One of the most difficult and challenging behaviors my daughter has is picking her skin. It is considered a self-injurious behavior. Picking is harmful and can leave sores that lead to infections.
Her behavior stems from her mental illness and is controlled somewhat with medication.
Distraction also works. We offer her activities that she can do with her hands instead of picking. We've used these two techniques—medication and distraction—to control her picking during the day.
But at night, things were getting out of control.
My daughter also has a sleep disorder, so "nighttime" and "sleep time" do not often happen at the same time. Most nights, she does not sleep for long periods of time—and while everyone else is asleep, she was harming herself with picking—picking until she caused bleeding and sores. One time, she even detached the bottom of her earlobe.
I needed to come up with something that would keep her safe at night.
I could not possibly stay up all night to watch her; sleep is way too important for daytime functioning. After trying many different things, all of them failures, one thing finally worked!
I found a zippered, footed pajama. Since that discovery, I have made her fleece pajamas for cool weather and cotton ones for warm weather. She wears them every night and they also serve as her blanket.
I added sewn-in mittens at the ends of the sleeves. These keep her fingers covered and protects her from self-injury. She is absolutely thrilled with her pajamas and would not go to bed happily without them. There are so many fun patterns to choose from—and they come in adult sizes, too!
Her pajamas help her feel snug and secure which helps to keep her safe at night. She also takes medication at night to help with sleep.
With this combination, she and I have many more peaceful nights and she is a happy little sleeper.
Connecting with other parents is a good way to share ideas and information. Find ideas in this section of this web site.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.