A six-year-old boy with a rare condition that causes him to crave inedible objects, such as wall plaster, stones and paper, has been gifted a unique present – an ‘inedible’ bedroom.
UK boy Zach Tahir, who celebrates his sixth birthday today, suffers from the rare condition Pica, which left him helpless to stop himself from gnawing through his bedroom walls.
Mother Rachel Horn, 32, said his hunger for inedible objects became an even bigger concern when the youngster began to chew through plasterboard and window blinds in his Salford bedroom.
“There’s no limit to what he will try and eat,” she said.
“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.”
But there is. And it cost over AUD$50,000.
Zach’s brand new bedroom, thought to be the first for Pica sufferers, has been put together to include walls made with the same material as squash courts – a flat, shiny and strong surface that is impossible for him to bite into.
Furniture in the bedroom has been made with rounded edges and installed in such a way that it can’t be brought to the ground.
To curb his destruction of blinds, the family was forced to install bedroom blinds in between window panes to prevent access and uses magnetic, removable sticks to adjust them.
CCTV equipment has also been installed in the bedroom with video live streamed to Zach’s mother’s phone.
“When I hear him in the night, I just switch on the camera through my phone and can see what I’m doing,” she said.
“He doesn’t sleep much because he has a very active mind due to being autistic, so keeps me on my toes, especially at night.”
Ms Horn, who was forced to give up her job to look after her son, was billed over $53,500 for the renovations.
The local Salford Council pitched in with $38,686 as part of a disability allowance and the remainder was raised through charitable donations after some notable celebrities got behind the cause with a Twitter campaign.