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Mealtime Sensory Strategies

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Before mealtime:

•  Play with sensory-stimulating toys, such as koosh balls, peanut balls, bubbles, play-doh, massagers, any toys/books with interesting textures, etc.

•  Give the child sensory input through physical sensory-stimulating activities, such as bouncing on a ball, jumping, swinging, etc.

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In preparation for mealtime:

•  Put the child in a highchair/booster seat.

•  Brush the child's legs, arms, hands, etc. (there is a protocol for this that your occupational therapist can show you).

•  Use the "rough" side of a washcloth to wipe the child's hands and face prior to the meal.

•  Offer the child a Z-Vibe before food is presented to help "wake up" the mouth.

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During mealtime:

•  Use textured spoons or Spoon Tips for feeding.

•  Use the Z-Vibe for feeding.  The Animal Tips in particular create a friendly / familiar environment, and they can be used to scoop food, explore textures with the tongue, and introduce new textures to foods.

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Mealtime Sensory Strategies

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•   Maroon Spoons add a smooth texture to familiar foods.

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Please remember that each child is different and there is no "one way" to decrease these aversions.  Helping a child to eat/touch/tolerate textures can be a long process and therefore "trial and error" is often the best way to "figure out" each individual child.  Parents, hang in there!  For more information on oral sensitivities / defensiveness, click here and here.

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Good luck!

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This guest post is brought to you by Leila N. Bressler, M.Ed., CCC-SLP.  Leila is a pediatric speech-language pathologist who has been working with the Birth to Three population for almost ten years.  She has worked in the school setting and the clinical setting in both Georgia and South Carolina.   Leila is also a mother to a toddler and feels that she has learned most of her knowledge from her daughter.

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