Nowadays, autism is prone to happen in growing children, and we usually know of it as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Various stimming behaviors are expressed in an autistic child, especially at family mealtime.
If you spend time observing, there are many bizarre habits like special-prepared food requirements, extremely slow eating, and usual gagging or stuffing their mouths.
Among those behaviors in children, humming while eating autism seems to be most common in ASD children and adolescents.
So is humming a sign of autism? How can we detect and offer an appropriate treatment? Please keep reading to uncover all the secrets behind it.
Is Humming While Eating A Sign Of Autism?
Yes. Constant humming while eating autism is a definite clue of an autistic toddler. This weird act seems not too serious but worth considering. In general, children with autism spectrum disorder employ humming as a way out to protect and relax themselves against annoying sensory issues.
But parents of children with ASD should make resolutions timely to avoid serious autism possibilities.
According to statistics, the overall prevalence of autism in children is 2%. In adolescents, the rate ranges from 5% to 8%.
This rate is more common in children after puberty. Children with ASD problems specifically show stimming behaviors about food or drinks during mealtime.
So what are the reasons behind and how to help your children fix those bad habits? The following parts will answer you all.
What Causes Humming While Eating Autism?
Child humming while concentrating stems from diversified factors, including cognitive and environmental effects.
In particular, the issues of repetitiveness, novelty fear, unchanged need, inflexibility, or emotional stimulation will lead to humming during family mealtimes.
Modifying noisy sounds, lights, or sensations around the eating table messes up the comfortable space of ASD toddlers, making it hard to focus on their food.
These sensory inputs invade their private space and steal their relaxing time eating.
Other times, the constant insecurity and anxiety at this young age also contribute to forming odd mealtime behavior while eating.
Besides, another reason rarely happens but is also worth noticing. Sometimes, the food categories, food selectivity, unfamiliar foods, limited food repertoire, textured foods, or picky eating do not satisfy your children’s requests.
So parents need to take note and make appropriate preparations next time.
How Does Humming Affect Your Children?
In general, humming will not severely threaten your child’s development, but parents should not ignore its remarkable effects.
If humming lasts long, oversensitive children may form more autistic disorders and hurt themselves, like hand-biting or face-pinching.
More serious, that repetitive and restrictive behavior may complicate autistic symptoms, leading to developmental delay.
As a result, many children are losing the ability to learn and contact others during the growing process. They become self-absorbed and feel less confident in any decision.
All those features will increase concern for parents as many potential health issues may arise at a high rate. But don’t worry, we will give a list of things parents can follow to ease the problems.
What Can Parents Do?
Experts have pointed out many feasible approaches for parents to ease the humming issue. Here are some highlighted ways out of them:
- The first strategy to reduce autism vocal stimming is to determine why and when your child begins acting weird. Sit down and recall the first time you saw that disruptive behavior.
At that time, how did the situation happen around them? And since then, the repetition has increased. Take all that important information to a psychologist and ask for pro advice and treatments.
- Or else, parents of children with autism spectrum can also find effective ways to interact with ASD children at home. Once you spot the humming act, try to create a mild parent-child interaction.
Choose the most relaxing time and ask your child a parent questionnaire like “How are you feeling right now” “Is there something around annoying you?” or “What can mommy/daddy do to make you feel better?”.
- While some ASD toddlers find it hard to express their inner feelings, others do. Create a comfortable talk making them speak out.
Once figuring out the reason, parents need to lower that stress instead of removing it. Moreover, make children realize the bad effects of humming and encourage them to reduce that repetitive behavior little by little.
- Still, avoid severe physical punishments. Instead, reward them with their favorite items, games, food, or playing activities.
There are differences between children, so the methods also vary accordingly.
If at-home methods do not work out, professional treatments are another solution. Parents may apply one of the following approaches to humming while eating:
The first pro way must be a medication that sticks to the instructions of experts or doctors in the autism prescribing sector. Take a look at these medications as reference:
Common stimulants include amphetamine/dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate, or dexamphetamine.
Meanwhile, guanfacine, atomoxetine, or clonidine may perform better if you fear the possible side effects. Those medicines do not contain any stimulating compounds.
Executive Functioning Support
Getting training to remove humming gradually seems to be another efficient solution. Parents need to hire an experienced coach to fix the humming to actualize this point.
A trained specialist is excellent at uncovering the trigger that children feel too awkward to say.
Thus, they will prescribe a proper route in which ASD children and adolescents relieve the bad habits and begin forming good ones.
The humming will slowly disappear, and your child can develop needed skills like time management, well-organized schedules, and effective communication.
Experts have proved that behavioral therapy can work well in treating the humming habit.
This method, in other words, means finding alterations to replace the current awful behavioral patterns. Instead of constantly humming, parents can turn on a favorite playlist of their children and encourage them to sing.
Another expert’s advice is speech therapy. Autistic people tend to hide their actual thoughts and express stress through repetitive behaviors.
So it would help if you made them say their thoughts out loud rather than humming or stimming themselves.
That way, ASD children can relieve stress, and others also avoid doing what may annoy them.
Improve Physical Activities
Physical activities work well in any situation requiring to improve the dynamic and relaxing elements. The interesting exercise will attract a child’s concentration, helping them lose their mind.
And we highly recommend toddlers or teenagers to join outdoor experiences like activities in Hampton Roads.
As a result, your child can feel comfortable and become more open in sharing their real emotion inside.
Improve Mental Health
Another method parents cannot pass up is to enhance mental health. Autistic children usually have weak mental health due to sensory issues, making them act differently from normal peers, especially in the case of a child constantly humming and singing.
Take your child to a psychologist or expert dealing with autism to improve their mental stability.
Should We Stop Humming Entirely
About this wondering, there is still a difference between people’s opinions.
Nevertheless, humming while eating also has good points according to experts. In some frustrating spaces, we are prone to calm ourselves by doing several private acts, and so are ASD children.
Once anxious while eating, they hum to control their intense emotions, relieve stress, and relax their bodies. This way is not meaningless. Humming helps them prevent noise or too bright light.
If the behavior happens with low frequency and just in an annoying case, people should accept it without judgment. It does no harm to your child but helps them to express impulses inside.
However, constant humming will pose a threat to your child. It would help if you took action right away. Follow the treatments above to settle the matter effectively.
Humming while eating autism is not a serious issue. But this action may contribute to the autism spectrum disorder rate in children and adolescents.
So limiting the humming frequency seems to be good in your child’s developing process.
Besides humming, parents need to notice whether there exist any sensory abnormalities or behavior in their toddler’s activity. So all the problems can get proper treatments timely.