ADHD, Chewing, am I missing something?

[deleted account] ( 24 moms have responded )

Here is everything going on with my 6 1/2 yr old daughter. I'm grabbing at straws to figure out what exactly is going on with her.

1. She has an obsessive habit of chewing on her hair (if not put up), her shirts, etc. She has holes in all her school shirts. She seems to do it when she is concentrating on something, and doesn't even realize she's doing it.

2. School: She's on Vyvanse for the ADHD. Works better than the Adderall, but she's still struggling in school. We held her back a year already, and the teacher told us that she doesn't really have the skills to go to 1st grade, but they are advancing her due to her age. She has trouble with numbers - she knows the numerals, just doesn't always get them in order - sometimes she can count to 20 in nothing flat - sometimes she can't get to ten. ????? Does great with "what comes next" exercises. Struggles with sight words, but knows alphabet. Receives speech help (has phonological delays) and OT therapy for fine motor skills (poor handwriting). Sometimes she seems smart - but she's not consistent. Very defiant when the teacher tries to test a skill b/c she doesn't like to fail so she just doesn't try. Her defiance at school increases with her frustration. She acts silly to distract from her feeling like she's stupid (class clown). The other kids make fun of her speech (she's hard to understand and has trouble getting her thoughts into words) and she gets angry. She's very bossy and obsesses with others not following rules, hates when the school schedule changes for any reason and fixates on it. She also talks very loudly. We try to remind her to use her inside voice, but she doesn't seem to have one.

3. Imaginary friends: She has a huge imagination and is constantly talking to her imaginary class, talking about her imaginary family, etc. She can occupy herself for an hour just playing w/her imaginary friends. When is it too much imagination, not enough real world?

4. Night terrors: she still has some night terrors about 1-2 hrs after going to bed. She'll run around the bedroom and into her sister's room. We pick her up and have to "wake" her to get her to calm down and go back to sleep. Sometimes it repeats 2-3 times before she can sleep.

I know very little about all these disorders, etc. and am wondering if there's more than ADHD going on. The vyvanse seems to have the ADHD in check for most of the day. HELP! She's a sweet little girl and I hate that she's so frustrated all the time at what she can't do.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Howard - posted on 10/26/2013

1

0

0

From my own experiences as a father and as a grandfather, and from reading many accounts like the above, I suspect that few "normal" individual have problem-free children. My own children presented us with a world of problems for which we sought all the help we could get, fearing that they would grow up to be misfits who would be shunned by others. Those troublesome children, for whom there was little hope, grew up to be successful, respected professionals. Then came the grandchildren, several of whom experienced both physical and sexual abuse when they were very young. The problems with our children paled in comparison with what we were now forced to deal with. We got them through it, not an easy task, and now they show promise of becoming happy, successful professionals themselves. Here is what I've learned after 80 years. Children are children, not young adults--and certainly not little soldiers who need strict discipline. Enjoy them. Spend quiet time being a child with them. Listen to their fanciful stories, play their mindless games, watch their silly cartoons. Hug them often, and speak softly to them even when they make your blood pressure soar to dangerous levels. Let them know that they have to learn to deal with problems in an adult world, but also let them know that you are always there beside them when they are faced with problems with which no child should have to deal. Love them. In a few short years they will be off and you won't have to deal with all those troublesome problems. If you didn't spend time loving them when you had a chance, you won't have to worry about having them trouble you any longer once they are grown. They won't be back.

