Sensory Processing Explained | Oral Sensory System

Sensory Processing can be such a confusing topic. From terms you may have never heard of to the spectrum of ways it effects all of us, it can be overwhelming. In fact, it can be downright frustrating to wade through the information. That is why I am excited to once again to join with my friends at The Inspired Treehouse, a group of pediatric physical and occupational therapists, for our series on all things Sensory Processing. This month we are talking about Oral Input and its importance for growth and development in kids.

Sensory Processing Explained | Oral Input

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In this ongoing series, I will attempt to explain an aspect of Sensory Processing from my perspective. I will not attempt to use medical terms, explain what I don’t understand myself, or pretend to be an expert. My good friends, at The Inspired Treehouse, will bring you their take on the same topic, giving you a better understanding of Sensory Processing. 

REMEMBER:

I am not a therapist or a doctor.
I am, simply, a mom raising a child with sensory needs.
I am, simply, an educator who taught in Early Childhood Education for 12 years.
I am, simply, just like you.

What does Oral Motor Mean

When I think of our “5 Senses” that I grew up learning about, Taste was always my favorite. Learning about it meant we got to try yummy foods, learn about sweet  versus salty, and test out different textures of foods. However, I never connected this sense, the Gustatory Sense, to anything more than knowing the names of flavors, textures and foods. In fact, I never even knew the term Gustatory existed or that it was so interconnected to the other senses of the body.

For the sake of this series, I am going to focus on the Oral Motor aspect of this sensory system, as it directly relates to how it will affect children and what you may or may not be seeing in the children you care for.

In my attempts to define The Oral System without medical terms, I would describe it as our ability to sense the world around us through our mouths. It allows us to make important decisions about our surroundings, and is responsible for our ability to chew, swallow, and even communicate.

We receive information from our oral system through our mouth, allowing us to experience textures, temperatures, and flavors in everyday life. All of these things have one thing in common…

Taste

As I mentioned before, I have always connected the oral sensory system to the sense of taste. Little did I know it was so much more and responsible for so many more functions and processes. It wasn’t until recently that I learned how interconnected the oral system and proprioceptive system are.

The need to chew, bite, and suck come from the proprioceptive input that we receive from the pressure in our jaws. This connection is key in helping our brains organize information, stay focused, and process the other information in our environment.

What does oral look like

NOTE: I want to be completely honest, and state that I am not completely clear on the oral system and its affects on children. I am going to attempt to explain it to the best of my ability and share stories from my life as an educator and as a mom, raising a child with sensory processing. 

If you are anything like me you have already connected the Oral Sense with eating, biting, chewing and discriminating flavors in foods.

As I mentioned before, it is so much more. The oral sense is responsible for sending signals to our brain, organizing information, and receiving input.  All children require this awareness and input for proper development. The problem occurs when a child is either over or under responsive to receiving information from this system.

As an educator, I vividly remember this sweet little girl who experienced the world through her oral system. At 3 years old, anytime she picked up a block, a book, or even a crayon, she would first sniff it and then lick it 3 times. This same little girl was known as the class biter. She bit everyone, every thing and even herself. She was known for it. We spent countless hours educating other parents, her friends and even other teachers about her oral sense and her need to stimulate this sense. Unfortunately, often times, these behaviors are seen as just being “bad” or “naughty” or “mean”, when that was not the intention of this little girl at all. She just needed something to chew. She just needed us to be aware of her sensory systems. If only I knew then, what I know now, I could have helped her more.

On the flip side, I had another 3 year old that constantly drooled, put her fingers in her mouth and NEVER EVER ate anything at snack time. She was the pickiest of picky eaters and from the reports of her parents, they struggled to get her to eat anything healthy. At the time, I thought it was due to her parents not teaching her how to be a healthy eater, because my kids were healthy eaters. I didn’t have trouble getting my kids to eat… so what was wrong with them… How dare I? Again, if I had only known what I know now!

Sadly, no one knew (including me) those kids’ brains were telling them to they needed input that it was not receiving through the muscles and joints in their mouths. Their brain was trying to protect them and no one knew.

