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Debbie's Blog - sensory

Feeding Therapy - Moving Beyond Food Prep


Question: I am working with a 7 year old girl in feeding therapy who is refusing to open her lips and just purses. She has been involved heavily in food preparation which she enjoys foing and shows great participation.  However when it comes to the taste testing part she refuses all foods. She does eat ham and prunes.  I have tried to get her to chain to other types of ham but she refuses. I have gotten her to put a spoonful of food on a spoon and hold it in her mouth for ten seconds, but then she just spits it out. She lives with her grand parents who have been no help with the situation.  Any medical issues have been ruled out and she does not have any sensory or oral motor issues.  Any further suggestions?

Try having her actually manipulate and play with food.  Make faces with it, smash it, squash it, mold it, finger paint with it, etc.  It’s fantastic that she enjoys being involved with food prep, but she needs to manipulate it in her palms too.  So play with cookie dough as edible 'play dough' - cut out shapes and make cookie dough men.  Roll out a canvas and "paint" on it with yogurt or applesauce and so forth. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration here.

Go through a pattern of touching it to the hand first, then the arm, shoulder, top of head, nose, cheek, chin, touch it above the lips to make a “mustache,” run it over the lips to put on “lipstick,” use it as a “toothbrush” to brush the teeth, “paint” the tongue, etc. 

Regarding the food chaining, for some kids you can change the whole piece of ham / brand.  But for her, try backing up and making very tiny TINY adjustments.  For example, incorporate a little piece of a different type of ham (very small – smaller than your pinky fingernail) with the other ham she likes as a start.  

You can also try putting the mushy part of the prune (I think you can open up prunes and scrape out something spreadable?) on a ritz cracker and have her lick it off the cracker. Just licking the prune for now – she doesn’t have to eat the actual cracker (even if she licks a preferred food off of a new non-preferred food, that's progress).

If she’ll eat the ham with mayo, put a tiny tiny dot of mustard in the mayo. Next session put 2 dots. Work up from there very very slowly.

It's definitely not ideal that there’s no home follow-through, but she’s getting there!



The Benefits of Embracing the Need to Chew

Does chewing on shirt sleeves/collars sound familiar?   Chewing on legos or pencils?  Nail biting?  When this happens, one’s gut instinct might be to say “Don’t chew on that.”   And that’s true - we don’t want kids putting random objects in their mouths.  BUT, chewing (when redirected to  something safe to chew on) can actually be [...]

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Chewing on Ice

Hello - I have questions about the Dino Bite necklace. Would it work well for a 6 year old autistic child who likes to chew/eat ice?  He eats ice constantly and I'm wondering if this would be a better option for his teeth. Thank you! . . Hello!  It sounds like a chew tool would be a great [...]

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Food Aversions & Spoon Feeding Issues

Question:  Hi, I have a toddler who is almost 2 years old, have sensory processing disorder.  He also has feeding aversion. and super sensitive to texture & taste.  Some goals I am looking to achieve: desensitize the oral aversion, teaching him to eat different textures, making spoon-feeding fun (he is now fighting spoon-feed) and teaching [...]

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​15 Made in the USA Autism Chew Toys

Need to chew?   You’ve come to the right place!  We make 15 (and counting) different chew tool designs.  They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, textures, and hardnesses to best meet a variety of sensory preferences.  Each option provides a safe, appropriate outlet for the need to chew (instead of chewing on one's [...]

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75+ Feeding Therapy Tips & Strategies

For any therapist seeking to specialize in feeding, the best piece of advice I could give you is to become a sponge.  Take courses and workshops, read as many articles as you can, talk to and learn from your colleagues, join special interest groups on Facebook and ASHA etc., follow blogs, observe other therapy sessions, [...]

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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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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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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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