We arrived at Rachel Horn's house at pretty short notice. We had asked if we could come and film with her and her son Zach at their home in Salford after hearing about Zach's brand new inedible bedroom. Most people probably would have told us to wait until the next day...but not Rachel. We arrived to find a house full of people preparing for Zach's sixth birthday party...assorted relatives and friends, the family dog, and workmen who are currently finishing off renovations to the family home. I could hear Zach enjoying a DVD in the sitting room. Rachel was amazingly calm considering all the things she was trying to juggle!
She explained that Zach's condition means that she has to watch him constantly, as she never knows what he is going to try and put in his mouth. One of his favourite things to chew is moss apparently. He has also gnawed his way through his bedroom carpet, the blinds, the plaster on the walls, his coat and his even his school shoes. Whilst we were there she had to remove a large piece of plastic from his clutches....
Most of us couldn't imagine ever wanting to eat anything like that... but to Zach, as Rachel explained, his condition means that he perceives it as a whole new world of sensory stimulation. Zach suffers from Pica disorder which means that he craves inedible objects, even things like paper and stones. For a mother who has to constantly watch her son, she is remarkably upbeat. She is thrilled with Zach's new bedroom and you can see how the special safety features are going to ease her mind. Special floor and wall coverings mean that Zach will have no opportunity to chew his way through them, and a CCTV camera means she can keep an eye on him, even when she isn't in the room with him.
And whilst blowing out his birthday candles, you can see that Zach is already quite at home in his new bedroom.