regression to chewing behavior?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-23-2003
regression to chewing behavior?
1
Fri, 09-12-2003 - 1:04pm
Cassian has never done much self stimming, but lately he has started chewing his shirts and our clothing. I have been giving him a piece of cloth, as a substitute chew toy, and I may buy a teething ring for him too. I am thinking that all this could stem from our efforts to lower his tactile defensiveness. We have been doing a lot of brushing therapy, especially on his hands and face, and I have been encouraging a lot of play with squishy stuff. This play has lowered his defensiveness considerably, as he now will pick up his food, use a spoon, etc. As a baby, I remember being surprised that Cassian rarely chewed on anything, even though he was teething. Has anyone experienced a regression like this in their child? What do you think?

Suzi

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2003
Sun, 09-14-2003 - 3:46pm
Suuzi, I think you could be right about the lowering of tactile defenses being the cultprit for the new chewing behavior. But it could also just be a totally new stim that would have developed anyway.

Eva chews on things too. She doesn't chew on shirts or clothing, but she obsessively chews on her Poe (teletubie) doll. Before that it was anything rubbery. Teething rings didn't work for her b/c they weren't tough enough, she chewed right through them. Our last dr gave her a rubber duckie that was single-cast (no extra parts to come off, like squeaky pipes). She really liked that! It was callled Dr. Duck and was actually an advertisement for a local dentist who's last name happend to be Duck. LOL. Dr. Duck (the toy) lasted about a year before she finally lost it, but it never fell apart from the chewing. Our dr said that if she mannaged to chew that too pieces to try getting a 'small dog Kong toy'. We never got to that point ourselves, but a boy in our co-op did. He could chew a whole in anything, drove his mother nuts. But no matter how he tried he just couldn't put a dent in the Kong Toy.

We 'weened' Eva down to a single 'chewy' at first, then we worked on reducing her need to chew. We did the normal stuff, looked for patterns in frequency, associated actions/responses, and tracked agitators. Now she only chews her doll when she's REALLY over stimulated or very tired. And Abe, the young friend of ours, just seemed outgrow it after a few years. For what ever reason his drs didn't offer his mom any assistance in curbing the stim and as a single mother she was very isolated from a support team until I met her Children's last year. LOL, the first thing she did was enroll her son in my Cosmology class. It was very entertaining to be discussing Galactic Forcasts in Cosmological Collisionary Instantces with a 12yo boy who was chewing on a dog toy. But hey, he was able to concentrate b/c of that toy, so there was no way in heck I was going to tell him to put it down.

Anyway, you might do a behavioral tracking to see what's stimmulating the need to chew. That, of course, could take a while, so in the meantime I recommend the rubber duckie or some similar chew toy. When picking one just remember that since Cassian has a full set of teeth that you'll want to pick one that durrable. Also, you'll want one that's small enough for him to put in a pocket or something. The duck was small enough for Eva b/c she went straight from having a Baby Bag to carrying a little purse (to pick up all the little pieces of things she finds....one of her non-functional routines/obsessions) but you may want to find something smaller for Cassain.

Keep us informed on how things are going with this, it's actually a common area for most of. maybe you'll find something that can help the rest of us.

Peace,

Candes