child eating stone

Foster Carers' TSD Standards covered:

Author Details

Aarti Daya

Name: Dr Aarti Daya

Job Title: Clinical Psychologist

Current place of work: The Child Psychology Service

PICA is the eating of non-edible, non-nutritious items such as stones, plastic, wood etc.

It is more common in children on the Autism Spectrum, children with a learning disability and children who have had a brain injury which has affected their development.  It is possible that children with developmental trauma and those who have suffered neglect may develop PICA as a means to get their nutritional needs met.  For example, feeling compelled to eat non-food items because they are hungry.  It is also possible that for children with developmental trauma, PICA is a strategy they have learnt to self-sooth when they are anxious or frightened.

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