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jaelb
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05 Feb 2009, 10:59 pm

My son is breaking all his pencils. He scrapes the paint off with his fingernails until they are splintery. He breaks them in half. He pushes on them until the points snap. He sharpens them into nothing but an eraser and a point. He never has a pencil to work with. I've asked him why and he says he needs to b/c it feels good. I think it's a compulsion but how do I stop it?



Detren
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05 Feb 2009, 11:21 pm

I'm thinking of trying these, my kid doesn't quite mutilate his pencils quite as bad, but to the point where I think something might need to be done about it.

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Gryphoness
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06 Feb 2009, 2:55 am

I remember in elementary school I would scrape the paint off of my pencils and I really liked the feeling of breaking them in half. It wasn't a violent thing, I just liked how the pencils felt when they bent and snapped. I don't remember anyone pointing it out as a problem and I pretty much just grew out of it on my own.


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06 Feb 2009, 11:00 am

Pencils are pretty cheap. Give him 100 a month, let him know he's not allowed any more than that, and make sure he cleans up his own messes when he's done. If he runs out of pencils he either has to pay for them with his own money or earn more with chores.



RhondaR
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06 Feb 2009, 1:40 pm

My son does this as well. He pulls the erasers off and basically shreds the pencil from there. :lol: I had to give his teacher an entire box of pencils last year (it was a huge box) to replace what he'd destroyed. Whenever I go into his class - I can always tell his desk because of the eraser/pencil shavings and pieces on the floor underneath it!



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06 Feb 2009, 1:52 pm

It could be the sound and feel.



RhondaR
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06 Feb 2009, 2:22 pm

My son says it's because he feels like he's always got to have something in his hands...at home we have trouble with his chewing EVERYTHING, and he'll even rip clothing apart if it's got a hole in it or something for him to fiddle with.



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06 Feb 2009, 2:54 pm

Fun with pencils seems to be a common stim for AS kids. A stim is different from a compulsion, because it serves a valuable purpose for the child, often helping them calm themselves and focus.

You might, however, be able to replace the particular stim with something more appropriate. My son's real need, for example, is to chew and to move his fingers. He can be given straws to chew on, and that saves the pencil. For his fingers ... well, lol, we're still working on that. Squeeze balls lost out because they roll away, clipping pen tops drives his teachers crazy, and fingering everything in reach drives everyone crazy ... I understand there are places that sell sensory manipulatives, so if the issue is of severe concern, you should look into those.

Meanwhile, I think you should accept that you may be buying a lot of pencils. It's rather a small price to pay for a happy child who is learning and otherwise doing well in school, that is what I've decided.


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aurea
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06 Feb 2009, 3:59 pm

My son likes pipe cleaners to manipulate and play doh. You could keep some pipe cleaners on his desk or in his pocket, they wouldn't disturb any one.



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06 Feb 2009, 5:42 pm

You have to replace it with some thing has a similar sensation/sound or whatever it is that is satisfying.



ster
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06 Feb 2009, 9:38 pm

hubby used to break pencils all the time when he was little. the teachers made him wear a special brace so he didn't grasp the pencil so tightly..



jaelb
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07 Feb 2009, 12:05 pm

Thanks everyone. I had no idea it was so common in AS kids. I have no problem replacing the pencils--as you say, they are cheap and I have supplied the teacher with hundreds of pencils. However, the teacher has a problem with the pencil breaking. She has a very rigid rule about allowing each student 5 pencils on a daily basis and the pencil sharpeners are off-limits after 9:00 am. This is an ongoing issue, since she's inflexible and he's not allowed to store additional pencils in his desk or back pack. Ok, so the problem is definitely with the teacher (see my previous post "accidents"). The teacher and principal are going with me to a meeting with his behavior analyst this week and I intend to bring it up. Perhaps he can convince her to make an exception.



ster
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07 Feb 2009, 4:46 pm

wow ! what a rigid teacher ! yikes!



RhondaR
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11 Feb 2009, 2:33 pm

jaelb wrote:
Thanks everyone. I had no idea it was so common in AS kids. I have no problem replacing the pencils--as you say, they are cheap and I have supplied the teacher with hundreds of pencils. However, the teacher has a problem with the pencil breaking. She has a very rigid rule about allowing each student 5 pencils on a daily basis and the pencil sharpeners are off-limits after 9:00 am. This is an ongoing issue, since she's inflexible and he's not allowed to store additional pencils in his desk or back pack. Ok, so the problem is definitely with the teacher (see my previous post "accidents"). The teacher and principal are going with me to a meeting with his behavior analyst this week and I intend to bring it up. Perhaps he can convince her to make an exception.


It's the same at my sons school. I have no issue with the pencils being shredded to pieces, but the teachers sure do! They aren't allowed to use sharpeners, and storing pencils in his desk isn't going to happen either...I think that's a pretty common theme among the teachers here in CA where we live, because each teacher he's had has been this way. It amazes me because they all know he has HFA, but that doesn't seem to make any kind of a difference, they still expect the same behavior of him as anyone else. It's frustrating, and that's one reason why we're attempting to get an IEP for him. So far though, the school is really fighting us. We've only had one of his teachers that has truly allowed us to bring in other items - we brought in stress balls for him, and those didn't last because my son figured out how to tear them apart too. *sigh* Other than that, we're kind of forcing the poor kid to become something he isn't - and I'm sure you can imagine the stress that's causing for him.



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11 Feb 2009, 9:37 pm

Despite my wish to keep everything nice and neat, I used to bite my pencils and erasers due to nervousness. It bothered me that I couldn't keep everything perfect.