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Mouthing Hands

  • Erin
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1 year 4 months ago #444 by Erin
Erin created the topic: Mouthing Hands
I was looking for a bit of advice. I have a student whose mouthing behavior has continued to increase despite intervention using Active Learning principles. I have been allowing the student to mouthe objects attached to various position boards used during a variety of activities and when standing, prone, supine, etc... The issue still is that the student prefers her hands over everything else. I am not exactly sure that I am providing her a wide enough variety of items to mouthe as I am concerned with what is and is not safe. If i am understanding correctly she is stuck in this stage because she hasn't in a sense tired of this behavior yet and it is still serving a need. So I believe I am to keep providing her opportunities to engage in this behavior while also offering her opportunities to expand her interests. Am I proceeding correctly? I have also been looking into her sensory needs but have found that brushing, joint compressions, and other sensory diet techniques do not provide any lasting effect. Should I just be looking to give this process a bit more time or change my direction?

Thank you so much for your thoughts,

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  • Kate Hurst
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1 year 4 months ago #473 by Kate Hurst
Kate Hurst replied the topic: Mouthing Hands
Dear Erin,
First some questions……How old is the student and how long has she been mouthing her hands? If she has been doing this for a long time it may have become a habit and take some time to break. However, if she has not had access to mouth the 1,000,000 different things a typically developing child does, her hand may be the one thing she knows very well and something to compare other “new” objects to easily. What other hands skills does she have? Can she grasp and release items, pull, bang, push, etc.? If you have not done the fine movement and haptic/tactile perception fields of the Functional Scheme I would encourage you to do that to get a clear picture of what skills she has.
Also have you tried using some of the items like the gloves, wrist scarves and a vest with her favorite items on them? What Pathways to Learning are strongest for her and what preferences does she have around them?
I would like to have Patty or another Occupational Therapist give their feedback on the use of joint compression and other techniques as I do not feel qualified to answer that…..isn’t it great that we can collaborate with OTs who do have that knowledge? It does take a village.
Hope these ideas help a bit. What do others think?

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1 year 4 months ago #475 by Patty Obrzut
Patty Obrzut replied the topic: Mouthing Hands
Hello Erin,
I agree with Kate in her comments. To solve any puzzle you need to have all of the pieces. I don't feel that I have all of the pieces of information that I need to solve this puzzle. I would want to know more about the student and the environment. I would complete the functional scheme assessment to find out the student's strengths and weaknesses. I would then use that information to provide a learning environment. I would need to know for how long the student has been mouthing her hands, what interventions have been used in the past and what objects the student is allowed to mouth and with what techniques. I would want to ensure that the student has a trusting relationship with adults introducing objects for the student to explore (hopefully using the phase of offering.) I would need to know if the student responds to different sensory inputs (auditory, tactile, taste, smell, sight, movement.) I would like to see how the student responds in a little room, to position boards or activity vests or gloves. I would like to know how objects are presented for the student to explore. I would also like to know if the student uses his/her head, mouth, arms, legs, feet, hands, or body to explore in any way. Once these questions are answered, I might better be able to respond. It would also be important to know the student's diagnosis. I would suggest making a short video and then sending it so that I could better see what is happening to make recommendations. Review the dynamic learning circle and find out - is the student aware and interested in the objects you are presenting. Does the student only act on objects by mouthing, or does the student ever respond in other ways? By making sure the environment meets all of the students needs (gross motor, fine motor, sensory, cognitive, social, emotional, etc.) I think some change in the student would be observed. Please follow up as I would like to help!

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