Happy Friday and Good Morning!
I wanted to share today what I use with Chloe to work on Oral Sensory issues. What is Oral Sensory mean? There are sensory receptors in our mouths that allow us to perceive taste, texture and temperature. Our brain receives information from the joint of our jaws when we chew different foods. Oral Sensory also is involved in the way we move our mouths, control saliva and produce sounds when we speak.
Children, who have issues in this area, are more likely to be very picky when it comes to eating and may chew or eat things that are not food. They may be very sensitive to textures, tastes and temperatures of foods presented to them. Some may throw tantrums or meltdown over foods. Children may also gag or throw up food because they can’t handle the feeling of it in their mouths. I had a child in my care 10 years ago that would chew holes in his shirts every day. Chloe had a very limited diet for years. She still has a limited diet, but she has made progress. My goal is to get her away from processed foods all together. A few weeks ago she ate chicken breast for the first time. I cut it into chunks, like nuggets. This is a huge victory!! No more yucky processed boxed nuggets from the store.
I mentioned children that will chew on non-food items like clothing, hands, fingers, pencils or toys. Some even bite themselves or others. Chloe will make noises like humming, buzzing or clicking sounds. She will also stuff her mouth with food when eating. These children may be hypersensitive or have decreased sensitivity to oral sensory input. Children, who are Hyposensitive to Oral Sensory input may not even feel food in their mouths, letting it drop out without realizing it.
I would definitely place Chloe in the Hypersensitive category. Here is what I do to help. These are for Alertness: Vibrating toys (Place on cheeks or lips), vibrating toothbrush (which Chloe refuses to use), play with whistles, kazoos or harmonicas, blow raspberries and make clicking sounds with her tongue. Also use a handheld mirror to make faces and stick out tongue. Eat crunchy snacks, salty and sour snacks to wake up the palate. Massage the cheeks to wake up those muscles.
Here are some Calming activities: Suckers, sucking thick liquids through a straw, drinking from straws in general, chewy gummy candy, blowing bubbles and singing or humming. There are also chewy necklaces and other chewy toys for kids, but Chloe never wanted them.