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Pre-Chaining and Food Chaining: Fun Oral Motor

Posted Aug 10 2008 12:00am
Hi. Jessica and I have been talking about Alex. He is refusing his pacifier. Jessica was worried about that, she thought he had lost some of his skills and this was a sign of regression. I told her to think about her older boys, how old were they when they gave up a pacifier. He doesn't want it anymore, he hasn't lost any skills. He is shaking his head no and turning away from us. He is communicating with us. He was also refusing his Nuk brush but accepting his DuoSpoon and his cup. The Nuk is going in the trash. He is keeping the P and Q tubes and the DuoSpoon and we are going to offer him other, creative chewies and utensils to learn from, explore, build confidence toward our goals. He is teething, so let's take advantage of his need to chew and bite. Nothing will be pushed on him, just placed in his hands or on his tray. He can have a rubber spatula or ladle or cloth (frozen washcloth dipped in juice) if he wants one. He can learn to explore these "chewies" and it will teach him so much more on his own than someone else touching his face. Alex might like playing with food with his brothers, everything modified for him... Consider some of these things below. Just being outside and interacting with your family is powerful treatment.

These activities can be explored in many ways for kids. The activities will vary by age and needs. Think about playing "soup" and "tasting" your creation with the ladle for older kids...I like to stir and play with liquids and splash (sometimes this is a fun one for outside, like wading pool play, it makes a mess..no you will NOT see me in a swimsuit). You can also put flavored liquids in mini spray bottles and have a water fight. You might spray some on your mouth or lip and get a taste. There should be lots of giggles in this activity. You can flavor liquid in large bowls and play splash with the ladle, utensils or your hands. The kids may taste something or bring hands to mouth. You can make a few bright colored juice ice cubes or use shaved ice and add to the water or play in carbonated or flavored water. (Last week, one of my very aversive patients and I played with a bunch of straws and utensils, Cool Whip and jello cups. She started bringing the straw to her mouth on her own). Kids can lick a ladle, explore cups to pour and play. Fun for a hot day. Don't forget all the fun language-learning that you can add to this: concepts, water, swimming, diving board, life guards, temperatures, colors...add to it and really make something fun. If your child does not like being wet..don't do this one. Water tables or containers in all sizes are also fun. Stacey does a lot of work with dry rice on one side and cooked rice on the other, pastas dry and cooked...so on. Make your own lemonade stand, pretzel stand or hot dog cart. Put your ingredients in the containers. Make hot dogs for the family..let your child be in charge. Stacey also did a whole unit on baseball with some of her popcorn activities. Think about how much you can teach (money concepts too) if you think about where and how we encounter food in our lives! Isn't it exciting. In these situations, kids may just try foods on their own. Have fun. How do children learn? They play. Food is to be enjoyed! These activities are also great stress relievers!
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