Rosemary - posted on 07/09/2009

10

7

0

My child has adhd and also chews on his shirts around the neck and in winter months on his long sleeves. Then he has picked at his hair and twirled it. I would much rather have him chew on his shirts. There is a hair pulling thing called trichto something and my adhd specialist said that he doesn't have it , but that meds tend to bring out these types of behaviors. I am concerned because he has pulled small bald spots on his hair twice now. I had to get his hair buzz cut and am so sad that he did this to himself. Hopefully i can find other stress relivers for him, as many adults have habits, though they are usually accpetable habits. I also used to question what my son knew or not. I remember his preschool teacher telling me to work with him on counting to 10. I told her he can count to 20. I know he is afraid he is going to be wrong and will just adk for assistance so he is not wrong. My son will start an IEP for speech this year (3rd grade) and the teachers think he won't need this all that long, but i have heard you should fight to keep it because it is such a blessing. ADHD has so many components that can go along with it. I do agree with the other post about possibly dyslexia numbers out of order etc. With adhd children forget what they have learned if they were distracted, or didn't hear the lesson. When my son was tested the biggest thing that pointed to adhd was that his short term memory wasn't as good as it should have been. Other helpful hints to consider: look up readybodies online , chadd meetings (many different but sometimes useful topics and cheap too! One peice of advice i would give for school agers is if you can request a teacher request one that will give all or most of the homework in a packet that is due at the end of the week. This has been helpful to me and my son we do the written work and get it out of the way and then, play matching game with spelling words the mid to end of week hope this helps you. You are not alone.!!

Cecilia - posted on 06/26/2009

11

2

2

My son is 8 and has been seen by a theripist, who was the first to suggest he was ADHD. Also, 2 pediatricains and a Neurologist. The Neuro. Dr. sent him to a sleep theripist. He said that children with ADHD often have some kind of sleep apnea, snoring, teeth grinding.. In my sons case they found during a sleep study that his leg slightly spasms while he sleeps, keeping him from going into a deep sleep. During the study, my son woke out of deep sleep 22x in 8 hours! It was so slight I'd never noticed. I always thought he was a heavey sleeper, but he's really just exausted! We also recently found out the he has a stigmatism and is far sighted, he needs glasses. I've read that this also causes symptoms of ADHD. And if that weren't enough ,when he was 2 his Dad walked out and didn't look back and then killed himself when he was 4! Trama is another cause of ADHD symptoms. My poor boy. He takes aderall Just when he goes to school and he does ok. Sometimes it's hard to make friends for him because he's all over the place. Girls and younger children tolerated him more, but boys his age are more into mature stuff; sports and video games. My advise to you and all ADHD parents is educate yourselves as much as you can, we are there advocates. Lots of people have their opinions, even doctors can disagree with each other. Talk to you doctor about your concerns and try getting a second opinion. If you don't like their meds., try a new one. Look into an alternatives like diet and behavior theripy . You can even combine alternatives with meds. If you Ped. isn't helpful, find another one!

[deleted account]

Carrie - Have your tried giving her sugar free gum for her chewing? The only thing I've heard about chewing in ADHD is that it helps them concentrate. So sometimes when my dghts have trouble concentrating on their homework, i'll give them a stick of gum. I also wish they could have a stick of gum when they take a test at school but I don't think that will fly with the school!
2) about school - I have 3 girls - two with ADHD and dyslexia. We started tutoring with my oldest dght when she was in 3rd grade...when she was dx'd. She had intensive 2hr weekly tutoring with daily homework for two straight years (the Wilson method) and she's done great. When my 3rd dght started showing signs we started tutoring in kindergarten and it only took 6 months to remediate her (the brain is so pliable when they're younger!). When my dght started kindergarten she did not know all her letters or the sounds they made, she could not rhyme to save her soul, she barely got the notion that you read from left to right. Numbers were random concepts. Do not rely on the school to figure this all out for you - you must take matters into your own hands. Start looking for a wilson tutor. Also...both my girls learned their numbers and addition/subtraction, etc through TouchMath. Instead of counting on your fingers you count/tap on the number. It's amazing. My oldest didn't go on medication until she was at the end of 3rd grade. Like you, we saw flashes of brilliance and couldn't figure out why she wasn't like that all the time. When she went on the medicine....she WAS like that all the time. It was unbelievable. My youngest dght's ADHD is different than my oldest. My oldest was quietly squirmy and scored in the 1st percentile for attention. My youngest was so squirmy, it almost looked like she had a movement disorder. There is no way she could have sat still enough to attend to the teacher to learn anything . We knew she had a long way to go - so we started her on medication in kindergarten - she was 6 years old at the time. Like I said, within six months the girl was reading fluently, adding and at the top of her class. She is a happy, funny kid.
3) can't help you on the imaginary friends.
4) My youngest still has night terrors too. She still sleep walks. My 2nd dght did but it is lasting longer in my 3rd. It's weird though isn't it? Their eyes are wide open but they are sleeping! usually a trip to the bathroom will wake her up. She never remembers her antics either.
Again, the daily tutoring homework is what "changes the brain". It was my kids' medicine. Consider having her tested and while it can sometimes be expensive for us it was worth every penny as we knew exactly what her issues were and how to address it. It also gave us a greater appreciation for her struggles and thus, made us better parents.
Sorry so wordy!
Good luck.
Sharon

