Bad Habits have many names, but the one that prevails in the blind field is "blindisms". A Blindism may be rocking, poking eyes, pressing or hitting oneself, light gazing and a plethora of other things.

We all have bad habits and the only way to get rid of one is to do something else consistently for a minimum of 30 days. Yes, you can take the "Will Power" route out of self-destructive habits. I have not seen success in the will-power that just "says" I'm quitting the habit. Where I see success is exchanging one habit for another less noticeable or offensive habit. The person has to WANT to improve their habits.

If you take drugs or smoke, you have a chemical bond to break in your body , which makes it difficult. With a habit that inflicts injury to the body or a tic, you have some sort of psychological bond to break in the mind. Most children don't want to be associated with blindisms which stimulate a reward for poor habits.

So I help them exchange one stimulus for another. Example: One of my students rocked furiously and poked her eyes while doing it. She is very intelligent but did not look intelligent while in this frenzy of motion. Her peers jeered and made jokes and it was difficult for her to make friends. When young, her parents were told it was fine. No one knew the consequences of being told that. So instead of giving her other activities to keep her entertained, they let her entertain herself with rocking and eye poking. Then it became such a problem the girl had a terrible time breaking the habit. By her teens, she was very distressed at the lack of friends and worse the damage that she had done to her eye sockets. She had pressed her eyes back in the socket, had dark circles around her eyes and further damaged her optic nerves and lens'. Doctors refused to do eye surgery because she would cause even more damage after the surgery if she could not break the eye poking habit. (I have had kids actually pull their eyes out of their sockets, or pressed them so deeply that the deep black circles around their eyes looked as if someone hit them hard every day). Habits like this look bad but also damage…damage physically but also possibilities of making friends, getting jobs or advancing and competing with others around you.

Back to my intelligent girl: We tried bracelets and necklaces for her to rub instead of eye poking and rocking. That worked for a while, then it stopped. We moved to makeup and that was almost the breakthrough. Then we added a cool looking pair of glasses and that pretty much did it, but it took a couple years, until she could do it consistently for 30 days. She is pretty much steady as a rock now, though she admits, behind closed doors on those depressed days, she reverts back. But she knows she has to fight it every day until it stops the urge to revert back.

Other techniques that have worked: That soft fleshy part of the skin between the thumb and pointer finger. Yep, that's the part, press it and just slightly massage it. Very stimulating and enough to break another habit you do not want others to see. Holding a paperclip or pen, yep, even blind people can hold a pen and by twirling it in the fingers your mind is kept off doing the other habits that are not as acceptable in society. Others shake their leg, well just about everyone shakes their leg, so that is really acceptable. Find something!

I even had a friend who told me that for Lent she gave up rocking and eye poking and it worked after the period was up. Yep, God is a good one in helping you break those habits.

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