SAB stands for self-abusive behaviors. This can be anything from cutting one self to banging ones head on a hard surface to even biting one self to the point of bleeding. These kind of behaviors are found in a good portion of people on the Spectrum. Like all behaviors, there is a reason for the specific behavior.
The two causes for SAB, in my opinion, are to:
a.) replace complex emotions and feelings of ones environment by producing a feeling and emotion that one can relate to, and that is pain.
This is the one I consider to be the more prevalent of the causes of SAB. I say that because, during a few years in middle school and high school when hormones were raging and I was having some difficulty navigating the social worlds of school life and family life, I punched things. I punched walls( interior and exterior), lockers, and even metal poles. All just to get to a simpler understanding that I knew if I punched something hard, it would hurt and could even make me bleed. I also knew that when I punched something that I did not need to try to figure out what someone else was trying to convey to me through communication and end up guessing wrong and being told so. My SAB fails in comparison, when it comes to destructive capabilities, to many others who use SAB in this fashion. However I was blessed to be able to be dealing with a lot of nuero-typical problems during the time and knew how it would be looked on if I did anything worse.
The other cause of SAB is:
b.) To get attention any way possible regarding how one physically feels.
This cause is a lot less common considering I have only encountered it once and very recently. One of the kids I work with has numerous SAB's caused by this. Whether it be, that this kids skin is itchy or if the kids sinuses are acting up. The kid has learned early on that if I cause pain one place it will at least cease in another place for the time being. I have been successful in being able to advocate for this kids needs thus far and the kid has been making tremendous strides in this area.
I know this example is vague, but due to certain rules and guidelines that I must adhere to for my job, this is all I am willing to share to keep the kids information as safe as can it can be.
SAB is not something a lot of people can see or talk about, but it is a prevalent topic when talking about people on the Spectrum. We just need to remember that all behavior is communicating something, no matter how gross or hurtful it may be.
Mark Fleming- Person on the Autism Spectrum