Mechelle - posted on 06/19/2009

1

9

0

this was so helpful about the chewing, i somehow did not link it with the adhd, its been a tough 8 years because after he was born i was diagnosed with add, then fibromyalgia, so its been hard keeping his symptoms and mine in hand. thank you all

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

24 Comments

View replies by

Barbara - posted on 11/25/2013

4

0

0

Our 9 yr old son who has ADHD, anxiety disorder and perhaps Aspergers (this last one to be tested soon) when through mounds of shirts and tshirts with his chewing from grade K to 1st grade. The anxiety was the trigger and when he started therapy over a few months the chewing stopped. Hope this helps.

Suzi - posted on 09/27/2012

1

0

0

You may want to consider having her evaluated for Aspergers Syndrome. My son is being re-evaluated right now, so the questionnaire is fresh in my mind. Your description of your daughter's behavior reminded me of questions I just answered about my own son.



And, I realize this goes against convention, but when my son became very angry on Vyvanse, we experimented by taking him off ADhD meds. Within two weeks, he was a totally different child. He's been med free three years. Every day is still a struggle, but I'd rather have a happy drug-free kid who makes B's and C's than an angry straight A student. I am NOT a fan of Vyvanse!!



I wish you the best!

Vicki - posted on 07/10/2009

288

2

25

Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID)?





Before my son was diagnosed ADHD, he was diagnosed with a mild form of SID. His sensory seeking behaviors were getting him into trouble at school. An occupational therapist worked with him to find some seeking things he could do at school to meet his sensory needs appropriately. We tied a huge rubber band around his chair legs. The teacher kept a supply of sour bubblegum in her desk for him to chew. After recess he carried a heavy object from one end of the school to the other. The biggest kid in class picked him up and gave him bear hugs.





These things helped my son tremendously. I am so thankful to his teacher and classmates for understanding and being helpful. It made a world of difference in his life.

Julie - posted on 07/09/2009

4

6

0

I promise the chewing gets better with age and time. My son now 13 no longer chews on his shirts but does always have a piece of plastic, pencil eraser or something in his mouth. He also always has something in his hand. Usually, a stress reliever. Never a pen or pencil because he will doodle on anything in sight. (even his new bedroom suit). As far as the night tremors we dealt with those for about 6 years. If Jacoby had a bad day he would have a bad night no doubt. Along with the tremors came bed wetting alot of the time. At age 11 he just grew out of them. We try to keep things on an even kill at home and no fighting or arguing in front of him. Confrontation is really upsetting too him. We have been drug free for 2 months and only on herbal remedies at this time. Keeping my fingers crossed to see how eighth grade goes.

Joy - posted on 06/26/2009

7

8

0

I never connected the chewing with my 11 year old daughters ADHD. She even chews her tongue when she can't find anything else to put in her mouth. Her teacher last year suggested we try some sugar free gum and for her it worked wonders. Now during the summer when she finds herself doing some odd things and needs to concentrate on something for just a little while she'll ask if she can have a piece of gum. I think it helps her put her extra energy somewhere. It is good to know that the things that just about drive me crazy are not just my kid. Thanks for all the great comments

[deleted account]

My son is exactly the same way with point number 2! for him it was all about severe anxiety! I already knew he`s at high risk for ADHD and ODD but didn`t know about the anxiety so was really confused about his behavior in his preschool. Saw a phycologist associated with the school and she told me he has anxiety!

