Avatar universal

Chewing and eating

I need help with my 6 year old. He has been diagnosed with Pica. He eats paper, plastic, rubber, crayons, glue, lotion, chapstick, etc. And he chews on everything. I've found electrical cords that have been chewed. I bought him chew necklaces, but he eats them. I've tried gum (he just shallows it), candy necklaces (didn't like the taste) and have been recommended to give him dog chew toys. I'm at a loss. I had him evaluated because I thought he might have sensory processing disorder (he has other symptoms that point to this) and/or autism but the evaluator said no. Does anyone else have a child that does this and what's helped?
3 Responses
134578 tn?1614729226
If it is that he loves to chew, some products for sensory kids are made that are durable enough for him not to chew through.  There are some good catalogues of products.   If he has a craving, like pica, get him onto a really super good vitamin with minerals.  He might have a need for a certain element or mineral that he is not getting.
973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there.  Ya know, I'm not sure if one evaluation can fully tell the story of a child.  There seems to be things going on here that warrant a second look.  Who evaluated your son?  We took our son to an occupational therapist where his sensory integration/processing disorder was diagnosed.  His first evaluation came back as non conclusive.  They weren't sure.  We had him evaluated again the following year and that time they were sure.  Those evaluations have some things that are concrete and quantitative and others that are more subjective.  My own input was part of my son's evaluation.

This sounds like it interferes with regular life.  That's when you need to take action.  There has to be more than offering dog chew toys to a child, right?  

Now, chewing and s ucking are often associated with self soothing.  A child is trying to soothe. They do this often when nervous, excited or bored.  It's part of trying to 'regulate' (a bit part of sensory disorders).  My son was a chewer as well.  :>)  One thing that helps sensory processing disorder greatly (and doesn't hurt a kid that is not fully diagnosed as having it yet) is what they call 'heavy work'.  You can search this to fully understand it.  But when the body's muscular system has input from either using the muscles, deep pressure, stimulation---  it actually calms the nervous system, organizes it, makes it run smoothing.  Occupational therapy for sensory kids consists of a lot of these 'heavy work' activities.  Little things like hanging from monkey bars, being squished with pillows, moving a laundry basket with a bunch of books in it to swimming (the perfect sensory activity with muscle work AND deep pressure in one), lifting light weights, marching with tapping feet with force, crawling on hands and knees (harder than walking), etc. all help.  There are lots of ideas for things to do and I can offer suggestions if you are interested.  these activities help calm the nervous system, organize it and makes the need for a child to self soothe less.  

Teaching words for feelings also helps.  Why the need to chew?  What's going on?  What words can they use to express it?  Then what can you do to replace it---  run laps, do a wall push up, rull him up in a blanket like a burrito?  

We used red licorice as a go to item for chewing.  My son did chew on things like his shirt collar or sleeve and back pack straps essentially ruining them.  But he wasn't 'eating them'.  

Is your son eating these items or trying to sooth?  If PICA is what you suspect, that is a diagnosis that requires a psychological evaluation.  There are dietary things that can play a role but often, there is no dietary gain in what they eat (extension cords).  It is often a mental health issue and you would want a referral to a psychiatrist.  

I'm happy to help in any way I can!  
Avatar universal
He was evaluated by a psychologist the beginning of June. She diagnosed him with Pica, but didn't do any kind of sensory screenings on him. We're now working with a trusted behavioral therapist who is doing some sensory and autism screenings. We're also waiting on an appointment with a pediatric neurologist because there's a concern that he's having absence seizures.
I'm not sure if the chewing and eating are even related. Is he eating these things because as he chews pieces come off? But I've also watched him purposely bite pieces off the chew necklace and eat them. There are some things he just chews on, like clothing, and others that if he's able to get pieces off, he eats them. But even with the diagnosis of Pica, no one has given me any resources or recommendations on things to try. In the mean time, I have cords and clothing that look like a mouse has gotten ahold of them and I'm becoming more and more worried because he's starting to complain of stomach aches. The more I try to catch him and stop him, the more he sneaks around to do it.
I've had people tell me to feed him more, but he eats real food all the time. I know it's not related to his actual nutritional intake.
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