My child bites his/her nails

In my home, as a mom, this looks a little different. The picture in my house is a child who touches and puts EVERYTHING in his mouth. This kid has been sick with more viruses than one can count, because if the germs are there, he is going to get them on his hands and eat them. Ever heard of Herpangina? Yeah, me neither… but now we’ve had in our house more times in our house than I care to admit and we know everything about it. Why? Because of my son’s need to sense the world through his oral receptors.

“Fingers out of your mouth”, “Stop biting that”, “Don’t put so much food in your mouth”… these are all common phrases in my house on a daily basis. Or at least they were until we learned a few ways to help him with his need for oral stimulation.

One story I am a tad nervous to share, but I feel is important to the story, happened when Legoman was 4 and his younger brother was only 2. His brother had just transitioned to a big boy bed and the boys were sharing a bunk bed. My son, Legoman, had such an intense need to chew that he chewed off his brother’s nail. Yes. You read that right. He chewed his brother’s nail completely off. It was pretty much at that point that we realized there was a bigger problem that needed to be addressed. It was beyond chewing the bed post, it was beyond biting his own nails… it had now affected someone else.

The sad thing is, at the time I was furious and beyond myself. I mean, how could he do such a thing to his brother? If only I had known about healthy alternatives for chewing and ways to provide proprioceptive input and daily routines that would help him get the input he was seeking.

Remember, Sensory Processing is Complex.  It is different for every child, because every child is unique. The problems arise when a child either seeks or avoids auditory input. For your convenience, I have compiled a Oral Sensory Input Cheat Sheet listing behaviors you might see if your child is with avoiding or seeking this type of input.

Oral Sensory Input Cheat Sheet

Click to download

Now, its time to hop over to my good friends at  The Inspired Treehouse, where they are sharing their tips as pediatric therapists to explain the Oral System and why they feel it is important to the growth and development of all children.

Oral Sensory Resources

5 Reasons Kids Refuse to Eat | Your Kids Table
Working Through Feeding Challenges | Your Kids Table
Top 10 Tips for Helping a Picky Eater | A Sensory Life
Why is My Child Always Chewing | Golden Reflections Blog

Follow Dayna | Lemon Lime Adventures’s board Sensory | Processing on Pinterest.

 

Do you know a child that seeks or avoids Oral Input? Do you have a child with sensory needs? Has this post touched you in some way? I would love to know! Please send me a message or leave a comment. It helps when we know we are not alone. 

Click the picture below to join our Support Group for Sensory Needs.

Sensory Needs Group

 


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Sensory Processing | Tactile Vestibular Proprioceptive | Auditory | Visual

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71 thoughts on “Sensory Processing Explained | Oral Sensory System”

  1. Great stuff! It’s funny, when things are going really well for a couple days, I begin to doubt that my son really has any issues, just normal kid stuff. But it’s the oral symptoms that I look back on and find undeniable. Biting himself til he bleeds? That’s the definition of special needs and I aim to help him meet those needs! From one mom to another, thank you for these posts. Extremely helpful!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Oh thank you! I am so glad this was helpful for you!

    2. Sabrina

      I just stumbled upon this post and the title and picture definitely got my attention. I have 4 children and only one seems to deal with this. Ever since my boy was a baby, he has always had to have something in his mouth. He had a binky and when it was finally time to get rid of it, he sucked his thumb. We were constantly pulling little objects out of his mouth that he had somehow found. He is 7 now and we have tried to work with him on not sucking his thumb but he still does. We don’t have any erasers left on our pencils because he has chewed them off and no matter how many times I have asked him not to chew off an eraser and explain why (because when we need to erase things there is no eraser!) it seems as though he just can’t help himself. He loves gum! Of course. We still find him with little things in his mouth and have wondered when he will “grow” out of it. I am not sure but reading your article helped me to understand that maybe that is how he is making sense of his world. I have often thought when I see him sucking his thumb or chewing things that it almost seemed like a need for him. Thank you for sharing this post. It was nice to be enlightened on this.

