Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Oral sensory issues

Since J has been a baby he has been very sensory seeking requiring additional input to the world around him in order to cope. Even as a tiny baby he needed to cling onto my finger to sleep and as a 16 week old he was wriggling down out of a car seat until he was kneeling on the floor - totally unable to go anywhere else and enraged by his sudden  inability to go any further. At 5.5 months J began to crawl and I was very proud......... for about 40 mins until I realised what this sudden ability could do for J. Suddenly he could get anywhere and suddenly I had to be behind him every step of the way to generally keep J safe.
As J got older we began to notice other issues, high activity levels being one and constant drooling being another. J dribbled/drooled until he was well past 5, as he got older the amount of drool decreased but he still required several changes of T-Shirt each day for his pre-school years.
Now at age 7.9, J is still having sensory issues with his mouth, mouthing objects has become a real issue and J is mouthing many non-food items including Lego, bottle tops, paper towels, pencils, sweatshirt sleeves etc etc etc. Food is also an issue and J will eat non-stop given the opportunity, this is now impacting upon his weight which is increasing too fast for his height.
Some time ago I said to J that I had noticed that he was always chewing things such as Lego etc and I asked him why he did this,  J replied that it "felt nice" and I really thought no more of this beyond realising that it evidently gave him some sensory feedback.

Since starting in the Junior school though this sensory seeking has become an issue, J is chewing his pencil and paper towels and it is causing problems. His class teacher is worried because in addition to the pencil and paper towels J is also chewing the tiny lids from bottles of water and is concerned about him choking. I asked J if this was a problem in the Infant school too and he says it was which is interesting because I never heard about it. However, given the sensory issues he has had throughout life I am not surprised to hear this is the continuation of a problem rather than anything new.

So yesterday I ordered a chewy tube for J to use in school. There has been plenty of research into these and the consensus is that these "chewies" are beneficial for sensory seeking children in school as it helps calm them and so aids their concentration. I will report back to say if it does the same for J......

1 comment:

Hathor's Bath said...

I've been thinking about this as well. Sprog is still sucking his thumb at seven, and also has a tendency to chew at his shirt collars. I think the only way he's going to stop is by getting him a chewie toy and just letting him get on with it - at least then it's a designated chewie toy rather than improvised. I've already given him a "fidget" toy as he has a tendency to play with himself rather absently (!!!) which can be more than a little embarassing when out and about! That has had mixed success, but we'll get there.