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My Son Makes 'Sting Boogers"

My son is 3.5 years old.  He has a VERY severe speech delay, he can only say about 50 words and that's only if he feels like saying them!  He has been in ST and OT since he was 2.  His OT has suggested that he has some "sensory issues' and gave me all sorts of activities to do with him (ie, brushing, tearing paper, shaving cream, face tapping, etc).  He seems to enjoy them, but they don't seem to be feeding his sensory diet anymore.  We are in the process of moving into a new home and while we are waiting to close (last week of Sept) we have been staying at my brother and sister-in-law's home.  

He makes 'string boogers', at least that is what I call them.  He started about a year ago.  He would pick fuzz off of the carpet, blankets, toys, etc and roll it into a little ball, like kids do with boogers.  He would then put them in his mouth for a while and then discard it and start all over again.  It got to the point where we had to take anything away from him in his room where he could start doing this as he would sit and do this for HOURS on end.  When we were packing up our home to move, the floor beside his bed was COVERED with his discards.

He has started this again where we are staying and it has alarmingly increased!!!!  He got into the box spring under the bed and has been pulling the stuffing out of it and putting large handfuls in his mouth, I'm afraid that he might choke.  He has also started getting fuzz off of the carpet and from rugs.  I'm at a complete loss.  I talked to his pediatritian and we did some blood work to check for pica.  Everything came back fine.....

He is going to be screened for autism next month, due to meltdowns, lack of speech and other behavioral things.  Has anyone experienced this before????? I feel like it is SOOOOO odd and I want to help him.  I even gave him a teether in hopes he might like it.....
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973741 tn?1342342773
Oh, I'm sorry to hear this.  I wonder if some anxiety is involved.  My son doesn't do this but s ucks on and chews items.  we've determined he does it to stay 'alert' and he does it to self soothe anxiety.  What has helped us is to offer the alternatives.  The teether (is it a hard plastic T or P?) may really help.  Also, they make vibrating teethers sold on online occupational therapy sites that my son really responded too.  Later, once in school, there are other strategies.

I know for my son, our sensory diet is very much related to the 'heavy work' aspect.  We do lots and lots of physical activity which really helps him stay regulated.
But the mouthing of objects can continue.  He switches at times to snapping his fingers or this finger roll thing he does.  Again, we work to give him the 'heavy work' his system needs and to provide coping strategies for his anxiety with the hopes that he will need the oral soothing things and snapping/finger movements less.

Good luck with your move and welcome to the forum!!
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Avatar universal
My son does the same thing. He will turn 4 in October. Diagnosed as Autistic in Feb, 2011.
The difference for him is that he doesn't eat real food, except for mini pancakes (frozen, won't eat them fresh), infant oatmeal, and bread. Sliced bread.
In June he put a three foot long piece of his blanket in his mouth and swallowed it. Came out two days later.
Wish I had an answer for you. I can tell you that he attends school at a public elementary. The plan is to get him ready for kindergarten. We had the Infant and Toddler program from our county at our house twice a week for over one year before he started school. He now talks nonstop.
We live in Maryland. Maybe you could check with your state for services. Most, maybe even all, have them. It was a Godsend for us and him.
Good luck.
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