Oral fixation

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by crazymama30, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    difficult child is going to choke himself. He chews on quarters (swallowed one of those a while back), pennies, rubber bands, basically anything. He acts like he is a toddler. It is crazy, and dangerous. I am going to start buying him gum, and see if that keeps him happy, but does anyone else have a kid that seems to only be happy if they have something in their mouth? This is weird.
  2. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    YES! I just bought 4 packs of gum at the store today. Our Occupational Therapist (OT) said to give it to the girls, I was kind of anti-gum before this, but it really helps. Tic-tacs also and I buy a bag of those big round lifesavers, the huge ones.

    Both girls lick, chew, everything... bite, **** on. K has a tongue thrust and a slight lisp. N has started chewing her sleeve and she will grab a towel and chew it.
    K ***** her hair.
    N also eats and tastes everything...
    The gum and the mints help!!!
  3. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Chewing on something helps Miss KT concentrate. One year we bought coffee stirrers, because her teacher wouldn't let her chew gum in class.
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    difficult child 2 s-cks (why can't we print this word here? It's not nasty...) on his lower lip -- has done it since I took his pacifier away when he was two. Mostly does it when he's tired or upset. But he just got braces on this week and that seems to be inhibiting it (yay!)

    His dad is VERY orally fixated... Cannot drive a car without eating sunflower seeds in the shell. He also moves his mouth and tongue funny directions when he's concentrating on a fine motor task like writing. difficult child 2 does this a little, too. The nut doesn't fall far...
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We bought difficult child 3 some gum, but found we did have to watch out for two things:

    1) He would go through it really fast, he kept going back for another piece and a flavour "top-up", and;

    2) he would stick the gum just anywhere and leave a mess.

    I eventually went out and found a rubber teething ring for him to chew, told him to keep it in his pocket and bring it out to chew when he felt the urge, and to chew the teether instead of his clothes or the furniture.

    I think he realised then that it was a big problem for me, and the mild embarrassment of having his own teething ring made him really try to curb his chewing.

  6. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Has he ever been assessed for Sensory Integration Dysfunction? Often in kids oral fixation is due to the child trying to seek out sensory stimuli in order to help regulate themselves. There's a lot that can be done to help them.

    I'd suggest getting an evaluation by an occupational therapist. Check out the book The Out of Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz.
  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    In addition to SRL's advice, I'd also suggest a lead screening.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I strongly suggest an Occupational Therapist (OT) screening. thank you is very oral. I buy his shirts for less than $1 at the thrift stores because he chews holes in them in about a month. Literally.

    He won't chew any kind of gum. I kind of think the shirts are cheaper, LOL, but he is very odor-particular. The smell of every kind of gum we have come across is gross to him.

    The book The Out of Sync Child is very helpful. Chances are you will see other sensory issues in reading it. The Out of Sync Child Has Fun has a LOT of activities that are helpful for various kinds of sensory issues, as well as being fun. We all enjoy the activities we have done.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My son saw a few Occupational Therapist (OT)'s and in my opinion they aren't qualified to diagnose anything. Your son is not chewing "normal" things for kids his age who like to chew--his nails or the tops of pencil erasures. He's putting quarters in his mouth. If it were me (and I'm in the "better safe than sorry category") I'd want a neuropsychologist evaluation to see if more is going on than ADHD/mood disorders...or even if they were wrong diagnosis. It is worrying that he mouths things that could choke him...I'd want to see why he does it and if I could help him with that and any other issues he has.
    Whatever you decide, good luck.
  10. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    For now I will go buy gum, I am just worried that I will have a similar experience to Marg, and he will just want more and more and who knows where I will find it. He does have several sensory things, but they have gotten better as he has gotten older. I thought that sensory issues went along with bipolar (difficult child is cyclothymic--similiar to BiPolar (BP)). It mentions that in the bipolar child, and several other books or articles that I have read.

