Mum of boy, 6, who chews on walls due to rare condition tells of her struggles

A mum whose six-year-old boy has a rare condition which makes him chew wall coverings has spoken of her agonising battle to keep him safe.

The youngster has a compulsive eating disorder called Pica as well as severe autism and learning disabilities.

His mum – who cannot be named – has been fighting for specialist adaptations and furniture for her home for almost a year while living in fear that he might seriously hurt himself.

The situation has become so stressful that she was admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack.

After 12 months of pleading with her local council for help, they have now vowed to release funds to make the necessary adaptations to make the family’s home safe.

The woman has since spoken out and given a frank account of her struggle to manage her son’s chronic condition.

She said: “He eats walls, skirtings and door frames, anything you can get your teeth into he will chew it and eat it.

“I have sat crying at night-time thinking I am not good enough as a parent. I have got myself in some right states.”

The six-year-old – who is also non-verbal – is currently at home in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, due to the closure of schools and the mum says it has been a trying situation while she also helps her older daughter with remote learning.

She said: “He has a lot of challenging behaviours. He will bite and scratch and try to hit.

“He can’t say he doesn’t want to do something, that he is uncomfortable with noises that he can hear.

“That’s his way of letting you know he can’t cope but he has got the happiest wee face you will ever see and the most beautiful wee smile.

“I ended up in hospital recently with a suspected heart attack because of chest pains. This has been really difficult to deal with and really stressful.”

She said she first contacted West Dunbartonshire Council for help last April.

In response they fitted wet wall coverings in her boy’s room but within days it was chipping and there had been gaps left leaving opportunities for her son to chew.

The mum then got in touch with Impact Plastics and Coatings who she says had offered to do the work at no additional cost, only asking for the funds to cover materials.

She said: “They use sheets of plastic and it is all heat welded. There are no joins or seams, nothing he can pick or chew.

“The private contractor has shown so much compassion and desire to help.”

The council last week gave approval for the specialist contractor to install safe coverings for her son’s walls as well as specialist furniture.

The council tenant said: “I feel more relaxed and less stressed knowing it’s going to happen now.

“The company doing the work deserve a lot of credit. They have been amazing.

She added: “I would never, ever give up on anything that he needed.

“You need to do what’s right for children.”

A West Dunbartonshire Council spokesperson said: “We have been liaising closely with the tenant to progress this essential medical adaptation to the property and are pleased that with the assistance of a specialist contractor this can now be completed.”