Yawning During Therapy

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I have a kiddo who begins to yawn whenever we do oral placement exercises. The longer we do them, the more he yawns and longer duration they are. It doesn't take much work before he begins to yawn. If we take a break and begin again, he starts to yawn as soon as tools are presented. He presents with hyposensitivity and is very much an oral sensory seeker. Any idea what would be causing him to yawn?

~Carrie M.


Hi Carrie!

I’m wondering if you have collaborated with an OT and or PT about your kiddo? As you disclosed, his hyposensitivity and sensory oral seeking are tell tale signs to me that his body needs more input to feel regulated. Therefore including a lot of sensory stimulation throughout his program could help with the yawning.

Have you tried using colder temperatures of food / drink with him? Perhaps he could be drinking ice water throughout the session? Also providing a Z-Vibe / iced toothette as a way to preface your motor skills may help his body feel what it’s supposed to do and stay more alert. You should do sensory throughout your session to help keep his arousal up.

Consulting with an OT/PT about proper positioning during therapy to keep him at his optimal arousal may be necessary too? Think... a wedge or yoga ball.... or even a chair that helps him feel his body more. There are so many tricks! Using crunchy and chewy foods, more intense flavors, differences in temperature could all help too.

Also the bite tube program, horns and straws are all great sensory components to a program. Let me know if you need further support! I’d be happy to brainstorm more!

~Heather Vukelich, MS, CCC-SLP

1 comment

  • Diane S Reyna

    I have found /and read that chewing and the pumping of the jaw up and down can cause yawning.
    This happens during speaking and singing, by the way.
    I also find that this lasts a few minutes and then dissipates.

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