Friday, 30 July 2010

Mouthing / Pica in Autism

During school Owen developed the habit of chewing his clothes. Every day he cames home with a soaking wet shirt collar. The chewing gradually extended into his home life and has become something he does most of the time. This kind of chewing is common in autism and is called Mouthing or Pica. It can be extremely severe in autism were children chew or eat dangerous or dirty objects such as dirt. There are many possible causes such as stress, nutritional deficiencies of over/under sensitivities in the mouth.

Owen's chewing has resulted in the damage and loss of two milk molar teeth. I can't see how the adult teeth will be able to grow through with this continuous chewing. The dentist doesn't seem to be able to look at the problem outside the physical tooth problem. Owen did see an occupational therapist for while. She provided him with Thera Band Tubing which is a kind of stretchy rubber tube. It is effective to some extent but requires us to constantly remind him to use it. We must remember to take it with us everywhere he goes. He says he prefers chewing his clothes! However, it has provided us with a partial solution so is worth persisting with the tubing.

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