A boy who suffers from Pica, a disorder that causes people to eat non-edible things like dirt, sand, and chalk, was recently given a new room after he ate his.
Six-year-old Zach Tahir will try to eat anything, but typically eats materials like moss, paper, clothes, stones, mud, and thread.
“There’s no limit to what he will try and eat. We don’t know what appeals to him about the objects around him but there’s nothing we can do to stop him trying to chew through anything and everything,” his mother, Rachel Horn, said.
“I knew something was different with Zach from around 6 months he wasn’t developing at the same rate as other children. He wasn’t babbling, waving, etc.”
She then took him to the doctor but was told nothing was wrong with him. After she continued meeting with doctors, he was diagnosed with autism and learning disabilities at age 3.
“Zach has a mental age of below 1 and toys for 12 months and below are suitable for him,” she said. “Zach has no speech...not one word and has very little understanding especially of danger.”
After realizing he didn’t really understand danger, they became worried when he started eating parts of his room.He ate linings of two sleeping bags, chewed on furniture and window blinds, and then began eating his walls.
Many victims of Pica put themselves in danger by the substances they eat. Certain objects can cause internal damage and depending on what’s eaten, there’s a risk of poisoning themselves.
His family worries that he will injure himself one day. It was these concerns that prompted them to reach out on Twitter and Facebook to raise enough funds to build him a safer room.
Soon, they had enough donations to build him a new room.
The project cost $55,000 and came just in time for his birthday. The room is made of durable items that are impossible for him to chew.
His mother said he is happy with his room.
“He has slept in it for three nights and he’s loved it,” she said.