  2. I have 2 children who have sensory issues. My daughter 5yrs old – it’s loud sounds, oral & tactile. My son who is 3 it’s oral & touch. They were diagnosed by the age of 2. I am looking forward to your posts & website. I’m always looking for advice, new ideas to try.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      Thank you. Welcome! I hope you will join the support group so we can get to know each other even better 🙂

      1. Jennifer V

        I stay up until 2a or later searching for info that will help my 2 year old who has been receiving EI services for over a year and is on the waiting list to see a Developmental Pediatrician. I would love to join the support group… how do I do this?

        My little guy has oral concerns… and possibly more.

  3. christy

    Thank you for this article! My 3 year old daughter has SPD and her oral “issues” are the most concerning part of this disorder for me. She is also a biter, but she also chews on everything! Even herself. She takes the glass out of my picture frames and chews it, she chews the metal on pencils and paint brushes like its gum, we even had to buy my older daughter a new tablet because my 3 year old ate the corner right off! Yup! Glass and all! I’m so afraid that she is going to hurt herself. All her toys and books are chewed, she can’t use any art materials without eating them even if I’m sitting right. There with her. We’ve bought every chewy under the sun. We brush. We massage. We do joint compressions. She likes her chewies, but she still likes to chew wood, glass, and metal too. She starts preschool next month and I’m so nervous. She has poor motor planning/hypotonia too, so she’s very clumsy on top of it all. Thank you for your ideas and advice. Its nice to know we’re not the only ones going through this!

  4. Audrey

    Wow, this explains so much about my now 5 yr old who still chews on just about everything she gets her hands on. Maybe I won’t be so quick to yell at her next time. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Erin

    This is all very interesting news.My 9yr old son has high functioning autism with ADHD. He never took a paci or binky but he had his BLANKIE I made him before he was born,with fringe.He constantly chews on it,the fringe and blanket look aweful now,Ohh and he prefers it to be stinky.He hates and panics when I wash it.When I got him a new bunk bed couple years ago,it took two weeks before he had secretly chewed the wood all along one side.When we are out and about,if he’s in a crowd and antsy,he will grab my arm and chew or lick.He has hardly any nails on his fingers or toes.He doesn’t know why he does it,he says he just has to.He is a very picky eater but yet,he wants to eat all the time. After reading this..it’s opened my eyes even more to what he is doing and why.

  6. Amy

    My spd son is and no matter what we give him for safe chew items he is always chewing on something, he is a seeker of all kids of sensory! We had to visit the er a few months ago because he swallowed a watch battery ( which is the worst you can swallow according to poison control). He did not mean to swallow it but he put it in his mouth and then went outside on a swin, I had no idea until he came running inside saying he was gonna die cause he swallowed it! We don’t even own watches ( turns out he got it from a little led flashlight on a keychain). While we were in the ER, he found a bobby pin and put that in his mouth too, I feel like I am always 2 steps behind him and when I try to make our house safe, its so frustrating.

  7. This is great, and I hadn’t made the connection with proprioceptive systems, awesome. I want to share it, but first, “pressure in our jars”?? Is that a euphemism for something? An anology? I’m afraid I can’t pick it up from the contexts.

    I have two kids, a seeker, 7, and an avoider, 11. So I’m looking for ideas all over the place for two very different kids!

    Thanks for this, Angela

  8. Great post! Not sure if you remember me; we “met” through Momdot. I’ve got four children, three with huge sensory issues (also on the spectrum and ADHD). Whether or not our 9mo has any is yet to be determined…
    Love the information and you bringing attention to this issue, in general. It is so misunderstood yet so absolutely critical as a stand alone or an adjunct to ASD and ADHD. One of my boys particularly struggles with oral sensory problems. We’ve had some success with pencil toppers and focusing on “intense” foods like almonds and lemonade. He’s an avid gum chewer (I saw another commenter mention this – it’s a great and socially acceptable outlet!).

