My son tear's his nails off his feet and hands, and suffers from anxiety. — Scope | Disability forum

My son tear's his nails off his feet and hands, and suffers from anxiety.

Fibromite Member Posts: 4 Connected
edited October 2019 in Autism and neurodiversity
Hi my son is 16 year's old he has medium to severe Autistic spectrum disorder, ADHD, and ODD, he has IBS as well. He has been tearing his nails of his hands and feet for year's i have tried to stop him by talking to him but he still does it. If his nail is a little bit not the way he likes it he will rip it off. He has asked ne to take him to the doctor's and ask for them all to be removed, i tried to explain that they will not do this but he won't listen to me. He has started college well it's a very small one at Hill Holt woods, he loves it their and it is 3 day's a week with a small group of eight the rangers are trained to look after teenagers with Autism and other problems. I am trying to keep him going 3 time's a week sometime he will be having a bad day and won't go in. I do not have support for him at home i do everything on my own, i am classed as disabled now due to having Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis severly in my knees, neck and back, and encourage him to go. But the tearing off his nails has caused some of the nail to be deformed now, i try to look out when he is bare footed to see if he has torn one of soi clean it with antiseptic and put a little plaster on it to protect it from infection. I would be so happy for anyone who can help me with advice, as i have tried most thing's to prevent him from doing it.


  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,572

    Scope community team

    Hello @Fibromite. I can understand you being so concerned. I'm going to tag @SparkleSheffieldAutismAdvisors as they might be able to offer some advice.
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  • SparkleSheffieldAutismAdvisors
    SparkleSheffieldAutismAdvisors Member Posts: 32 Pioneering
    Hi @Fibromite

    Firstly well done on supporting your son and ensuring that you keep wounds clean wherever possible, infected areas will not help the situation so your doing the right thing in keeping them as clean as possible.

    In terms of the picking of nails, it's a difficult one as I presume it is a sensory issue for him, whereby it feels (or looks) opposite to what he likes and so he wants it removing. Is there any way you could check his nails on a regular basis and maybe file them down so there's no little bits sticking out, or ask him to show you how he wants them to be different and try and work out how you can help? Also, social stories are very useful for explaining why/how things happen in a certain way, and what can be done about it. For example, the doctor is unable to take fingernails off someone. But instead we can keep them clean and smooth. Take a look at social stories, the National Autistic Society has some very useful information on social stories and how they work.

    In terms of your own health, I do believe that you require a carers assessment in order to determine if you need additional support in caring for your son, so that it could lessen the pressure on yourself when your own health needs are apparent. Contact your local social care department, or speak to your GP or a trusted health professional.

    If there's anything else we can help with please do let us know, we'll do our best to advise and signpost you further.

    The Sparkle Sheffield Team  :)
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,676 Disability Gamechanger
    Senior online community officer