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Child who eats everything


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Hi all,

 

We currently have a child who eats everything she sees. She is two and a half years old. When I say everything, I mean everything and anything. As soon as she enters nursery, the first thing she sees goes straight in her mouth. She is not exploring the items with her mouth as a younger child would, she literally tries to chomp down and eat it. She eats everything from crayons and chalk, wood, the bristles on the sweeping brush and also picked mud off someone else's shoe and tried to eat that. As soon as we take tell her to take something out of her mouth, she just either puts it straight back in or picks something else up and eats that instead. I've not come across this behaviour before and not sure how to handle it apart from watching her like a hawk and keep trying to stop her and explain why. Although I don't think she understands us very well, she is showing as slightly behind in communication and language and has been referred to speech and language. Mum says she does the same at home but she just laughs about it when we tell her about it.

 

Has anyone experienced something like this before?

 

Thanks

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Not saying it is this but there is a medical condition where some children persist in eating things that aren’t food. This behaviour, called pica, may be a sign that the child has a developmental, behavioural, emotional, nutritional or health problem.

 

May be worth a search - there are plenty of sites with information.

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we have had a child who had pica. They would eat loo roll, grit, mud, bits of anything they could find outside, we even saw him gnaw at a brick wall! at home he would eat coal, chew wood and all types of non foods. Its a hard thing to manage but we used to log it all and mum would give the evidence to her GP. I am not sure if they grew out of it as they left for school. His came on after the birth of a sibling, he was tested to see if he was deficient in minerals and vitamins but with no outcome.

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Thanks everyone, i've read up a little on Pica and it does really sound like it. She's exactly the same at home, can be distracted from it for a short while, but even activities like painting and gluing etc end up being eaten. Parents are not easy to talk to, they seem to think it's funny when we tell them what she's doing, it's going to be tough to talk about with them, going to have to take it very gently or they will run a mile. She does seem to have speech delay although parents say not, luckily health visitor was already on that before she started with us and she has been referred, waiting for an appointment. My gut instinct is that there is some other delays in development, maybe slightly on the spectrum. Doesn't seem to be any pattern to the eating or triggers. We are trying to have a member of staff with as much as possible but they can't be there every minute and it's scary to think what she might eat next. She is the youngest child and as far as we know there have been no changes in home life or routine. The health visitor was worried about lack of eye contact when she did her 2 year check but we haven't had this. hopefully we can get them on board but it will be difficult.

Thanks again

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We have a child who also eats a lot of non foods as you've described - grit, chalk, play dough, finds from the bottom of his shoes. He has communication and interaction issues, pulls hair and shoves. We have given him a chew buddy which had some success but unfortunately he chewed the lanyard so much that it was unusable. We've referred him to SALT and have prepared a OT referral form to take to GP. Parents now resisting OT ref. He is moving preschool in September as we are relocating so our impact will be limited. So we're just focusing on developing shared attention at the moment.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, I have a child in my setting who is currently being assessed by an Occupational Therapist for this. There is a medical condition called Peka (I think that is how it is spelt) so would be a good idea to recommend the child's parents visit their GP

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