  9. wendy

    My son is almost 15, and has to be chewing on something, always. He says gum is too soft. He will chew a water bottle cap until it is I thin piece of plastic, unrecognizable! This article has kind of help me understand his need to chew. I still wonder how he has not broke any teeth, and worry he will!

    1. Julie

      I have oral sensory issues (39 years old and a teacher!). I have had to have my front teeth repaired because they were so badly chipped. Please keep an eye on your son’s teeth so they don’t follow my same path. I have found that coffee stir sticks are a great way to appease a biter. They are disposable, sanitary (because you can get a new one each time), more socially acceptable than gum at school, less chance of choking, and cheap! It’s worth a shot to try with him. I think a box of 1000 is about $2. I keep a stash in my classroom for anyone I see chewing on bottle caps or other things.

      1. Susie

        Oh wow. I would love to hear more about solutions you’ve found as an adult. So practical. I have a chewer/seeker. She is currently a hair muncher.

  10. vicky

    My son is almost 6 and he also needs to put everything in his mouth… didn’t even know there was something like this. He licks the trolley or bites the trolley when we go shopping. Will have to do more research. Thank you….

  11. Lesley

    I am this way. Always have been. And now, my oldest son (8), is this way. Luckily I have never caught him chewing anything dangerous! I feel sad sometimes that people don’t understand – yes, I know its gross. I wash my hands all the time and stop chewing as soon as I realize what I am doing, but, still, always putting things in my mouth- teeth. Anyhow, I am finding these articles very helpful, as I have never considered this anything other than a bad habit. I tend to be more gentle about it with my son’s behavior, and also with my other kids and their own unique sensory processing – constantly pulling pants up into groin, adamantly needing the waist band to be very tight around waist, having a certain affinity for textures, fabrics, and preferring to fall asleep to noise rather than quiet – opposite my own need for absolute quiet. – So much to learn here! Thank you.

  12. Michelle

    From as far back as she was able, my daughter would suck her thumb, but she would have to have hair entwined around her fingers. She’s always finding stray hairs on the floor and sucking on them. She pulled out all of her hair. She’s constantly touching and grabbing EVERYTHING in arms reach. She’s a biter, and she never sits still. She likes affection, but for only a few seconds at a time. She would eat nonstop if I would let her, and certain textures of food she won’t eat. The video said that there are ways to develop the mid brain. How? She’s only two. I’d love to break these habits if possible!

    1. Sonya

      This sounds just like my 2yr daughter, too! All of it! Except she hasn’t pulled her hair out yet. But she finds nasty hair wads in stores and sucks on them. Makes me gag. I’d love any helpful tips.

      1. Lemon Lime Adventures

        I would suggest getting her something to replace unwanted things such as a chewable necklace, a water bottle or chewable bracelets if it were my son.

  13. Bridget

    This post helps things so much. I’ve wondered more and more as an adult if I grew up with sensory issues to touch and oral. I’ve learned to maintain it a bit naturally. But now the struggle is with my 2 year old. He has always been the type to bite hard and gag himself. The gagging was always frustrating as a baby, but now he has learned to stop before he throws up. Now he bites his nails. He bites at the babysitter. If we give him a cup with a hard plastic straw he will bite it hard enough to break off pieces and chew on them. He bites hard toys. He is a picky eater who won’t try new things. He likes fried potatoes, but will go crazy with mashed. I’m sure he has the same pressure feelings in his jaws that I have (I have cracked teeth from clenching so tight, even when awake). Do you think a chiropractor would help? Or getting him an amber necklace again?

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      We actually take our son to a NUCCA Chiropractor and that coupled with OT has changed his life. There are still really rough days and there are anxieties he has, however, his strength and sensory seeking has been greatly affected by chiropractic work.

