Pica Perils

Babies mouth everything.

Rattles, their hands, teething biscuits, toys, your boobies etc., etc.

After the 3-year mark, most kids stop putting non-food objects into their mouths.

No more worries about intense baby-proofing, and you don’t really have to panic anymore when you see a penny lying on the floor or if the door to the cat litter box is open.

When you have a child with ASD, a condition called PICA is pretty common.

PICA stands for – Pretty much I Chew Anything.

No, not really, but it should!

The actual definition is listed as such:



Pica is a term that refers to cravings for substances that are not foods. Materials consumed by patients with pica include dirt, ice, clay, glue, sand, chalk, beeswax, chewing gum, laundry starch, and hair.

Anyway, what this means is that you still have to panic waaaayyy after the 3-year mark if a penny is on the floor or if the door to the cat litter box is open.

Mr. Ronan James and PICA are old friends.

His oral fixation began at birth, with 24-hour demands for his ditties (breastfeeding).

After weaning, when he was over two years old (hey, old habits die hard!), his fingernails took over the burden of his oral fixation.

I never had to cut his nails.  He bit and chewed them down to the quick and then some.  Sometimes, until they were bloody – eww.

The nail chewing progressed to pencil and crayon munching, which was then followed by the “strange bit of mystery matter from the floor” phase – eww to the tenth power.

Many things of indescribable nature have been forcibly pried from the reluctant jaws of The Ronanhoover.

From paper and plastic, to boogies and mastic – we thought we had seen it all sucked into and passed out of Ronanhoover.

Then, while apparently extremely bored on February school vacation, I went to check on a pooping-on-the-potty Ronan, only to discover, that whilst doing the dooty and entertaining himself with one of his handheld electronic games, he had morphed into RonanhooverBling.

I walked into the bathroom to see my  smiling, seemingly innocent child with  an entire front row of SILVER TEETH!

Yes, he had chewed the silver paint off the frame of his toy and gave himself a nice little homemade “grill!”

I was horrified!  I tried everything to get his grill off – toothbrush, scraping, soaking, gargling – but that thing wasn’t budging.

I had to resort to the cruelest.

My spiky, knife-like jewelry file.  Surprisingly, this was not something The Ronanhoover wanted in his mouth – too bad- he brought it on himself!

I had to literally file the bling off his squirming, screaming teeth, but finally, I got my Flavor Flav-less son back, with his adorable white smile intact.

He sees the Pedi GI next month to deal with remaining magpie tendencies, and hopefully, we can wait that long…

Last week he ate the ink from a printer cartridge…

Adventures in autism, ladies and gents, adventures in autism!


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