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Children sucking on their clothing
Old 01-22-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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How do you handle the child who is constantly sucking on the ends of his shirt or the collar? I had one last year who did it until he left wet streaks on his desk and I had to ask his mom to put him in short sleeves. I've got one who just started. I know it's a sign of anxiety so I let the parents know, but do you have any wonderful words of wisdom. I've been down the "That spreads germs" path, but I know some of them can't help it.

PS - Ew! It's really gross! I swear 90% of the hand sanitizer in the classroom gets used by me! :-)


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Old 01-22-2010, 03:47 PM
 
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I don't have any ways to help you, sorry! I have had a student that did this big time though. His shirt would be soaked at the neck and then the sleeves. By the end of the day it was nasty!!! I have been told that it is due to a developmental disorder. He was very immature for his age.
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Old 01-22-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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Give him something else to chew on. For my students who do this, I allow them to chew on gum or other stimulating oral tool that will give them the sensation they need or satisfy the chewing pressure/tactile need.
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something to chew
Old 01-22-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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get a small strip of refrigerator tubing (it is FDA approved) and cut a piece. Then give to the child. You can even put it in boiled jello water for flavor. There is something the child needs by mouth in order to concentrate it seems. Let them chew on this instead of their clothing. A lot of children concentrate better when they chew something.
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:14 PM
 
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I had a student that would have the front of his shirt in shreds by the end of the day. Mom tried turtle necks and the kid switched from chewing the front of his shirt to chewing his sleeves! I cut a straw into thirds and he kept a stack in his desk to chew on when he needed it. One day he was out of straws and his need to chew was so strong that he leaned over to chew my sleeve! I tried gum but he got it all in his hair so I switched him to straws.


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Old 01-22-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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My own son does this. I notice he chews when he is nervous. Gum works with him but I know this is difficult when school does not allow it. I agree with a previous poster that a straw might be a good thing to try.
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My son
Old 01-23-2010, 09:25 AM
 
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does this too. He is in K. I don't think he is anxious, but now I will watch him to see what might be triggering this. I am constantly stopping him.
Any more suggestions? I will start putting him in short sleeves.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:50 AM
 
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my 7 yo does this. He chews on *everything* and it drives me nuts!! He had issues as a 4 and 5 yo, but when he was 6, he pretty much stopped (1st grade) about halfway through the year. Heʻs been doing it all this year again. It grosses me out and weʻve tried punishment, and consequences and reminders and .... what seems to work best is just to give him an alternative to chewing his shirt or backpack. Itʻs very aggravating!
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I have had it twice in five years
Old 01-24-2010, 08:33 AM
 
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both students were autistic. In the one case, the boy would chew or lick his shirt collar until it was wet then rub moistened seam across his lips. His lips would get all red and inflamed and later on would chap horribly.

For one is was a chewing issue--for the other is was a tactile/sensory issue.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:57 AM
 
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I would definitely NOT give the child anything to chew on as he could choke on it and then you have a serious legal issue! If you have a stress ball that he can squeeze that sometimes helps. He would maybe tranfer his stress to it instead of the shirt.
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I worry...
Old 01-24-2010, 01:48 PM
 
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about giving him something to chew on because the nature of first graders is to say "I want that too!" (anything to avoid my favorite first grader noise, you know... Awwwwwwww!)

I like the idea of giving him something to play with during circle activities. I don't have a stress ball, but maybe I can find something else like a pipe cleaner for him to play with.
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Old 01-24-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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GIve him some chewelry (I'm not joking -- google it) and give him boundaries such as "You may not chew on your shirt but you may chew on this instead." I don't really think that other kids are going to want one too. They are safe to chew on. Let mom and dad in on this, of course.
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children have different needs
Old 01-24-2010, 09:08 PM
 
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You are making an accommodation. Don't worry about the other kids wanting one. He obviously needs something. There is a student at my school who does this. The best year he ever had was with a teacher who didn't make a big deal out of his need to chew. The plastic tubing was suggested to her and this is what he used. Don't make a huge issue of it and don't give him punishments. Good luck.
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I don't miss that!
Old 01-25-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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When I taught first grade I had a chewer every year. In 2nd I still saw it, often it was their hair they chewed. I hadn't thought about it until reading your post, but I don't have any chewers in 3rd this year. Maybe moving up in grade levels is the answer?

I know some of the teachers in my building use other things for the child to chew on such as gum or those straw necklaces. The necklaces grossed me out just as much as the shirt chewing. Actually more. At least the clothes get washed regularly. No on washes those necklaces.

I simply handled it by reminding the child that clothes are not food and we only put food in our mouths at school. So each time I saw a child chewing I would say, "Is that food?" and the child would stop chewing, at least for a while.
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hi
Old 02-01-2010, 08:24 PM
 
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its a really very tough problem and one should contact child psychologist who can take that stress off from childs mind that cause him/her to do so
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