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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Son sticking hands in pants all the time

 Melnic - Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:27 am

My son was diagnosed w/ ADHD by a liscenced Psychologist.
He is now on Vyvance(spelling?). He was on other medications before that for the past year.
He is constantly fiddling with his genetalia.
Mulitiple times an hour he is either repositioning it from outside his pants or putting his hands in his pants to do so.
It is hightly distracting and unsanitary.
Telling him not to do it or basic punishment is not helping.
We are having to continually have him go to the bathroom to wash his hands.
He is taking speech therapy as recommended by the Dr. but that seems to be innefective.
What can we do to have this behavior modified?
 Dr. E. Seigle - Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:02 pm

Dear Melnic,

How old is your son? You want to try to discern whether this is just fidgety, restless behavior, or sexually driven behavior, and perhaps some feeling of discomfort or anxiety related to his genital area. Here are some options:

1.ask your son, or if you are Mom, have your husband ask why he is doing this. Ask in just an accepting, curious way- "i've noticed this...was wondering if you are uncomfortable there, are you aware of it, why does he think he's doing it"

2. talk with the psychologist or psychiatrist about it, see if he has noticed it, and ask why he thinks he's doing it. Be sure that he doesn't feel that there is any anxiety or concerns about any sexual ior emotional issue that is causing this.

3. unlikely, but be sure there's no medical condition- inflammation, infection, wetting, etc. that's causing this.

4. If this just seems a restless behavior, you could put 3 chips in a jar for every hour you don't see him do it. Take out one each time he does it. After he accumulates a certain number of chips, you can do something fun together- see a movie, go somewhere, play together, etc. But, talk about this with his psychiatrist before doing it. He may suggest something else, or give you a behavioral strategy that is age appropriate, as I don't know his age.

Good luck! -Eliot Seigle MD
 Melnic - Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:19 pm

Thx for the feedback,
He is definitly figity. He got that from me. I used to shake my head when I was little to the point that people thought I had some sort of nervous tick (maybe I did). He is a nail biter and typically just can't sit still without moving unless what he is listening to is EXTREAMLY interesting.
He likes to have his socks totally tight and not wrinkled. Basically, any discomfort bothers him to the point that he has to correct it. Sometimes he will say that his tucked in shirt is bothering him.

I have him and his 6 year old brother on a point system. Add points mostly based on behavior in school, sports, church violin practice etc..but sometimes we take them away when they misbahave too. They can exchange points for stuff. Other than gifts, if they want to buy something, it costs them points.
 lilonething - Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:18 pm

I'm a teacher not a doctor, but wanted to respond anyway. Have you heard of Sensory Processing Disorder? I work with a lot of children who are tactile defensive, and the uncomfortable shirt and sock issue is very familiar. Try googling "how does your engine run?" and/or Sensory Processing Disorder and you may find some ideas for helping your son. The basic concept is that some people's "engines" run on extra high speed and they tend to need more physical stimulation to calm down. These children tend to be very fidgety, hate clothes or buttons and tags, but often like blankets wrapped tightly at night. Some like deep pressure hugs but might hate being lightly touched etc. etc. Of course the ultimate stimulation is touching oneself and this is not uncommon for students I've worked with who have sensory issues. There are all kinds of strategies to try to help a child learn to self-regulate but they should only be done under the guidance of an Occupational Therapist. If you do some research and feel this might be something similar to what your son is experiencing, perhaps his school could put you in touch with an OT.
Keep us updated. Good Luck!

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