Autism, SPD & spitting

by Tiffany. A
(Stockton, Ca)

My son has Autism. He is 5 & I'm pretty sure he also has SPD. He has a lot of issues w/ mouthing objects, but his greatest joy is playing w/ his spit & trying to spit .


His special needs teachers are not sure how to get him to stop. I have no answers either. He has an O/T & speech therapist, we are meeting today to discuss his "behaviors".

Any ideas on how to help stop his spitting would be greatly appreciated.

Comments for Autism, SPD & spitting

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Nov 30, 2016
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This is indeed unacceptable and child needs to know it.
by: Anonymous

I know one comment said not to post a rebuttal to her comment because she's entitled to her opinion, but it does need to be addressed. Spitting is not just a pure sensory need or response, just as I do not believe it to be purely behavioral, though it is a manifested behavior.

I am a clinician. I work with kids who have this problem, on a daily basis. I consult with an SLP trained in dealing with swallow problems for over 25 years. Behaviors are forms of communication. Something is going on. First try to find out what is causing the constant spitting, and why is the child using spitting as the behavior to communicate.

Second, pure sensory approaches negate the cognitive-behavioral aspect of a behavior. Both needs must be addressed, the sensory and the behaviors. Spitting IS NOT an acceptable behavior and the child does need to be informed of this through some method.

To the parent who frets about her child being told that it is unacceptable, I can only say, the child needs to be made aware that it is not acceptable and that a cognitive-behavioral approach to inform the child of this can be helpful, and it is at least establishing with the child that they too must be accountable for their behaviors and how they communicate them.

It is unacceptable for a parent to trivialize such behavior and "blame" it on the disability. You are enabling your child to act badly. This is never acceptable. Children with disabilities can learn behavioral boundaries and should learn them.

Parents should learn these boundaries as well, in order to teach them to their children. I have seen in my career, that it is irresponsible parents who cause their children to be irresponsible. This is unacceptable.

Apr 25, 2016
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Sensory diet
by: Anonymous

I taught a class of 7 students with ASC and one student used to spit constantly. We worked with the OT and wrote a sensory diet and it got rid of the spitting. We undertook activities around 10 times during the school day: blowing bubbles, eating chewy foods, sensory water play, deep massage on the chin and around the jaw, put a j-cloth over the top of a yoghurt pot and tie an elastic band round it and then dip the j-cloth in fairy liquid and put a straw through the plastic pot, then blow into the pot and a huge line of tiny bubbles is produced (this one really worked well). Keep persisting with the activities and the spitting should reduce (if the spitting is habit or sensory - in my experience).

Jan 19, 2016
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Excessive Drooling when speaking
by: Anonymous

HI I have a 4yr old in my class and his speech seems delayed. He seems to use a lot of baby talk when speaking I still haven't heard him speak full understandable sentence yet. He also drools a lot especially when he speaks. What could be the reason for the drool? Is it a possibile result of his speech delay. Is it because he isn't able to pronounce words correctly? What could be the cause?

Jan 06, 2016
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more info
by: Anonymous

I have the garbage can with another student. Part of the issue is this particular's student's level of cognitive functioning. The student is in 4th grade but has the cognitive level of less than 2 years.

Jan 06, 2016
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Update on progress
by: Anonymous

Hi, I put a post on here late October with regards to a pupil spitting. I am so happy and pleased to say that we no longer have spitting in the classroom! It has gone from constant spitting to NOTHING! The child is now so much more content as they have not got anyone reminding, wiping or following them.
Initially it was very very intense interaction to slow the spitting.
Visual cues and instructions were used intially following around with bottle.
Then I introduced a specific chair in the same place with a cup near. I would show a cue with the cup and chair, or if I could see signs I would bang the table or clap and point to chair. Eventually using less verbal communication.
Eventually the child would take themselves to the chair spit in the cup ( put tissues in first) then go back to whatever they was doing. I'm happy to say the hard work payed off!!
No cup, no chair and no spitting!

Jan 06, 2016
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Spitting and hitting
by: Anonymous

My child constantly hits, butts,smacks and spits in my face, I've ignored, restrained him told him no I've even raised my voice to him but the behaviour still carrying on , he has spd , I have tried everything but I'm still the target when he gets frustrated(doesn't do it to anyone else) , he's only 4 and has already broken my nose, I want to stop this behavior before he's older has he is very strong and also tall for his age already, I already struggle with his strenght. I don't normally put stuff up like this but it's breaking my heart everytime he dos it too me, he's my world and I love him dearly but the hitting out and spitting needs to stop

Dec 10, 2015
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stymied on spitting
by: Sally

I am a COTA & have a severely intellectually delayed student who spits continuously. She spits during activities with others or when she is engaged in an activity she can independently. We have tried ignoring, being firm saying NO SPIT, using visuals, pressing her own hand to her mouth when we say NO but nothing seems to work. It may have started out as a communication of some type but now seems to be a habit. suggestions?

