What to do When the Child Mouths Everything

Categories: /
Age Group: /
Resouce Types:

Ideas to Try:

  • Use manipulatives but don’t let her hold them or touch them, keep them all out of her reach and controlled by you
  • Use pictures instead of manipulatives that can glued to a large poster or taped to the table (something that she can’t mouth)
  • Use larger manipulatives that she either can’t fit in her mouth or it won’t matter if they get mouthed
  • Try to provide that stimulation in another way:

Tools and Intervention Strategies for Exploration

  • Use a non-toxic/sturdy chewing tool (many options commercially available – talk to your OT or peer who has tried different options)
  • Place 2” of food-grade tubing (available at hardware stores) on the end of a pencil or loop to make your own “chewing tool”
  • Clip tool onto a shirt or belt loop via a retractable key chain to make accessible at all times (vs. a necklace that may be a safety risk)
  • Provide “chewy” and/or “crunchy” foods (dried fruit, bagels, baguettes, beef/turkey jerky, chewing gum, rice crackers, etc.)
  • Provide strong flavored foods (for maximum sensory impact)
  • Provide cold foods (even freezing foods not typically frozen such as pudding, raw carrots, bananas)
  • Use of vibration via a mechanical toothbrush or “specialized tool* (external to jaw/cheeks and internal for teeth brushing/oral sensory input) – Please seek advice from your OT or SLP if you are not aware of precautions.
  • Provide a tent or “escape” space for calming to reduce anxiety
  • Offer appropriate “replacement behaviors” for mouthing when necessary
  • Facilitate engagement in general sensory activities throughout the day for self-regulation

Source: http://www.cwtherapy.com/mouthingbehaviors/