Is your child chewing on his sleeves? Does your little girl chew the fingers and toes off her baby dolls? Do you catch your little one licking things inappropriately (doors, tables, etc.)? Does your older-than-toddler child walk around wearing extra food after the meal or snack? Do you have a stuffer -- someone who may not be feeling the volume of food in the mouth? Perhaps your little boy is offended by certain food textures. Do you have a teeth grinder?
What can you do about these and other oral motor concerns?
So many times it just takes regular input to the brain with good frequency, duration and intensity to greatly reduce these issues and often to eliminate the struggles and bring about proper function.
Try these activities with your children (no matter how old they are) who are showing some oral motor immaturity:
Chewy tube: http://www.talktools.com/chewy-tube-yellow Chewing on a chewy tube several times a day will often help children overcome chewing on clothing or toys and reduce or eliminate grinding their teeth.
Toothettes: http://www.talktools.com/toothettes-20-pack Take a toothette and wipe all around the inside and the outside of your child's mouth. In addition, if your child has issues with temperature of the food, you can dip the toothette in ice water and in warm water alternately.
Electric toothbrush or Z-vibe http://www.arktherapeutic.com/Z-Vibes-Tips-Kits.html Turn on the electric toothbrush or the z-vibe and apply it gently all around the inside of the mouth: to the inside cheeks, the roof and gumlines, then apply it to the lips and all around the outside of the mouth.
You may be thinking now, "there is no way my child is going to allow this". Try this: go lightly and quickly and build up over time. You may start with just a few seconds and then add a little time each time you try the activity. If you keep at it, you will most likely eliminate the sensitivity over time.
These activities will desensitize the hypersensitive children as well as wake up the hypo sensory channels of kids who are not getting the signals they need. They work both ways! These few activities can provide so much good input to the brain, I do not have space here to explain all the benefits.
If you have any questions about oral motor issues or want to know more about our child development services and family coaching, visit our website at www.marchforthfamily.com. Be sure to check out our future workshops and classes. If you are not already getting our Newsletter, you can sign up today on the website. Also, we love to hear from our readers. Feel free to share your comments.
Julie and Tom Meekins