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How to stop a special needs kid from spitting?[*]

Posted Mar 29 2009 3:39pm
Please scroll down for Smiley Saturday and SOOC





[*] most interesting google search question of the week


So much depends upon what kind of special needs? Is he or she 2 or 10? But even more pivotal, is the ‘why’? Why is the child spitting? Special needs, autistic or typical. I’m confident that together we could come up with a lengthy collective list, but I’m happy to make the first move.

Top of my list would be Copying. Both my boys are exceptionally good at both copying and mimicry. Like most children that begin to attend school, they come home having learned a great many things that they were previously unaware of, such as name calling, teasing, arm pit farting and a great many other egregious but thoroughly predictable habits. Exposure to typically developing peers generally has this effect.

I was very interested to watch my boys, especially the youngest, try to spit. In case you were not previously aware of it, I can assure you that the skill of spitting is just that, a skill, a skill that he lacked. There can be a great many reasons why spitting is so difficult but in my son’s case, in layperson’s terms, it was poor musculature or low muscle tone in the jaw, combined with poor lip closure as well an inability to ‘suck it up.’ This is the kind of child that drools way beyond babyhood. It’s also the kind of child who needs a great deal of therapeutic help to improve the condition as well as a great deal of positive encouragement to attempt something that is so tremendously difficult.

So yes, it’s true, I’m a slacker when it comes to parenting and as soon as I caught him staring at the floor boards willing himself to spit, head hung low and waiting for gravity, I did nothing but watch silently from the side lines. I watched for days as he practiced and practiced and practiced, because these things take time and muscles don’t grow overnight. I cannot tell you how huge this is for someone who is peerless, that is to say someone without peers, groups or otherwise.

It took nearly two months but the boy was motivated, and motivation is a rare commodity indeed. I turned my blind eyes and willed him to succeed, in silence. The end result was still pretty feeble in the great scheme of the school yard hierarchy as compared with other eight year olds but he made his mark and so did his school report because such behaviour is socially unacceptable, unhygienic and terribly disgusting.

As with all new skills it took a great deal longer to teach him the last bit but everything is a trade off my friends.
If you like what you read, send it to someone in 'need.'
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