  14. cindy

    When I was in kindergarten, the school I attended in Rossville, Georgia supplied us with those big fat pencils instead of us bringing them from home. My mom & dad had gotten a divorce when I was 3 and by this time, I had a new step mom and mom had already divorced a 2nd time. It was the 3rd school I had attended. I was rapidly developing a weight problem. I became very shy. I also developed a habit of biting on my pencil. It was to the point that I was writing with a nub. It was not time for me to have another school issued pencil. So the teacher stood me up in front of the whole class and called me a goat because I chewed my pencil. She told all the kids to look at me that I was a goat. All the kids snickered and began to make goat noises at me and call me a goat. I was sooo embarrassed. I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out. I do not remember the name of that teacher, but I will never forget the humiliation.

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      That is so sad. I am so sorry that happened to you ! I hope that information like this can help others know about the need to chew and help raise awareness.

  15. Amelia

    This explains a lot of my son’s behaviors. The video was very enlightening. But it doesn’t explain how to develop the midbrain. Any suggestions, links etc?

  16. Hayley

    I’m 18, and I still chew on just about everything. I always have. Pencils, pens, random objects small enough to fit in my mouth, my jewelry, I even still have a little pacifier type thing that I’ll chew on at home for a while. I have no idea why I do it either, it just seems like the thing to do. Except I’m really weird when it comes to food, if I can’t identify it, I won’t eat it. My boyfriend convinced me to put half a slice of canned pear in my mouth earlier today (he was trying to prove a point I guess) and I spit it back in his hand because I didn’t like the texture of it.

  17. Jacque

    Good advise! My 9 & 1/2 year old has always been very oral. He has ADHD and anxiety disorder. He was a biter as a toddler, has always sucked his thumb, chews fingernails and cuticles, picks threads off clothes and chews on them… He tends to cycle thru behaviors, a year ago he would pick the hem out of t-shirts and chew on them so we started tucking in his shirts. Now he chews on the neckline and all of his t-shirts have holes or the neckline is gone. Gum helps, but then he plays with it so I am not sure school will agree to it. We are trying necklaces, but have had limited success (he takes them off). It is frustrating as a parent, but hopefully we will hit on something that works for him! Thanks for the ideas!

  18. Crystal

    Do you have a link as to how to help our children develop their mid-brain according to the statements made at the end of the video? Thanks!

  19. Carrie

    I am so glad I stumbled upon this article. I’m beginning to think my daughter has sensory issues. She bites her finger and toenails, which I thought was a normal thing for a for year old to do. It wasn’t until I noticed she always has to bite really hard on her towel after a bath. And she has bitten off all the fingers, toes, and noses of her Barbie dolls. What would be a next step to find out more?

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      I would suggest trying alternative chews, such as chewy jewelry and documenting when and why she is chewing. This could help you if you decide to speak to your pediatrician about it.

  20. Carrie

    Im really glad I came across this article on Pinterest. I am beginning to think my daughter has some sensory issues. She is four and has been a thumb sucker since she was a baby, something I wasn’t opposed to since I as well sucked my thumb. It wasn’t until a year ago that I began thinking it could be something more. It started with after every bath. She would have to put the towel in her mouth and bite down really hard on it. Then it was the window sill she chewed on, and recently I noticed that all her Barbies are missing their fingers, toes, and noses. Could this be possible sensory issues? The more I think about it, she has a hard time with solid meat; chicken breast, steak, etc., and much prefers ground meat; hamburger, turkey, etc. What should be my first step in moving forward? Thank you for a great article!

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      This does sound like your daughter has oral sensitivities. Remember I am just a mom and can’t diagnose. 🙂 Also I want to remind you that everyone has sensitivities, its important to recognize the need and try to give your daughter what she needs! I would suggest reading the proprioception article and giving her some alternative chews.

  21. Stumbled onto this post recently and was so glad to find you! I will be reading many of your posts on all things sensory and hope I can gain more understanding. I have triplets – 2 with autism. Both of my girls with autism have some sensory issues/concerns/sensitivities, but my Angel triplet’s oral needs are amazingly difficult to understand and solve. I am currently working on a post on my own blog that discusses just briefly some of our struggles. I’m planning to link to your post here because you do so well in explaining so much. (And then I saw the post with the horse picture & the whole spectrum idea – oh which post to choose! 🙂 )

    Anyway, it’s so nice to find someone who has faced this chewing & eating stuff and still hasn’t completely lost it. For me, there are days… Again, thanks for this great post. I will definitely be back!

