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Oral Challenges

Eating non-foodstuffs, biting hands, chewing and/ or regurgitating and similar behaviours are often encountered. There may be a sensory element contributing to the development of these behaviours. The following strategies may be helpful and give you a starting point on thinking what may be causing the problem:

  • Redirect the need to bite to a more positive sensory activity, i.e. chewy toys, crunchy foodstuffs.
  • Substitute another item for the hand that is readily available e.g. wristband of suitable robust material.
  • Provide a range of oral experiences throughout the day e.g. hot, sour, sweet, salty, cold, different textures.
  • Try electric toothbrushes in a tooth brushing routine.
  • Include some sensory toys as part of daily routine e.g. vibrating snake.
  • Incorporate a weekly session in a multi-sensory room where possible, or consider incorporating sensory equipment into young person’s room design.

Useful resources
A Practical Approach at Home for Parents and Carers: Autism Spectrum Disorders Children with Disabilities Team Occupational Therapy Falkirk Council www.falkirk.gov.uk/cwd

The Wellbeing and Autism Wheel

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