Elissa - posted on 06/19/2009

5

80

0

For my daughter, when she starts chewing on things (mouthing) it is because her yeast is getting out of control. She has, among many other things, yeast in her digestive tract...this occurs when a child is on antibiotics a lot (she was a sick baby)...the antibiotics kill good bacteria, which lets bad bacteria (and yeast) thrive...she was addicted to carbs, which made the yeast worse. I say treat the yeast! You can try probiotics (not just yogurt...you need billions of bacteria...not enough in yogurt) from a health food store...also kirkmanlabs.com has tons of good yeast fighting stuff (threelac, yeast aid, etc.) I say definitely look at the yeast issue...you can also do a comprehensive stool analysis to prove to yourself that it is the yeast...

Sabrina - posted on 06/19/2009

28

24

0

wow both my son and step daughter chew. Jarred chews his clothes and Mary has chewed cords off a leap pad and other toys, plus she pickes at her skin until she bleeds. Mary doesnt live with us right now. My husband is milirary and we live on the other side of the country from her. Mary's mother does have her medicated, but there is no structure and energy release time. Jarred isnot on medication and is outside when he gets home from school until 1 hour before bed lol. It makes his life easier on all of us to burn off all that energy!

Maria - posted on 06/15/2009

5

9

0

My son is 15 and was diagnosed ADHD when he was 7. He has and still does chew on things such as his shirt, pencils (no not what some would consider normal chewing), an so many other objects. My son's IEP for school actually allowed him to chew gum. He also had what was called his "fidget box" and this was a small box with a variety of small toys that he was allowed to hold in his hands to keep his desire to fidget to a minimum. He was also allowed to be the "teacher's helper" whenever the teacher needed someone to run an errand they would send him, this allowed him to get up, walk and burn off some of that excess energy. This did help him immensely. ADHD kids are very "rigid" and routine is most definitely a necessity for them. I was going to suggest further testing for other disabilities.

I hope some of my post is helpful. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

Brooke - posted on 06/11/2009

10

17

0

WOW!!! My son is nearly 12... I never thought about the chewing of all his clothes until i saw this post.. Holes in the neck line and sleeves... No one ever mentioned it at all, except to tell him to stop it... He has always done it, and there is no sign of it slowing down.

He was with speech therepy for a couple of years until he started to talk so you could understand him. He has a constant dribble, or excess saliva... The Peditrician has refered him for testing, but thats another 6 months away.]

I talk with the school every couple of months... They have funding for him... This along with communication together, he is going through school with no greater problems than "normal" kids have.

I wish you all the best of luck with your girl..

Angie - posted on 06/11/2009

1

27

0

I have a daughter 15 with ADD, a son 12 ADHD and a 8 year old daughter whom I haven't even bothered having diagnosed, as she is just as hyperactive as my son and as easily distracted as both her siblings. My son has struggled the most as he has also had a lot of physio and OT problems added on. After he struggled through the foundation phase at school, just being pushed through due to age, i moved him to a remedial school and he repeated third grade. The changed method of learning helped a bit, but ultimately, he was still being bullied continuously. January this year I started home schooling him. What a difference. I use an incredibly structured curriculum and he is thriving. I often have him sit on a gym ball instead of a chair, which helps him concentrate. He also chews his clothing, so i have a constant supply of chewing gum etc at the desk. This also helps to alleviate the constant stream of chatter! It has made such a difference and i don't use meds any more and have a much more relaxed child.

Terri - posted on 06/07/2009

15

2

2

Hello!



My son, now 15, exhibited many of the traits described. He was a chewer, picker, twisted his fingers when talking to people, awful handwriting. Shane was diagnosed with ADHD at 3, medicated at age 5. Concerta has been a wonderful medication for him. Very few side effects, and helped his personality blossom.

Slowly over time, we worked on each issue. I started with the most problematic issue which was the chewing. I enlisted the help of his teachers to "signal" him when he was chewing. For him, it was a light tap on the top of the left hand. Eventually, he progressed to a point where he could tap his own hand to remind him to stop. We now use gum, since he is no longer leaving it everywhere.

