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Does your gfted child eat anything strange and is it connected to sensory issues?

(12 Posts)
dumelamama Mon 16-May-16 23:47:07


This may seem like a strange question, but I discovered our 4 year old son eating liquid soap the other day. He says he has done this for ages. Obviously there are medical implications but I wonder whether he is craving some sort of sensory input? He has lots of other sensory issues and likes licking things and people. When he was two, this licking combined with a need to spin made the nursery suspect he was on the autistic spectrum, but the assessment revealed that he was 3+ years ahead of his peer group cognitively and linguistically and this asynchronicity explained his unusual behaviour. The health visitor said he absolutely was not on the spectrum. Does anyone else have any experience of this kind of behaviour and cravings for strange things?


Dottydressisnice Tue 17-May-16 00:04:26

Sometimes when you crave strange things it's a sign of anaemia I think

irvineoneohone Tue 17-May-16 09:28:41

My ds used to do this when he was a toddler. He has eczema, so I had to put medicated cream all over his body. He used to try to lick my fingers and lick around his mouth. It was very weird. He doesn't do it anymore, and he doesn't even remember doing this.
I agree with Dotty, it must have been sign of missing some nutrients etc. We later found out he had problem with digestive system, on top of multiple food allergies.

FoggyMorn Tue 17-May-16 09:52:08

Has he been fully assessed for ASD? Screening tests, which might be done by various people (at school, at the GP, by HV etc), are screening tests, not diagnostic tests, and they are not great at picking up ASD in extremely able kids. I have rl experience of this, with 3 out of 4 of my DC being very high IQ (formally assessed, ie 5yo more than 6 years ahead of his chronological age in many areas).

Imo, it does obscure the ASD symptoms a bit as every problem is put down to the child being very bright and unable to relate to their age peers... Including lots of sensory issues in the case of my DC's.

In your position I'd want diagnostic testing to confirm or rule out ASD. I say that because of the issues we experienced at school for undiagnosed v diagnosed DC with the same issues and the positive and helpful strategies that were put in place - that of course, is just our experience smile

Btw, without wishing to sound flippant, I come into contact with a lot of super bright (academically) people and imo not very many of them come across as being NT!

dumelamama Wed 18-May-16 11:40:50

Thanks so much for this really useful advice, everyone. I will definitely get him checked out for dietary issues and will speak to his teachers about ASD diagnostic testing when he starts in September.

irvineoneohone Wed 18-May-16 18:40:54

I don't know the process of ASD diagnostic testing, but I don't think you get it through school that easily, unless he is showing massive signs of ASD, especially just after starting school, while teacher doesn't know your child very well yet.( I maybe wrong.)
I think if you worry about it, it may be better to talk to GP now, and get referred to pead, especially about his diet.

mummytime Wed 18-May-16 20:12:06

You don't get ASD testing through school, and lots of teachers really don 't know much about it. They are taught 1-2 days on all SEN in their training.
I would suggest you request a referral to a paediatrician.
Girls and very bright children can be the hardest to diagnose.

tartanterror Wed 18-May-16 21:29:12

Can you self refer to your local speech and language service (SALT)? They are able to comment on both the PICA (feeding/eating non food items) and ASD traits (communication issues) and can help with onward referrals. Our DS has big sensory food aversions, and is cognitively and visually ahead, but behind with social/emotional and motor skills. School didn't think there was a problem but he's now just been diagnosed at 7 with ASD (aspergers if using old definitions). A paediatrician also said there was no sign of it at 3 but he didn't really look very hard (he was too busy being patronising) - so do remain gently skeptical about much of what you will be told! If you seek referral now (pre-school) you will probably go through the paediatric route which is a hell of lot easier on you than the CAMHS route (wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy) although nothing much happens once you get a dx anyway if your child is able. We decided to pursue the diagnosis because dealing with the school was getting increasingly difficult. I was being labelled a fussing mother and DS was being labelled naughty and difficult. Now we hope that his new label will result in some help and empathy. Good luck getting help for your little chap!

mummytime Thu 19-May-16 04:39:16

My DD went the CAHMS route and locally it is okay. And the huge advantage of dx is that when problems do occur your child cannot be labelled easily with inappropriate labels: "naughty", "violent" , "just shy", "day dreamer", "awkward" etc.
Sometimes teachers and others just need to expect "unusual" behaviour to deal with it far better.

Blipbip Sat 21-May-16 19:22:20

DS has always liked eating cod liver oil tabs. He does have sensory processing issues too - a lot of things still go in his mouth and he is 6yo now.
We have not looked for any dagnosis but we are getting a SALT referral (I hope) through the school.

notagiraffe Sat 21-May-16 19:40:25

Totally agree with mummytime - The school's attitude towards my ASD DS transformed overnight when he was diagnosed (late, as he too is very bright and make his symptoms so well even I had no idea - just thought he was dyspraxic with sensory issues) The fact the school became more understanding in turn transformed my son and he became far happier, more settled and as a result more popular. The Dx was a real step forward for all of us.
You may find he has HFA (high functioning autism) This is what DS was diagnosed with.

TheCunkOfPhilomena Tue 13-Sep-16 21:16:49

DS5 is being assessed by an occupational therapist for sensory processing disorder; it was highlighted when he started reception last year and it looks like he may have HFA too. I feel awful because I hadn't picked up on it sooner, now it seems more obvious but when a child has HLP it does kind of cover it up.
He loves eating sand, it's horrid, the sound of the crunching makes me go all funny. I have to check his pockets as he stores it there 'for later'. He doesn't have any dietary issues (other than being extremely choosy) and is growing well. The OT told me not to worry about his food intake as long as he's growing well and isn't tired or unwell a lot.

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