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Debbie's Blog

SPD at the Dentist's Office

Question:  Hi, I am a dental hygienist looking for ideas on treating patients with SPD in the dental setting.  Can you give me some suggestions?  Thank you! .  If the patient has sensory issues in the mouth, then they may require a lot of desensitizing before they could even go to a dentist and/or tolerate anything in their mouth. [...]

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Straw Drinking Prerequisite - Tongue & Jaw Dissociation

Question:  I'm working with a client who has Down syndrome.  She can't differentiate her tongue from her bottom lip when drinking from a straw.  I've tried having her drink from a straw using a Lip block to see if that helps, but the tongue still just takes over everything.  Any ideas? . . I always recommend getting children on straws (ideally with [...]

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Lip Closure & Rounding Exercises

Lip closure (also known as lip seal) is the ability to close one's lips around a spoon, straw, cup, etc.  It's also important in order to say certain speech sounds, such as /p/b/m/, and it's a factor in preventing drooling. . . Recently I was working with a 9-year-old child who has Angelman syndrome.  The mother was asking if there was [...]

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The Oral Motor Benefits of Straws

Whenever a parent asks me what they can do to improve their child’s oral motor skills, one of my first questions is usually:  Are they drinking from straws yet? Drinking from a straw is a very simple yet effective way of improving one’s oral motor skills.  It works on lip seal, tongue retraction, cheek strength, correct [...]

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Do Chew Tools Increase the Need to Chew?

Question:  My son has ADHD and Anxiety, he spends a lot of time chewing/sucking on clothes, plastic, and other non- edible items. Would your chewies encourage this sensory seeking behavior or will it help him to eventually not need to mouth everything?   My son is 7 years old.  Thank you!  . . Great question.  Although each child [...]

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Isolating Back of Tongue Elevation for K, G, and Y

For the K, G, and Y sounds, the back of the tongue elevates to the palate.  One of my favorite "tricks" to assist back of tongue elevation is to use the Z-Vibe with the Hard Spoon Tip. . . Place the bowl of the Spoon Tip on the tip of the tongue, and then have the child say [...]

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An Alternative for Fidgeters Who Like to Pick

Question:  My son has Asperger Syndrome and severe ADHD.  He has a picking problem and will pick his nails, credit cards, scabs etc.  I am looking for something he can wear on his wrist he can fidget with instead.  Do you have any recommendations of your products?  Thank you in advance. .  It sounds like our Brick [...]

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Calming a High Energy Sensory Seeker

Question:   We are currently working with my son on his out of control behavior mostly at school, but also at home.  I've noticed he likes to run his hands over my arms, or through my hair.  He'll also rub his head against me and such.  So I'm thinking he may be more of a [...]

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10 Tips for Kids Who Need to Chew - An Oral Sensory Diet

Have you ever craved crunchy foods?  Or chewed gum?  Ever chewed on your pen caps while concentrating or bit your fingernails when nervous?  We all have oral sensory habits to some extent. For children with sensory needs and/or Autism, however, oral sensory input can play a particularly important role.  Chewing throughout the day (especially during times of stress and/or [...]

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Thumb / Finger Sucking Alternatives

Question:   My sensory child is more of a sucker than chewer.  She usually sucks on her thumb and fingers, but I am wanting to get her some other options for school and transitions.  She's 5.  What do you recommend? Thumb/finger sucking can be a very hard habit to break - what works for one person may not work for [...]

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