As for handwriting, I can thank his Cadet Corp for helping with that. He know writes in all capital letters, much like block writing. For school purposes, I made it clear to his teachers, if they expected him to turn in a handwritten assignment, it was up to them to decipher it. If they would accept a typewritten assignment, they'd be able to read it, and he'd be able to finish it. He seems to have a block from his thoughts to his fingers to the pencil to the paper. However, if he *types* the assignment, he can usually finish a short writing assignment in 25 minutes, a longer assignment in an hour or so. This is down from almost 3 (yes, three) hours for a written assignment.

We just finished his IEP evaluation for next year. Naturally, he does not qualify for an IEP, but the school has an "at risk" program. He fits nicely into the at risk program, and I am finally going to get what I have been requesting for the last 6 years! His teachers will have to email me a list of what is due for the following week, when it is due, etc. Once I can get BoyChild into a routine of doing his homework, turning it in (we scan his assignments and email them to the teachers), and seeing that he is capable of more than a B-, I have a feeling he will excel in ways he could never imagine!

So..there is hope. :o)

Tabatha - posted on 06/06/2009

1

2

0

chewing isn't a problem with Ryan (he's 9) our problem is he picks at things. Wall paper, paint, stickers, scabs, handnails, you name it. His teacher put velcro under his desk for him to pick at, and it helped! As for the handwriting , you mean I might actually be able to read it one day, yipee! Has Caarrie tried exausting liu/special services at school. There are so many thing the school can do to help, but you often have to make them because it cost them more to provide these services. Special assistance can be provided, special seating and more.

Krista - posted on 06/06/2009

71

27

6

Hey, I also am noticing the constant motion. My son just turned 10, and was diagnosed at 8 with ADD. He isn't on medication, as he's just got focus and attention issues at school. He also is bossy, and a chewer. Apparently I'm the only one who's child isn't chewing up his clothes. He chews up pencil erasers, his nails and whatever else he can get hold of. The school has put a bungee cord under his chair (and other kids' too), and they can use that to get some energy out. He is constantly tipping his chair back as well. He had night terrors when he was younger as well. I just would say to be patient. My son's writing is still not totally legible, but he's gettin better.



Make as much of her learning as you can fun. My son obsesses over certain topics, and we throw his learning into some of those things. I have had him ask for volcano books at the library. He loves to play games, I have math games. I made a reading BINGO once. Took index cards, wrote words on them and the same words on a bingo board made out of construction paper. Made two or three boards, with the same words mixed up. I have made a Memory game out of letters, one capital and one lowercase. Then it's fun, and they still are learning the stuff they need. maybe that will help.

Julie - posted on 06/05/2009

1

9

0

I'm so glad I found this group. My oldest daughter Jessica (11) had ADD and she has always had the chewing habbit too. I thought it was just some little quirk unique to her, but after reading your post and the replies I'm seeing that it probably goes along with the ADD. I can say it seems to have gotten better with age. We went through the same issues, wet hair from chewing, ruining her shirts from chewing on them...finally her nanna bought her a rubber bracelet for the purpose of chewing on it...may sound a littel weird but you do what you have to.

[deleted account]

Thank you both. It's funny you mention Dyspraxia because I just ran across that in my research yesterday - it FLOORS me that no one has ever mentioned that with her before - our pediatrician, her OT therapist at the school, all the people involved in her IEP's and testing??? I had never heard of it before but it fits her to a "T". We're trying to find someone in the area who specializes in it. We're in a small town in south Louisiana with limited medical expertise. The ADHD M.D. specialist in Baton Rouge we've heard good things about has a 9-12 month wait for an appt. They said she tests the hair follicles to look for what in her system is the issue (heavy metals, etc) and what she is deficient in, and then puts the family on a strict diet program. With our schedules, that scares the heck out of me but anything to help her at this point.

Thanks for the chewing suggestions. Her OT teacher mentioned getting a "figit" of some sort to help with the chewing. Her problem with gum is keeping up with it (she forgets and it ends up in the hair, floor of the car, next to her chair, etc.)

We just had her IEP and nothing has changed really from the prior year. I'm going to call her OT teacher though and ask her thoughts on dyspraxia.
Thanks again!

