This Behavior Is Heart-Wrenching, And Can Seem Impossible To Manage — But This Teacher Found A WayC. Dixon
Logan has autism, and he began engaging in self-injury behavior (SIB) when he was six years old — two months after his father was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Logan and his sister Tatum are both on the autism spectrum, and his aunt is their personal care assistant (PCA). She takes care of them every day, and as a film student, is aiming to educate the world on autism.
Special education teacher Julie Miller-Hays worked with Logan on reducing his self-injury behaviors for years. She got him to the point where he had to wear his helmet only minimally, substituting the helmet for a hat. She says that the SIB stems from some sort of trigger, and she believes that old behaviors can be rerouted.
“The bottom line that I’ve seen — and they may say it’s sensory, they may say it’s this — is that at some time they got where their brain didn’t help them understand how to do things with their hands, with their mind, with their body. That then had them do things that they got some sort of feeling or some sort of emotion,” Miller-Hays says. “And then, if it wasn’t redirected really early by keeping them entertained or using their hands, or having a different way to deal with a situation that they found stressful, it became a habit. And I don’t know if it’s a sensory thing necessarily as much as maybe their neurons. Like with Logan, I had to start looking at him and he had no use of his hands — everything was an infantile grasp or a hit at things.” So she began to teach him to redirect, to keep his head up, and to use his hands in a different manner.
After Miller-Hays stopped working with Logan, he regressed. His aunt is hoping that this video will help teachers, caregivers, and parents who have tried everything to stop SIB — and she’s hoping that his new teachers will get Logan back to where he was with Miller-Hays.
Watch the video to learn more about Miller-Hays’ methods. You’ll see Logan exhibit a variety of behaviors and in turn, get redirected.