Reading back through the notebook we used to communicate with Adrian’s teacher and therapists from his kindergarten year I found a familiar problem discussed. Pinching. This had been a problematic behavior for Adrian as far back as I can remember. It probably started when he was a toddler, when most kids move into verbal communication methods. Without being able to speak, he relied on non-verbal methods to express himself. Pinching was one of these.
The new kindergarten teacher asked me if there was anything specific we did to deal with his pinching. I explained to her that in the past we’d tried time-outs and other discipline measures without success. Reminding him to ‘touch nice’ seemed to work when he was using it as a means of getting your attention but not when he seemed to do it out a sensory or compulsory need.
For many years I had black and blue marks up and down my arms. Adrian’s been known to pinch complete strangers in crowded places. I was constantly on alert to protect myself and others from his fingers.
Today Adrian still pinches himself and others. But, in general, I think he pinches less now than he did in years past. Part of that is due to being with people that ‘get’ him and are able to respond well to his needs and wants. Part is probably just maturity and more reliance on other communication methods. Part might be the medications he takes now too.
While I wish I had some clever solution to offer to parents who are going through the worst of it now, I don’t. Best I can do is give hope that it can get better. It did for us.