Slam Stomp & Bang

Slam. Slam slam.

Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.


These have become fairly routine noises in our house, and for good. They're all noises made by Charlie, slamming the microwave over or car doors, sometimes a couple of times in a row; jumping up and down in his second-floor bedroom; smacking a cabinet SHUT. 

They're all noises made by Charlie but not with his head and that's why, even though the whole house might be shaking, we don't mind to hear them. In the not at all distant past, hearing slam, knock, bang more often than not meant that Charlie was banging his head (something he has long been able to do with a great deal of force; he was around 7 when he banged on our deck so hard that it seemed the entire house shook–I know, scarey), and that some difficult scenes were in store. 

Then, in the past year, we noted Charlie jumping and stomping. If he did this at his old (public autism program located in a public middle) school, it was considered 'inappropriate,' and it's true, it's not the sort of thing one expects to see, and hear, a 5' 8" individual do. We suspected then and continue to think, that Charlie was stomping etc. to fulfill some sort of sensory/energy release need, and I do think this is accurate. We also suspected that Charlie was doing the jumps and stomps possibly in lieu of banging his head.

And Charlie having found something else to do besides banging his head is always a good thing, in our book.

So we don't 'redirect' any of the jumps etc. at home. (Charlie doesn't seem to be doing these sorts of things so much at his current school.) I will admit that I feel a bit of a thud in my stomach when I hear any sort of banging or, indeed, feel the house rattle, as such sounds have long meant only one other thing. Since Charlie has doing his one-boy stomp-fest, there has been a lot less banging involving his head—and needless to say, that's quite all right with us.

No wonder we've a boy who, even though he didn't fall asleep till around 2am Tuesday morning, still awoke at 6.30 and was game to go on a walk with me. (The new 'short long walk' route takes just about an hour.)

Charlie on an early morning walk on a sunny day

Charlie had a good (nap-free) day at school, followed by our usual combo of a bike ride (in the afternoon) and a walk (in the evening) and hanging around the house listening to music and refrigerator-rummaging, and 'bedtime' at 9.15pm: Exercise throughout the day does seem to be a major in lessening Charlie doing other sorts of, well, 'bangy' things.

Charlie on an early evening walk with the sun setting in the west

We do have a drum or two around the house that it might indeed be well to direct Charlie to pound on instead to release that energy and to get in that vibratory sensations, but no rush. At the moment, stomping is, you could say, a sort of music to our ears. 

Walking on a 'serenus' day

13 Responses to “Slam Stomp & Bang”
  1. Jersey Mother says:

    I know exactly what you mean by hearing those banging noises with their hadns or feet rather then their head is a happy feeling. Head-banging can cause some serious injuries to the brain, such as blindness, deafness, severe brain injuries and even death.
    We have been doing pretty good with our child, and helping reduce that behavior more and more thankfully!
    There is a youtube channel, I frequent about a young girl who seems to have severe autism who head bangs, she looks to be in her teens. It shows some routes they have taken to prevent some of her head-banging, such as weighted hat? I never tried it, but know some other parents who’ve used that idea, had great success with it. Maybe something you may be interested in?

  2. emma says:

    I can actually think of a ton of reasons why jumping, slamming, banging may be appealing (I’m prone to jump about, my husband taps and bangs things). I see no reason to redirect it if it’s not dangerous or bothering others excessively.
    We had a drum, it was destroyed recently. I’m not sure how the neighbours felt about it. The big Pilates ball is a favourite for banging, makes some nice sounds and vibrations, and good for bouncing on too.
    Charlie has so much energy, it’s both surprising – and not. I guess other children his age are out playing team or “solo” sports, and in general active, out and about with friends. I’m glad he has found a way to use that energy on his walks and bike rides with you and Jim.

  3. farmwifetwo says:

    Time for a mini-trampoline? Or an exercise ball to bounce on.

  4. autismvox says:

    oh no, Charlie’s way beyond a mini trampoline and an exercise ball. We talked for a bit about a larger trampoline; may still consider it.
    no longer being in an apartment makes a huge difference! our house is 2 floors and older with a lot of wood and a basement. I think banging on a drum or feeling the vibrations from something like a bass will be other ways for ‘input.’
    thanks about the video and the weighted hat—I don’t think Charlie would keep on the latter as he’s not a ‘hat boy’! lots of exercise seems to be key in helping with the ‘head stuff’ and I’m looking ahead for what to do in colder months though I have a feeling Charlie may be all right with being out in colder temperatures, if properly ‘suited up.’
    we see lots of boys Charlie’s age at practice for lacrosse and soccer on our walks, or riding bikes and skateboarding—since he’s not able to be on the former, I do think it’s helped a lot to figure out other ways for him to use his energy. Certainly other ways than big ‘tantrums.’

  5. Barbara says:

    I had the same thought as farmwifetwo – a trampoline?

  6. Jill says:

    I like the way the cats in the video of the autistic girl take the floor slapping and the the rocking for granted. She was very gentle with the fluffy cat the walked past.

  7. autismvox says:

    I guess you could say, we haven’t really felt we need a trampoline, as Charlie has found a fine substitute! The good thing is he stomping INSTEAD of something like SIBs and we are good with wherever he chooses to stomp.
    But I am keeping the conga drum in his sights.

  8. Jennifer says:

    The stomping seems to me to be an awesome alternative behavior, to be honest. I’m surprised (though I suppose I shouldn’t be) that this was frowned upon at Charlie’s old school.
    In any event, love the info about the weighted hats. I have a boy that craves intense deep pressure on his head (he smushes people’s wrists and/or elbows into his jaw)…it’s worth a try.

  9. Club 166 says:

    Good to see that Summer’s started off with a bang at your house (couldn’t resist). 🙂

  10. autismvox says:

    @Jennifer, ah, that old school…….Charlie really liked to wear fleece hats that were a bit tight around the brims for awhile, I suspect to have some ‘pressure’ on his head. There was a brief experiment with a sweatband around his forehead; he didn’t like wearing it.
    @Club 166,
    ha, ha, ha!

  11. Jersey Mother says:

    @ Jennifer, I would contact the guy who made that video, seems he has some good ideas. I contacted him about briefly asked about the hat, but mainly to ask about those utensils he made a video of (rubber person utensils she uses to eat). My child has poor motor gross skills with his/her hands while eating, wanted to give it a go. It turns out she(the autistic girl in the video) hated hats too, but when they attempted to use the weighted hat, she ended up allowing it to stay on her head for a period of time, which did make a difference.
    I also noticed less SIB with more exercise. We tried the medication route, failed miserably as my child reacted horribly to every meds. Happier that not only my child is excerising, so am I, gave me a good chance to actually lose some weight for once ;).

  12. emma says:

    (he smushes people’s wrists and/or elbows into his jaw)
    That’s what my son does too! He won’t wear hats though.

  13. autismvox says:

    Charlie does more of really taps on people….. and he will NOT wear a hat. Only put up the hood on his coat when it was really really cold in the winter.

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