I am fairly new to the forum and hoping someone might have the same experiences as we do. Sorry for the long post but I think it gives a clear picture of what we are facing.
My 8yo son has no diagnosis of ASD but it has been suggested to us by GPs and the SENCO at school. However, know one is over fussed by it as he is very bright and causes no problems at school. The only concern that the school has is his sensitivity to pain.
Over the last 4 years there has been a number of incidences where he has hurt himself and not told anyone as he says it doesn't hurt. It's only been the visible bump on his head that we know he has done it. He's most recent bump to the back of his head he cut it open and it was only when he started feeling sick at school they checked him over and found the cut. When asked why he didn't tell anyone he said it didn't hurt when he did it so didn't go to medical. This resulted in a trip to A&E and a suspected mild concussion.
Other incidences include extremely bad ear infections where they think he may have even perforated both ear drums. We only knew there was a problem when he became very poorly. He never complained once that his ears hurt. After this we knew what to look out for and he has had a couple more since. At the moment he has a bad case of tonsillitis again not complaining of a sore throat just a head ache.
The opposite can be said however, to small things such as a paper cut or catching himself on a pin. He will scream out in pain and sob uncontrollably until it is dealt with and insist on having a plaster on it as it hurts so much (even if there is no blood drawn).
I was wondering if anyone else has dealt with this and how do you help your child to recognise this and deal with it them selves.
Thanks for taking the time to read I appreciate any help you can give.
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I wonder if his sensitivity to pain depends on the type of pain he is experiencing e.g. he could be hypo-sensitive to throbbing pain but hyper-sensitive to stinging pain (hence his demands for plasters). Alternatively, he may be particularly averse to cuts or like plasters, hence the different response there. It’s unusual in my experience (I’m an autistic adult) to be both over and under sensitive to something, but types of pain can be very different.
In terms of the lack of reporting of injuries or illnesses, if your son isn’t feeling the associated pain then it’s going to be difficult/impossible to get him to communicate such issues. What you could try though is encouraging him to report if things feel ‘different’, if he falls at school, and keep a close eye out for any signs of injury. Beyond that I’m afraid I’m out of suggestions.
It’s not uncommon for us autistics to miss serious injuries/illnesses until later due to not feeling pain, but it’s just one of those things unfortunately. The best I have found to do is to know my body well and what feels normal for me, and then I can at least say something doesn’t feel right, even if I can’t say why or how.
'It’s unusual in my experience (I’m an autistic adult) to be both over and under sensitive to something, but types of pain can be very different.'
I am an autistic adult and have both. Meaning I always have some kind of pain somewhere and at the same time I've got bruises that I don't remember getting. Also I hardly feel whether things are hot by feeling with my hands (can lift hot dishes or pans) - but cannot eat warm soup as I'll burn my tongue instantly.
Another example: I had acute appendicitis and the thing almost burst but I didn't consider the pain that bad really. And I've been in hospital on a painkiller drip and forgot to use it because I didn't consider the pain unbearable. And I should have (apparently).
It's really strange. And impractical as you end up bleeding but don't feel it.
For the son: maybe you can teach him some awareness. There are therapies like Caesar therapy and Mensendieck therapy which create awareness of the body. I think it is suitsble for kids as well from what I can remember.
That’s interesting, thanks for sharing your experience - as I mentioned, I wondered if it was possible to be both hypo and hyper sensitive to pain. But as I say, for myself I’m just hypo-sensitive to all types of pain (I also refused all painkillers in hospital following surgery as I wasn’t in pain, but the nurses kept telling me that I must be!).
Different sensitivity to different kinds of pain matches my experience, too. Any kind of headache, banging my head, or the slightest sign that I have a migraine coming on (or, erm, a hangover), and I'm like a whimpering child, curled up in bed, and completely unable to function. Yet I can walk for miles when the blisters on my feet have blisters on their blisters, and have needed emergency dental surgery for abscesses which I've found uncomfortable, but nothing like the excruciating pain that most people describe.