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  23. My son is now in his thirties. He wouldn’t take a pacifier, and every time we weaned him from his bottle he got bronchitis or pneumonia and we had to give it back. After that, he chewed on the collars of his shirts and the edges of his blanket to the point I had to cut off the rotten chewed up parts because they were ruined and gross. He chewed the feet off of most of his action figures also. I knew something wasn’t right, but had not clue what to do. Even the Dr. Just said some kids need more oral stimulation that others, but gave no helps.
    My next baby wouldn’t take a pacifier, didn’t really need a bottle, but loved to nurse. I had to cut her off at two because she wanted to pull my shirt down and nurse whenever she felt like it. That wasn’t going to happen.
    Next child love his pacifier, which he called his that. We let him keep it 6 months longer than his older brother, and other than the security, he didn’t seem to miss it.
    Next came a girl who sucked her thumb from the first moment she fumbled it in. She was embarrassed to suck it at school, but couldn’t break the habit at home until she made herself a commitment in Jr. High to stop.
    Next two sons took pacifiers till about three, and weaned of pretty easily.
    I have always felt a bit guilty about child # 1.
    And now that grandchildren are coming, we’ve got a couple who seem to need that extra oral stimulation. I will shre this site with my gaughters, and hopefully they can do better than I did!
    Thank you for teaching us about this topic!,

  24. Jessica

    I love this article. I have a three year old visually impaired daughter who always has something in her mouth. Half the time it’s her thumb but the other half is random toys or her silverware. Loud noises throw her into shambles. So what I want to know is how do I help her develop her midbrain? I didn’t see a link for the next step and this sounds perfect.

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  27. Misty

    I am a mother of a two-year-old boy Who has been diagnosed with epilepsy as well as autistic he refuses to eat anything but he chews and bites on his fingers and on everything that he can put in his mouth I was wondering where to buy one of those sensory necklaces or something else that be more beneficial to have any advice and or help would be greatly appreciated thank you

  28. I own a preschool and Chewigems has been a life saver!! I don’t have to worry about our little guy as much as I used to. Instead of putting every little thing in his mouth or biting he has a safe, convenient way to meet his own needs.

    I have no personal connection with this company, nor am I stating this product is better than any other. This is the product we were introduced to and it has worked well for us and we support and agree with the concept or intent for use of this product.

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  31. Amanda

    I have a 5 year old son who STILL has his nuk. When he doesn’t have it he is very anxious and has to put something in his mouth. Could this be a sensory issue or just an addiction? Thanks

  32. Megan

    My 6 year old son is severe ADHD. He is constantly chewing on things that don’t belong in his mouth (I.e. Legos, bouncy balls, collars of shirts, fingernails, laces to his shoes). I am a teacher, as well, but have found that, at times, it can be more difficult to help your own child!! We’ve tried gum and chew tubes, but he winds up playing with both of them. We are not giving up hope and are still on the lookout for ways to help him!!! Thank you for writing this article! It gave me something to forward to my family so that they can see and start to understand the struggles my son faces daily!

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  34. At what age is a SPD disorder able to be diagnosed

    1. Lemon Lime Adventures

      I have met people with children diagnosed at very young ages. My son was much older as it looked like developmental growth.

  35. Michelle

    Thanks for this! Our little boy had an ASD diagnosis a few months ago and since then it has been been the slow process of decoding him ? As all mums with special needs will know, there’s as much variety in special needs as there is in kids. And on top of that, I find so much of it is really counterintuitive. My boy as been having a growth and development spurt and has become much more “oral” with it. This was a great, easy explanation of what that means and what he might need. I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the series!

