The teacher in kindergarten has pointed out that he is biting his clothes in class. She has pointed this out in front of other children and given him a plastic "necklace" to wear around his neck to chew on. She suggested he see an occupational therapist. I have read that this behavior is common and probably a release for anxiety. We do not want him on medication, but I do have a concern of the way this is being handled by the teacher. Should he see a pediatric behavior therapist and how can I handle this with his teacher?
Hi there. Subject near and dear to my heart. My son chewed clothes and saw an occupational therapist. He did have anxiety but also sensory integration disorder symptoms which is what your teacher is suggesting to you. It was a teacher in preschool that brought these things to my attention. Bless her for doing so. At first, I wasn't thrilled and resisted it but her direction of seeking occupational therapy made so much difference for how things went for my son, it's amazing!! It really changed the course of his life in a positive way. Because if you think of the chewing as a coping mechanism --- he's feeling bad inside. Addressing the inside helped him feel better. Helped self confidence, ability to acclimate to school, ability to have friends, etc.
Now the teacher does not get points if she humiliated your son. That's not cool. But the necklace is an alternative that some people give kids. Straws is another, plastic things on pencils, etc. Kind of a redirection thing and a little less gross than a sleeve. But you don't embarrass a child doing that. I'd, however, look to her as having some insight about you regarding your son. I'd call her and speak voice to voice and ask what things she's noticing in the classroom. social issues, fine motor issues, focus issues, participation issues, wandering the room, etc.
It could be just a bit of nervousness making him chew but to be sure, youll want to get him checked out. Occupational therapists do great work. I'm happy to help in any way I can!
Great points by specialmom! Just want to add that OT's do not use medication and certainly would be a great starting point.
And yes, chewing is a common release for anxiety. However, for his teacher to notice this and try and help him deal with this - I would think that it is more pronounced then normal. Its sad to think a 5 year old would be having anxious issues and its certainly something to look into.
Finally, as Specialmom stated, this is something near and dear to her heart. Do get back to her if you have any questions. She knows a lot about this kind of a subject.
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