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"Nervous" Student
Old 09-22-2009, 07:49 AM
 
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I have a student who constantly chews on his pens and literally rips them to pieces day in and day out. For example, yesterday, he was chewing SO bad on his pen that it blew up in his mouth and then he had about 20 different pieces of plastic in his mouth. I was told that last year he ripped out a tooth and that he had between 15-20 pens explode in his mouth. Surely that CANNOT be good for your health??!!!
I contacted his parents and they tell me it's because he gets "nervous" whenever he is in class because of potential homework, tests, quizzes, etc...
I don't know if this is REALLY the case because he just does it ALL the time, regardless of whether or not we have homework or anything else.
My next step was to have a Parent-Teacher-Student meeting to come up with a solution. Now, the 6th grade teacher and I were in on this and the parents came up with this: put tobasco sauce on his pens. He HATES spicy things, even the smell of it makes his eyes water. Does anyone think this is fair? Any other suggestions?
I am worried about his health, teeth and someone potentially having to perform the heimlic maneuvre in the very near future.


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I don't think that will solve the problem
Old 09-22-2009, 08:52 AM
 
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Getting him to stop chewing on pens by putting tobasco on them doesn't get to the root of his problem - he'll just find something else to do to deal with his anxiety. How about a visit with the school counselor to discuss why he's so nervous about everything? That level of anxiety seems a little over the top for a 6th grader. Aside from his physical health, this boy has some serious mental health issues that need to be addressed.
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Old 09-22-2009, 09:40 AM
 
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See, I thought there was something else behind it too...but the other teachers and parents completely disagree with me. They think this is perfectly normal for someone of his age. He's the type of kid that wouldn't be able to tell you anything is wrong for fear of getting embarassed by the other kids.
I've asked him why he gets so nervous and he will just tell me that he doesn't know or that he will get made fun of so he's not going to tell me.
Our school counsellor doesn't do the greatest job with that kind of stuff...so I might need to refer him elsewhere.
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Pica
Old 09-22-2009, 01:44 PM
 
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I had a student like this a two years ago and they found it she had pica. It caused her to eat and chew on all types of objects. To me it sounds like pica. The tobasco thing I think is a really bad idea. Maybe try an incentive chart ??
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Old 09-22-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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Google "chewelry."


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You see...
Old 09-23-2009, 05:02 AM
 
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I don't like it either but since I am a first year teacher, I was told my opinion doesn't really count in this matter.

I am going to do some more searching into this pica and the chewlery and see how it works out. I would go as far as to buy it myself if I really had to. I just cannot stand it when the kid sits there and rips pens and pencils to shreds.

What is this incentive chart you speak of ladijen?
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:48 AM
 
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I would allow him to have tic tacs or sugar free gum. I had a student like this a couple years back. I allowed the orange tic tacs because they have very little sugar or calories, but helped him to have oral stimulation. The parents can buy them and bring them in. You dispense them to the student every half an hour or so. I would give my student one or two every 30 minutes. If he played with them, they went into the trash. Hope this helps.
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That does!!!
Old 09-23-2009, 08:36 AM
 
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That really does help a lot...

I am the one who suggested gum or something like that in the first place, but they said NO because if he gets it, then everyone else should get it. Since this is a small school, things like that would get noticed very easily....so I am not sure what to say about that...

I guess that some chewlery has been purchased, not specifically for him, but it has been purchased and he will be required to wear it. I guess if his parents are OK with the tobasco sauce, I am sure they would be OK with that.

It's all a big confuddled mess anyway....one that I am not allowed to be a part of, apparently.
Like, me, for example, I have fidgety hands. I always have. I bring a stress bag or ball to school every day. The kids know I have it, I told them why I have it, and I use it as the "All-Mighty Ball" like, when students have it, they can speak, etc...and it allows me to keep my hands moving throughout the day...otherwise I have markers and pens and they drop and it's just a mess....so, I can relate to this student, just in a different sense.
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I second gum
Old 09-23-2009, 02:36 PM
 
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I'd ask if a child needed glasses to focus, would we not allow him to wear them because not everyone else was? This could be a quick, easy fix! I've talked to my class before when I allowed someone to do something different and used this analogy and they understood it.

This year I've changed my mind about gum. I allow all kids to chew gum in my class only. We had a long conversation over the fact that it is a privilege and one that comes with responsibilities. They can't blow bubbles, snap it or take it out of their mouth at all. On the way out of the room, it gets tossed in the trash. Four weeks into school and no issues from any of the kids.
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Go for the gum!
Old 09-24-2009, 12:14 PM
 
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I am the same with Lopi7 - I have allowed my students to chew gum the past 3 years as long as: it is "chewing" gum, no bubbles, popping, etc. If I see it - it is gone. Also - I tell them no "stinky" gum- basically - no gum that is watermelon flavored or such that gives off strong scents.
They are to spit it out when they leave my room and I have not had any problems with it in 3 years. I would say I had more problems w/ gum before I allowed it in my classroom - kids trying to sneak it, stealing it, and stuff. If your school allows it - I say go for allowing sugarfree gum for your class.


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chart
Old 09-24-2009, 03:02 PM
 
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It is like a behavior chart you just would tape it to his desk. You tell him for every 15mins he does chew you will give him a sticker and if he has a certain amount at the end of the work he will get a prize. Something small. Each week you increase the time for the chart until eventually he maybe go 2 hours or an hour with out chewing.

If he does have pica there is nothing you can really do it is an orally fixation. You just have to take the things away and keep telling them to take it out of their mouth.
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