    We may end up getting a neuropsychologist evaluation. psychiatrist is still on vacation, so we are muddling along. I have not given difficult child his stimulant in over 2 weeks, and he got much worse at first and now is back to where he was on the stims. Which is not a good place at this time. We go to the beach next week, and I will follow up on it after we get back.
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Crazy, I agree, gum is safer than quarters! Then again, Susie has a good point about shirts being cheaper, since you don't have to go back for a flavor burst.
    So sorry about the problems with-the stims.
    I hope your visit to the beach goes well and that the gum holds you over. Sounds like you really need to keep an eye on him. He may decide gum is boring. :(
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    difficult child is using a lot of gum these days- his seems to be mostly due to being on an AP- which we just stopped and switched to a PRN to see how that goes for a while- we plan to go back to using it daily in January (if he can make it until then).

    Anyway, to "break up" having gum all the time, healthy snacks, mints, and sugar-free popsicles help. difficult child says if he has something to drink, that takes the place of needing something to chew on. (It could be water, gatorade, powerade, etc- I guess it doesn't matter.)
  13. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Sensory isn't exclusive to BiPolar (BP). It's most common in preemies as well as individualswho are on the Autistic Spectrum or spectrumy in nature. Beyond that you may find it with other disorders, such as bipolar.
  14. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    You know, I didn't do it for a long time, or too obsessively, but I did chew on my clothing for a while when I was about 8 - 9 years old. I think I liked the taste of the cloth as much as I liked the texture.

    I'm a total gum chewer. I buy Doublemint by the case at Costco.
  15. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Chewing on things seems to be a natural human need. Gravesites have been excavated where 35K year old mummies were found with a supply of birch gum to tide them over in the afterlife.

    In the UK and in Germany, birch gum, complete with toothmarks has been found in the sites of ancient settlements.

    I almost wonder if this isn't due to the hunter/gatherer thing of eating as you went along.
  16. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I remember doing this a bit as my adult teeth came in. Chewing on something (anything!) was a great relief where my gums were sorest.
  17. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Someone mentioned something about chewing on t-shirts, difficult child used to do that. He has chewed holes in many shirts, and even chewed through the collar of a heavy winter coat. Through the zipper. I would think that would hurt. I am going to pick up some gum hopefully tommorrow, was at Costco today but did not want 12 packs of gum, especialy because difficult child was with me and I did not want him to know how much I had. He would want it all at once.
  18. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am the tshirt mentioning lady. thank you has done this for years. he also chewed on money, various toys, etc.... I was a chewer. My mom made a Kanga (from Winnie the Pooh) for me when I was 4. I think she replaced the ears about every 3 months. I also was given some old, beat up Barbie dolls. I chewed on their feet because it gave the greatest "squishy" chewy texture. But I am a SERIOUS texture person. If the texture of something is not just right I can't stand to be around it.

    We got the recommendation of the Occupational Therapist (OT) FROM the neuropsychologist who said she was NOT the best to handle sensory issues. It was clear we HAD sensory issues, but the Occupational Therapist (OT) was the best to figure out what they were exactly - AND how to handle them. Often the professional who helps you most depends on the person and the area. Some states require different things for certification and training, so there is NO real standardization.

    go for the "expert" who helps you most.

    Above ALL else (even us here on the board!) TRUST YOUR GUT!!

    MWM - no disrespect intended, just wanted to point out a difference.

  19. Christy

    Christy New Member

    My son does this, not as much as in the past though. When he was younger we used to give him a teething ring because he would checw up puzzles, toys etc.. He will still sometimes chew up dvd boxes while he is focused on a movie or he chews on a toy. Telling him to stop does no good because it is subconsciously. I will take it out of his hand when I see him doing this and he is okay with that. It is more of an absent minded thing. I still don't like him to have smal objcts for this reason. Now that I think about it, I am suprised he has never put coins in his mouth.
  20. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    My difficult child chews on everything too. Just stopped chewing on his clothing in the six months or so. He will chew on anything within reach.

    We've found gum to be very helpful. I have always been a gum chewer too. I still am and chew so much that my jaw starts hurting before I realize I've been chewing the same piece of gum for hours.