Why Children with Autism Bite their Nails

Why Children with Autism Bite their Nails

Girl bites his nails enthusiastically looking left

Is your child with autism constantly biting their nails? This behavior is more common than you think in the autism community. 

In this article we will examine why children with autism bite their nails and how you can help them curb this habit. 

Why do children with autism bite their nails

It is not uncommon for children with autism to engage in repetitive behaviors such as biting their nails. 

These behaviors may be a way for children with autism to cope with stress, anxiety, or sensory overload. 

Children with autism may also bite their nails as a way to seek sensory input or as a form of self-stimulation known as stimming. 

Stimming behaviors can take many forms, including hand-flapping, rocking, spinning, biting, or nail-biting. Some stimming behaviors may be more noticeable or disruptive than others, and they may be more or less intense depending on the child and the situation. 

While your child’s habit may seem harmless there can be some negative effects.

Issues from excessive nail biting

Excessive nail biting can lead to a number of issues, including:

Damage to the nails and surrounding skin: Biting the nails can cause them to become ragged, uneven, or even painful. It can also lead to the development of hangnails or damage to the skin around the nails.

Infection: Biting the nails can introduce bacteria and other microorganisms into the mouth and can lead to the development of infections, such as abscesses or paronychia (an infection of the skin around the nails).

Social or psychological difficulties: Excessive nail biting may be perceived as a sign of anxiety or stress, and it can lead to social isolation or low self-esteem.

Dental problems: Biting the nails can put excess strain on the teeth and may lead to dental problems such as tooth fractures or misalignment.

Needless to say, most parents don’t want their children to be constantly biting their nails. Let’s examine some strategies that you can use to help stop this habit. 

How to stop your child with autism from biting their nails 

Here are a few strategies that you may find helpful in encouraging your child with autism to stop biting their nails:

Identify the triggers: Try to identify the situations or triggers that lead your child to bite their nails. This could include stress, boredom, hunger, or sensory overload. Once you have identified the triggers, you can work on strategies to address them.

Provide alternative coping strategies: Help your child develop alternative coping strategies to manage stress or anxiety. This could include deep breathing, squeezing a stress ball, or engaging in a calming activity such as coloring or playing with playdough.

Create a positive reinforcement system: Use positive reinforcement to reward your child for not biting their nails. This could include providing small treats or privileges, such as stickers or extra screen time, for every day or week that they go without biting their nails.

Cover the nails: Consider using nail polish or bandages to cover your child’s nails. This can make it more difficult for them to bite their nails and can serve as a visual reminder not to do so. 

Seek professional help: If you are unable to help your child stop biting their nails or if you are concerned about their behavior, consider seeking the help of a healthcare professional, such as an ABA therapist. They can help you understand the specific reasons for the behavior and suggest strategies for addressing it.

It is important to be patient and to recognize that it may take time for your child to break the nail-biting habit. Be sure to praise your child for their efforts and for any progress they make.

Now that you know how to stop your child from biting their nails let’s check out some products that can help.

Products that can help a child with autism from biting their nails

Mavala Stop Deterrent Nail Polish Treatment

An effective kids nail polish with an easy, no fuss, brush-on application. The bitter yet harmless taste and the appearance of clear enamel helps discourage you from putting fingers in your mouth

Nail Quail – Strong Will Anti-Nail Biting Click Pen

This ridiculously bitter formula has no smell or sheen and it dries completely invisible. It is also  safe to use as there is no lacquer, formaldehyde, parabens, or ethyl acetate. Strong Will is also certified gluten free!

Feulover Nail Biting Treatment For Kids

This nail biting treatment’s bitterness is just right but enough for most human’s taste buds and to stop them putting their fingers in their mouth. It could last 2-3 days unless removed. Additionally, the active ingredients, mainly Almond Oil, Grapeseed Oil and Lemon Oil, could repair uneven/splitting/flaking nail surfaces and stimulate nail growth.

ella+mila “No More Biting” Nail Polish

The ella+mila nail polish is formulated to effectively stop nail biting & prevent thumb sucking. This nail polish is enhanced with a harmless bitter taste that will curb your child’s biting habits. Simply apply one or two coats on the entire nail and let dry.

NIXXIT Nail Biting Treatment for Kids

NIXXIT Nail Biting Preventative will help break your child’s habit once and for all. Created by parents and former nail biters, they understand how difficult it can be to stop the habit. It is easy to apply, odor free, and non glossy. 

Fidyn No Bite Nail Polish

This polish is not too bitter to make you sick yet bitter enough to discourage you from biting your nails (or putting fingers in the mouth) ever again. The amount of the bitter substance in the product is carefully measured to suit the taste buds of most people. Effective for more than 85% of users and for those who do not see effect, they offer a hassle free full refund.

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