Ask A Therapist: Introducing Therapy to a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hi,

 

I bought the Complete Jaw Program from you a few months ago to use with my three year old son who has Sensory Processing Disorder, and is in the Autism Spectrum. He has very low muscle tone in his mouth and does not chew at all. He eats a wide variety of foods but only in purees. He also drinks perfectly from a straw.

 

He drools constantly, mostly when he is doing an activity that requires his full attention.

 

He has great pronunciation of words, so for all the evaluations that he has had, the main problem in his mouth seems to be sensorial.

 

I have been struggling with the kit because he won't let me go into his mouth that easily and I'm afraid I might hurt him.

 

Do you have any course that I could take in order to learn how to use the kit?

 

Thank you for your comments.

 

Regards,

 

Amber

 

Hi Amber,

I am going to answer your question, as I teach a class on Oral Placement Therapy and Autism.

This is a typical problem in children with sensory processing issues, so the key is adding a desensitizing program prior to the Jaw Program. You can also use Applied Behavior Analysis strategies to condition the child to the therapy.

1.  Start the sessions with general body sensory tasks such as deep pressure, jumping on trampoline, etc. Ask your Occupational Therapist or your Physical Therapist for suggestions.

2. Engage in pre-feeding exercises from A Sensory Motor Approach To Feeding, Chapter 7, specifically massage, tapping and myofascial. The Jiggler and Z-Vibe tasks as well as the chewing hierarchy are also great.

3. Then introduce the tool. Do not place it in the mouth at first. Touch, accept to lips, accept to molars with no pressure, and then you can use vibration paired with the tool (Bite Blocks) to provoke a "bite and hold". The key is to be sure and provide direct , immediate reinforcers (often edibles) so the child pairs the tool with a positive.

For more information, please refer to the course Solving the Puzzle of Autism: Using Tactile Therapies.

Thanks,

Robyn Merkel-Walsh MA, CCC-SLP

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