Oral Sensory Exercises for Toddlers & Young Children

Posted by Debra C. Lowsky, MS, CCC-SLP on 14th May 2018

Question:  I ordered a Z-Vibe starter kit.  Are there any videos on how to use the different tools?  Specifically I have a young client in mind, she is 10 months old.

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Oral Sensory Exercises for Toddlers & Young Children

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Great question.  The  Z-Vibe book has a lot of information on how to use it.  We also have lots of information on our blog as well.  To see all of the blog posts that include a video in particular, click here.  

Most of the exercises detailed there are more for older kids who are old enough to follow instructions, though.  For a 10 month old, it'll be more of just introducing the child to new/different textures and sensations and giving the mouth opportunities to learn and explore.

For example, let the child mouth the different  chew tools and Z-Vibe tips (under direct supervision, with hand-over-hand assistance if necessary).  Dip the tools in sticky foods and have the child eat off of them.  You can also:

  • Stroke the sides of the tongue.  
  • Push the tongue from the left side of the mouth to the right and vice versa. 
  • Press down (gently) on the top of the tongue and release. 
  • Rub both the bumpy and smooth and striated sides of the Probe or Mini Tip across the lips. 
  • Roll the Preefer Tip across the lips, over the tongue, inside the cheeks and inside the upper and lower lip.
  • Do gum massage.

With all of the above, vary your pressure and the length of the strokes for different levels of sensory input.

I'd also recommend starting the child on straw drinking if he/she isn't already, which has many benefits.

On a related note:  I also always recommend introducing the Z-Vibe in the off position (without vibration) first, especially with young kids.  When you do introduce vibration, do it slowly - touch it to the leg, hands, arms, etc. first, gradually working towards acceptance into the mouth.  Let the child feel and experience it, gauge the response, and go from there.

Last but not least, you may find this related post helpful, too:  75+ Feeding Therapy Tips.

I hope this helps some!
Debbie

Debra C. Lowsky, MS, CCC-SLP

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