The chewing has spread to school. His teacher emailed to tell me that he has begun to chew on clothes at school. His teacher and resource teacher want to know if I would let them put a pencil topper for C to chew on while he is at school.
I hate that I can’t go to school to fix it like I try to fix things at home. At home, we have our choose chews bin that has worked pretty well so far. C understands that they are not snacks or snack replacements, they are for when he really needs to chew it out. And after he chews, we talk about why he felt like he needed it. Sometimes, it is because he was getting frustrated, sometimes bored, sometimes he just felt like he needed to. It is okay for there not to be a reason every time. Sometimes chewing just happens.
My concern at school is that no one will help him reflect or acknowledge his chewing. That he will have this thing that he can chew anytime he wants and become dependent on it. That my son, who already has difficulty fielding the social navigation, will be teased or looked down on by his peers for needing to chew on things.
We work so hard to help him, to do regular things with other kids, to be the best kid he can be. Am I wrong to not want him to have a plastic thing in his mouth to just chew on constantly at school? Am I wrong to not want to listen to his school OT- who told me previously that she couldn’t really help him with his handwriting at school because you could read his handwriting, never mind the fact that he clutched his pencil like one would a steak knife- because I think it is weird for someone to offer up an opinion on my son when she has not even evaluated him in person about his chewing?
I understand that chewing the plastic chew helpers work for some kids. Some kids do need to have that on a regular basis and I wouldn’t dream of denying that right to them. My son though, who is in a Gen Ed class among his peers, who stops chewing when reminded, who acknowledges a need to chew by asking for something, I just don’t know if I want him to have access to something you leave on the end of a pencil and keep at your desk all day long. I worry that he wouldn’t stop. Like if I didn’t put a timer for his iPad turn, he would just keep going without realizing how long he had been doing it.
I don’t know what the answer is. At the end of all my writing I am no closer to finding an answer. I’ll talk with our regular, non-school OT about it and maybe she can help me find clarity. If anybody has an idea, please share. I feel like my head just keeps spinning around and around.
I was reading online about privacy concerns, so I am taking the steps to try to keep my family info a bit more private. I’ll be going through and editing out some personal info, so if you notice any changes, that’s why. Thanks