Michelle - posted on 06/04/2009

15

37

0

My son is 16 and was diagnosed at 5. He chewed from about 6-8, then just stopped. The front neck of his shirts was twisted, chewed and torn beyond all recognition (as well as the sleeves of long-sleeved shirts). As your child grows, you will notice other "energy expenders" from time to time. Shoe tapping, swaying side to side when standing, drumming fingers, tipping chair back and forth constantly, etc. These are all common, and actually help your ADHD child focus. The trick is to find something that is not distracting to the rest of the class, nor destructive to clothing, school property, etc. Some things that work for a lot of ADHD kids are chewing sugarless gum, sitting in a rocking chair, or having a "rubbing stone" in their hand. (These can actually be written into your child's Individual Education Plan at school, so that these things are allowed. If the school fights you on this, you have PLENTY of back up in the Individuals with Disabilities Act. Modifcations in the classroom are just as important for you child with disabilities as that wheelchair ramp or insulin bag they have for other kids.)

My son also had some strange night occurrences He would have crazy dreams and sometimes would wake up saying that people wouldn't stop moving, or that people wouldn't stop flashing lights at him, or he could hear voices, etc. etc. The doctor swore that it couldn't be the medication, however the dreams and middle-of-the-night hallucinations stopped over the summer (when he was off meds). Ultimately, we decided not to continue with stimulants when school rolled around again, and the night issue never returned. It was a tough choice, because the meds really helped him during the day.

#2 - Bossiness comes with the territory. ADHD kids like to do things their way or the highway. LOL! This is frustrating when they are younger, but this is a beginning sign of leadership!

Imaginary friends - this doesn't sound so bad to me. ADHD kids have such a hard time with friends sometimes, at least when they're younger. Their social skills are not as developed as most others their age. Imaginary friends will play whatever you want, and don't care if you change your mind often or become hyper focused on one game! They also don't tattle if you bully them.

If you haven't had an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting with your school, I would request one now, and re-do it every year, as your child changes. Some years will be easier than others, depending on the teacher and their experience with ADHD. You can include many things in the plan that will help your daughter. Some things are so simple but make a big difference. If you have trouble dealing with the school, seek out your local CHADD chapter. I found a ton of guidance and advice there from parents who had already been down the road. The school learned to listen to me!

Cheryl - posted on 06/04/2009

1

8

1

Hi Carrie I am a mother of a 13 year old boy with ADHD he was diagnosed just before his 5th birthday. We have had the chewing clothes and biting his nails as his hair is not long enough to chew, think it is just a phase they go through and believe me they go through many. No 2 kids are the same with ADHD and its alway difficult finding someone who has gone through the same things.



My lad is on Strattera now but has been on Ritalin since 5. He was having difficulties at school and we found out his tablets were not strong enough anymore so is much better on these.



From the sounds of it have you considered either Dyslexia or Dyspraxia, apparently these are quite common amongst ADHD children.

Bossy and obsesive come with the territory im afraid it doesnt get any easier as they get older either , these children hate change which is why I am glad he is at senior school as he knows what he is doing day to day and week to week.



Dont talk to me about poor handwriting, its only this last 6 months that you have been able to really tell what he is writing. He knows exactly what he is writing to me it looks like a spider has crawled in an ink pot and ran across the page in upteen different directions over and over again. We had to slow him down as he was writing too quickly, he knew what he wanted to write but could say it quicker than he could write it.

At junior school he took his english sats orally as he wouldnt have got a 1 for his writing.



Have you had a word with the Educational Psychologist as they can implement all the help your daughter needs in school so she doesnt feel so frustrated.



I havent had any dealings with Night Terrors so I cant help on that score but maybe if she had more support at school so she didnt feel so frustrated and as my son puts it feels like a freak sometimes the night terrors might calm down.



My son suffers with tics and they have got gradually worse as he has got older, he does get picked at sometimes but most of his friends are aware of his condition and leave the subject well alone. You will always get kids picking on someone who is different, like the saying goes there is no one more cruel than a child!!



Hope some of this helps, try to stay positive and I hope things get better for your daughter.



Cheryl from Hudds

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms