The question was posed through facebook “When a child has ADHD/ADD, disability, and etc. starts to scream, throw themselves on the ground, cries, says bad words, says anything, hits himself, pulls their hair, and etc. is it a behaviour or their disability?”
It set me thinking and my reply goes as follows: When people are very upset and stressed, often in major fear and feeling unsafe, they become very ungrounded. They will be in sensory overload, with a major dose of fight, flight or freeze. Any version of self harming is, in my experience, an attempt to create enough pain locally to distract from their chaotic experience. It may help to get them back in their body and is a learnt behaviour, manifesting as a dis_ability because they can’t control it. A simple way to detect fight or fight are any of the following:
- people’s hands and feet are often very cold
- they may walk very wobbly
- you can see in their faces that chaos has broken out in or above their head – they can even look different as loads of energy that isn’t theirs in current time, pounds their head.
If you can get them back in their body they will be better able to cope. Warming their hands or feet although it sounds too simple, can be invaluable and its worth a try and with the right skills you can also help them clear the energy that is affecting them. It is easier to clear whilst it is so well lit up. Longer term you need to find the exact trigger to this very unpleasant experience that once habitualised is more difficult to change. You will find many useful insights in Bridges to Success – How to Transform Learning Difficulties, to get you started.
Let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to follow this type of approach to empowering the individual and your family, with more insights for your particular situation. It will give you another perspective to consider and hence more choice.