Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Little Help Please

I have been dealing with a particular issue off and on for the past couple of years.  I am currently dealing with it again - and have been since September.

And it is driving me CRAZY.

So I am calling on all my fellow parents, my fellow researchers (those who "google on my behalf" - hello Joanna!), and anyone who is good at problem solving.

Lily is chewing her clothes again.

Remember this post?  And these pictures?

Typically, this little phase ends in a month or so.

But since Lily is anything but typical, it's been going on four months now.

Not only is it frustrating, annoying, and exasperating, it is expensive.  I am surprised they don't recognize me at Wal-Mart when I come in for my weekly supply of 2 for $3 t-shirts.

When shirts are destroyed, I cut the bottom hems off and braid them together to create a kind of "fabric necklace" for chewing.  Sometimes it works but most times, it doesn't.  I think she loves the sensation of ripping fabric.  And the fabric necklaces don't really give that much.

Lately, we've taken to tying bandanas around her neck.  Cute little color coordinating bandanas that come home from school every day totally shredded.  

At a buck a bandana.  

But it spares the shirts.

And whereas before, she would roll little balls of torn fabric around in her mouth and spit them out, now she is actually consuming the material.  I've seen the evidence with my own eyes but I will refrain from sharing pictures with you, if you get my drift.  

But that can't be good for a little kid's digestive system.

So I am begging.  Pleading.  Crying our for your help.

Does anyone out there have any ideas for something safe, non-toxic, inexpensive, durable.... that my kid can wear around her neck for chewing??  Something that can possibly withstand teeth that are like the Jaws of Life, teeth that could possibly tear metal and rescue people trapped in vehicles?  I've seen the Chewelry sold for special needs kiddos but do you know if it could stand up to these incredible teeth??

No idea is stupid.  

I am a desperate woman.

Help. Me.


  1. I will ask one of my closest friends who just happens to be an amazing speech & language pathologist. And, yup, I'm on it...googling away! Maybe I'll hit on something that would be just right!

  2. I hated to read this post! I was so hoping that this problem has been solved, and I can only imagine your level of frustration. I don't have the answer, but I can pray - and I pledge that I will pray, asking God to make a way and reveal a solution.

  3. Me again...you may have already seen this site but it was one of the first sites that popped up in my google search. I also looked around and the "chewelry" looked like it might be worth a try, especially since they describe it as an alternative for kids who chew on their clothes. I'm linking you to the "super stick" page because they mention kids who chew excessively and need tougher options, you can just back track to their home page to see the other options. I'll keep looking. :)

  4. We have the chewelry from Kid Companions, but they're probably not going to work for Lily. The chewy part itself is durable enough, but the lanyard? Notsomuch. Little Miss took to chewing on the clasp for the lanyard and needless to say, it was quickly destroyed.

    One alternate thought I had for you... Since Lily is currently attending public school on an IEP (she still is, right?), you can request that the school conduct a functional behavior analysis (FBA). Once thie request is confirmed, the school should initiate a detailed observation/problem-solving process to get to the root of Lily's need to chew. Maybe... Just maybe, you can replace the activity with something a little less damaging!

  5. no advice. just a promise to pray for The Bird and her momma! love you!

  6. This is what we have used,
    It holds the grabbers and luckily our daughter loved her grabber.
    I hope everything else is ok. When our daughter started chewing through her shirts and her hair again, she finally told us about several issues she was having during recess. I am sure you already have, but I would definitely check with the school to see if anything new has been introduced to Lily's routine. It could even be someone new in the classroom. Just a thought!
    Good luck!

  7. http://sensoryfun.com/children_chewing_on_clothes

  8. I read that another mom of a really aggressive shirt/clothing chewer sent her little kiddo off the school with a small pillowcase to chew on. She felt like it worked quite well because her child got the sensory input they were after without ruining their clothes. Not sure, but desperate times call for desperate measures so it may be worth a try?

  9. I know chewing is a calming thing. Tanaya mostly chews her fingernails, but she did clothing and plastic for a while. Tanaya also had difficult with eating and it all came down to oral defensiveness and trying to calm herself. Have y'all considered the Wilbarger Protocol (brushing/joint compressions that an OT shows you how to do) or a therapeutic listening program? Tanaya has done both and it has helped her so much. I have no idea if it would help Lily but it might be worth a try!

  10. I knew I could count on all of you for help! Thanks so much for taking some time out of your busy lives to offer some input and advice. It is much appreciated! Now to spend this evening looking up all these great options. :)

    And if you haven't commented yet but still have ideas, just let me know! Thanks again.

  11. Wow she has sharp teeth. I used to chew my shirts when i was younger as kind of a sensory thing but never bit through them. i do remeber chewing on some chewy thingy from Thearapaws(is that what is called) but it probaley wont work fro the bird :) sorry i was not any more help. her speech therapist and OT may have ideas as might the special ed teacher.

  12. My son uses Ark's Grabber XT. He is able to chew through clothes in a day too. My mom makes pacifier clips to attach them to his shirt so it's accessible whenever he needs to chew. He can eventually chew through them but it takes quite a while. We get them from www.nationalautismresources.com.

  13. hmm...hope someone can help....I don't think straws would be enough but they are cheap yet if she is swallowing stuff it probably would not be a good idea (we used them with our little guy for awhile)...but the real concern is if there is something stressing her out that is contributing to this...no need to answer but if there have been major changes occurring that might be contributing to it...good luck..hope you find something that works!

  14. My son has not ever been a "chewer" other than when he was teething so I can't really offer personal experience. What I have seen, having read a blog or two about autism, ;)
    is that chewing can be a sign of some kind of mineral deficiency and that immediately came to my mind when you said she is not just chewing but swallowing now. I know she is not eating scary substances like paint or dirt but "pica" is a serious condition and I think you should really contact Lily's primary doctor in charge of her diet to rule out a mineral deficiency just to be safe. Other than that, I only know about chewelery and do not know how effective it is. So sorry to hear this has made a comeback!

  15. What about something like these silicon beads, might work? http://www.etsy.com/listing/115998072/chewable-teething-necklace-silicone-safe?ref=sr_gallery_12&ga_search_query=chew+necklace&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_page=2&ga_search_type=all

  16. hey there! i am a pediatric SLP in arkansas and I just love your blog! Have you tried a chewy tube?? Lily's SLP can probably order her one, and it can be tied on a string around her neck (just make sure she is supervised when she is wearing it around her neck, would't want her to get tangled or hurt) We use these often in speech for oral motor exercise, but I also give them to my kiddos that need something durable to chew on! Hope this helps!!!


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