A boy who literally ate his bedroom has been given a sixth birthday present – an inedible room!
Zach Tahir suffers from the rare condition Pica, which causes him to crave inedible objects, including stones, paper and moss.
His craving went to a whole new level when he began to chew through through plasterboard and nibble through his blinds.
His mum, Rachel Horn, 32, said: "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."
Zach's new bedroom has been uniquely designed with squash-court walls that due to their tough shiny surface means he won't be able to gnaw at them. And, the room has been kitted out with fool-proof furniture that he's unable to sink his teeth into, with slanted window sills to stop him climbing.
Rachel said: "His wardrobes and chest of drawers have been made with rounded edges and installed so he can't pull them over. We have also had to have the blinds in his bedroom installed in between the window panes so he can't reach them, and the sticks to adjust them are magnetic so I can remove them as and when."The bedroom, thought to be the first of its kind for PICA sufferers, has cost the family £36,000 to be created as an extension had to be built on the family's home in Salford, Greater Manchester. Salford Council have stumped up £26,000 as part of a disability allowance, but Rachel has managed to raise a further £10,000 through charitable donations.
People suffering from Pica frequently crave and eat substances with no nutrition, such as dirt, paint, ice, sand, glue and chalk.
The condition, which gets its name from the Latin word for magpie – a bird known for its large and indiscriminate appetite – affects up to 30 per cent of children aged between one and six.
Although the condition sounds bizarre, it is actually classed as serious eating disorder that can cause serious health problems such as lead poisoning and anaemia.
It is most common in people with learning or developmental disabilities, such as autism – which Zach has -or those who've suffered a brain injury.
Zach, who has a younger sister, Isabella, three, has suffered with Pica all through his life and began by eating moss when he first could walk around outside.
"He likes things that are very textured, such as moss and paper, as he can mull them around and chew on them for a while," Rachel said.
"It's worrying for me as a parent, as you worry what kind of germs he might be eating."