems to know, even when he's sleeping that I'm applying it. Thing is, it really works, and by the morning his face looks a lot better.
The challenge, of course, is that if he falls asleep on the couch, I have to carry him upstairs, and by the time I get him in his bed, we're both covered in the stuff. Good thing he's cute!
One of Max's therapists has figured out that if we wipe zinc on the back of Max's hands, when he wipes his face, he actually wipes zinc on his nose and cheeks, which both helps heal his face and stops him from wiping, because he doesn't like the zinc. Max is so friggin' bright, it's nice to outsmart him every once in a while. Also, I need to get him tested for allergies as it may not be a coincidence that at the very time my allergies are going nuts, he's wiping his nose mother like son, perhaps.


  1. Update: he has outsmarted us once when we put zinc on his hand he gives us a dirty look and wipes his hand on his pants, then wipes his face. Smartass.

  2. Anonymous12:48 p.m.

    Been there done that (BIG TIME), I know these types of issues are very hard to work with, I wish you and young Max the best. The challenge to stopping our son (ASD) was to find the functional cause and replace the behavior, it took us three months but worth the effort. I suggest getting alergies looked at since this was a trigger for our son. We resolved the alergy issue (as best as can be done for alergies that is and then redirected the behavior, post alergy the behavior was so ingrained it became a stim, the function of the original behavior was to seek relief of irritation and after that to express angst, I kid you not we redirected [to bounce a ball] our son 63,432 times). Our developmental pediatrician said it best - we blame everything on the ASD condition to the (unintentional) exclusion of medical reasons. Our son has (now easily controlled) an alergy to flower pollen and when removed many negative behaviors disappeared, with the redirection the behavior ended. I do not know if this is young Max's case but one worth investigating since the behavior is similar.