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Posted on 18th Apr 2018
Question: I am an occupational therapist who works mostly with adults but a little in early intervention. I currently have a two-year-old who was fed and is still fed quite a bit through a feeding tube, but who is able to chew and eat solid food now. However, she has a habit with all solid foods of taking one bite and then sucking the rest until she is either able to swallow it or she spits it out. We have worked and worked on trying to get her to take multiple bites of solid food, including putting things on the side of her mouth, modeling for her, use of Puppets, use of chewies, but so far nothing has worked; she continues to take one bite to bite the food off and get it into her mouth, and then sucks on it. I am looking for suggestions from other feeding professionals.
It sounds like the child is sucking on the food in order to break it down into a consistency that she can orally manage (which is very smart of her to do!).
I would recommend checking to see if she has tongue lateralization. Even if she's chewing food, if it's only a vertical chewing pattern then that's not enough. She'll need a mature, rotary chewing action to more adequately break down solid foods without having to soften them first. And being able to move the tongue from side to side is a key part of a mature chewing pattern.
I think you may find this related article helpful as well.
Last but not least, I'd also recommend that you join ASHA’s Special Interest Group (SIG) 13 and post your question there, too. It’s a fantastic group and that way multiple other professionals can jump in and provide their input. I don't know if occupational therapists can join ASHA SIGs, but you can have an SLP colleague join and post it for you - I've seen people do that before.
If there’s anything else I can help with, please let me know.
Question: Hi Debbie - I work at a school for children who have special needs. I serve a lot of students (many tube-fed) who really crave oral stimulation to the point that it is difficult to get them to do anything else with their hands. We have awesome SLPs, but their main focus is more [...]
Question: My 12 year old son has severe Tourette syndrome, and sensory issues. Recently, he's developed a "biting" tic. He bites down HARD on anything he puts in his mouth. Brushing his teeth has become impossible. He bites down so hard on the toothbrush, I'm afraid he will break a tooth! Plus it's incredibly painful. [...]
As a feeding therapist, there are a lot of different tools in my therapy bag. These are my favorites: . PROBE The Probe is a simple but versatile tool for both feeding and oral motor applications. It was the very first product my husband and I made together 18 years ago, and it’s still a staple in my [...]
We love when people come up with new applications and ways to use our products! We created the Z-Vibe specifically for speech / oral motor / feeding therapy uses, but were very excited to discover that it can be used to improve singing skills as well. Check out the video below from
Chewelry is jewelry that's chewable (chew + jewelry = “chewelry”). If you crave chewing on non-food items for any reason, chewable necklaces and bracelets are a way to safely satisfy that need (instead of chewing on other potentially harmful items like pencils, pens, shirts, toys, etc.). Why is chewelry needed? Chewing can be a very effective [...]
Halloween is definitely a FUN holiday for most people! But sometimes it can also be stressful. On Halloween, it can seem like the world flips upside down. Monsters come alive, goblins run amuck, there's fake blood and strange costumes. There are lots of new experiences and potentially over-stimulating situations that can cause stress/anxiety/sensory overload. Having a [...]
Most people know the Grabber, Y-Chew, and Guitar as non-food chewing tools that provide a safe alternative to nail biting, chewing on pencils, etc. But did you know they can also be used to work on lots of different oral motor / feeding therapy goals? ..Here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate the Grabber, Y-Chew, and/or Guitar [...]
Back when my daughter was about 8 or 9 months old, I remember carrying her out to the car one day, and on the way she pointed up to an airplane in the sky. I immediately reinforced this by saying something along the lines of: "Yes, that’s right! That’s an airplane. Airplane. [...]
I just bought your brick chewie for my son, who chews up all his clothing! But I'm wondering - I'm having a terrible time getting my 2 year old daughter to give up her binkie - do you think that one of your chewies would work to replace them too? Have they ever been used in this [...]