It is important to explain what we mean by the term self injurious behaviour (SIB) and how this differs from the similar but different term “self harm”.
This is difficult because different people seem to use the same terms to mean different things and there is an overlap between the practices found in self injury and in self harm. For example
In practice, self harm is more likely to be intentional and is more likely to involve practices such as cutting or overdosing. Self injury, on the other hand, is less likely to be intentional and is more likely to involve practices such as head banging or biting oneself. Self injurious behaviour is also more likely to occur in people on the autism spectrum who also have a learning disability.
Of course, some people on the autism spectrum may self harm, some may self injure and some may do both. However we will be concentrating on self injurious behaviour.
There are some specific types of self injurious behaviours which are commonly found in people on the autism spectrum. These include:
* It is worth noting that some researchers (such as Oliver & Richards, 2015) have suggested that some forms of SIB (such as head banging) may not result in obvious physical damage but may result in physical changes to brain anatomy.