  36. Michelle

    This article was a fantastic refresher for me… as a Early Childhood Educator of 15 years, I knew since my son was 1 years old that something was going on with him. The emotional breakdowns were constant and explainable. I fought for him to be evaluated even after several times being told after a one on one observation that he was fine… I struggled to afford to pay for behavior therapist to come to the preschool to see him. After all, that’s his “real” environment. Not a small playroom with just one adult. Within 20 minutes she said… oh yea, there’s some serious sensory processing issues going on. I said, processing what??? I thought I knew kids but I was wrong. Pediatricians don’t discuss Sensory Integration at well visits, preschool educators just label them as bad behavior if they do not understand themselves. I started my son in Occupational Therapy by 3 years old and it opened my eyes to a whole new world! As a mom, I understood my son better and had more patience for him. Educated myself on what I needed to do to relate to his needs better. As a educator in early childhood, I saw each child in a whole new light. I never tried to diagnose any of them and never ever told a parent that something is wrong with their child, but I was able to use my knowledge to give them opportunities to be more successful in their classroom environment. I was able to understand where they are coming from. I was able to calm them down better, to stop and think, whats causing this behavior, what can I do to help…. fast forward, my son is almost 10 years old. There are still some struggles with his learning but 4th grade is no joke either. His behavior is great, he is calm and sweet and loving. His oral processing stuck with him the most. I still find him chewing on things, he is very picky. Sticks with about 5-6 foods. He’s been in speech since kindergarten and still has not mastered his goals BUT I am so very proud of him and I still try everyday to think of his own personal struggles inside his brain as we do homework at night, as I repeat direction to him several times, as I ask him to stop humming over and over again, lol. I am beyond grateful I found this article and this support!! Thank you so much!

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  48. Echo

    It’s so alleviating to know that it’s so easily accessible to find this information out, I was just talking to my son’s teacher about it yesterday and here it is. We can help him in his journey through his first year of school

  49. Pingback: oral fixation four year old

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  51. Pingback: SENSORY PROCESSING: WHAT DOES ORAL SENSORY MEAN? – Med Clinic

  52. Lindsey

    I definitely think that what the video showed about a lagging midbrain is my child, but what do you do in order to go back and develop it further?

  53. Vonda

    My daughter has always chewed on things. This has been very helpful. My daughter also does not like top be hugged or touched. As an adult now she’s can express this. Do you know anything about this kind of sensory order?

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  55. Pingback: 30 Things SPD Parents Secretly Wish You Knew About Their "Picky Eater"

  56. Alicia

    Thank you for this! My 5 year old daughter is constantly licking her hands. No matter what she is doing she is constantly putting her hands in her mouth and other things too. I have been so stressed out about this lately thinking there was something wrong with her because no matter what we can’t get her to stop. I really appreciate this article and don’t feel so bad about it now. It’s definitely something we will need with work with her on but it’s nice to know that there are others out there struggling with the same thing.

  57. Andrea

    I’m not going to act like this is the problem 100% of the time, but I think many children have the oral issues of constantly putting things in their mouth, and thumb and finger sucking, because they are not nursed properly. The natural age of weaning is 2-7 years old. Not only are many kids ripped of this biological need way too early in our culture, even those mothers who do breastfeed usually practice cultural breastfeeding versus ecological breastfeeding. (Basically not nursing them when the child needs, but only on their schedule or when the mother offers). Children have this need, and when those needs are met correctly they generally do not do these things. I’m not saying there isn’t an exception for specific sensory issues, but having nursed three children over the course of almost a decade this is very true. I had two kids who thumb sucked in the womb and I had to redirect them. They never developed the habit as a result. Those babies who aren’t nursed when they give cues will compensate by finger and thumb sucking. This must be redirected to the breast. If the child is forced to stop doing thumb or finger sucking, this is usually dealt with by the parent by distracting the child with objects, including attaching the child To it (security object) which can often be a bottle, pacifier, sippy cup, or blanket they suck on or clothing to suck on. As the saying goes, when a need is met it goes away. This just continues to progress as the child grows, adapting to different environments and changes, such as pencils at school. In her research of other cultures, Kathy Dettwyler noted thumb and finger sucking was completely absent in cultures where mothers nursed their babies on demand and let them self wean.

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