Oct 29, 2015
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help with spitting
by: Anonymous

i have just started working with a child who spits continuously. i would say it started off as a sensory. This then became a habit. spitting everywhere constantly.

i have introduced an empty bottle and wipes.
Within a few days the spitting has surprisingly reduced. Not only does the child spit into the bottle when i put it near the mouth, the child voluntarily picks up the bottle to use it then wipes his mouth!

This is so wonderful to see happening in such a short time. Boredom and lack of stimulation is also a huge factor too.
I'm now preparing a simple social story. Fingers crossed this helps and we will have a happy child.

Oct 28, 2015
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Anti-Spitting strategies to trial
by: Anonymous

I'm a special ed teacher also trying to curb a students bad habit of spitting. It's really hard!
But a colleague found this social story online! I had to share with others struggling with this issue.

http://www.hillingdonmanorschool.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/spitting_socialstory.pdf


We're Going to have 2 copies at school for strategic times of the day to be read and one to go home with the student's parents.
Still trying to work out a 'meaningful' realistic and simple consequence while the student is learning to stop the habit. But thinking hard about what is 'their currency?' 'what do they value?' that they do not want to miss out on for a realistic time span. I'm just starting with 5 minute timer on my phone. It also needs to be realistic and simple for staff to manage.
Never done this before, so we'll see how we go. Fingers crossed it helps.

Oct 19, 2015
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spitting for attention
by: magneto

Sometimes its an oral sensory issue that cause spitting.the sensation regulate them.most of the time is attention seeking.
But what works is ,calm urselves down, playdown the spitting, simply ignore, u will hav to clean up later, when they stopped spitting, then give them the attention and energy, if they spit again, ignore and play down.
Or get them to brush their teeth everytime they spit because thats when one spit.
Try it,be patient.

Sep 24, 2015
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My ASD 7 Yrs Old son spits
by: Anonymous

My 7 yrs old ASD child spits a lot, any where, even at school. I am very concerned. I will be working with his Therapists in a strategy , but any suggestion from another parent with the same issue is appreciated.

Sep 04, 2015
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my childs spit and screaming behavior
by: Anonymous

My 18 year spits in the air and at people and on every
thing and screaming like a loud bark don't know what else to do

Aug 19, 2015
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7 yr old constant spitting
by: Anonymous

My son spits constantly and plays in it. If I give him food or candy to redirect him, he spits the food out on the table and sucks it back up. I'm at my wits end and don't know what to do. I've tried not giving him eye contact and wiping it but when I do he makes the worst noises in the world and that doesn't help. I just ignore it now but I'm going crazy inside. I don't know what to do.

Jun 15, 2015
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Young adult, spitting
by: Anonymous

This is from mom of 24 year old. One thing that has helped the most, although doesn't stop the spitting .... I cut strips of terry cloth, tie in knots and he holds them in his mouth. At home he normally has a washcloth hanging out of his mouth when his spitting is out of control. Yeah doesn't look very 'normal', but better than spit all over including on me, also tried the surgical mask😷 but it just got full of spit til it dripped out the bottom. Another thing that worked for awhile was a bandana over his mouth, until he started pulling the bandana down to spit then put it back up. Hmmm😛 one thing to remember....laughter preserves sanity In the world of autism. 😄

Jun 15, 2015
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Young adult, spitting
by: Anonymous

My son is 24, has severe autism, no speech and Tourette syndrome. Spitting can be a tic, which can be as controllable as a sneeze. My son has gone through periods of spitting, letting his spit hang out and then pulling it back in, etc. when he was younger. Spitting was not a big issue, only very occasionally until about a year ago, and now it is pretty constant. He has a trash container near him so he spits in it most of the time, but if one is not near, he will spit toward it, across the room and it goes everywhere. I suspect this to be a tic because nothing stops him. His personality is normally pleasant and compliant. The problem with it being a tic, if it is, it increases if he is tired or excited...meaning good excitement, sees mom, or bad excitement, getting reprimanded for spitting. Really hard to work around. I have also heard that parasites or candida yeast can cause it. Anyway you look at it, his dentists says he has the most overactive salivary glands he has ever seen, he literally can see the saliva squirting out of the glands. I am still searching for the ultimate solution and will post it here when I find it! Peace to all! Love your kids.

May 20, 2015
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Candida Overgrowth causes spitting? HA!
by: Anonymous

The mere suggestion that Candida Overgrowth causes a child to spit made me spit my tea! Our son fills his mouth with water from a cup to swish and spit on things. He likes water. He is autistic and spd. However, he has no candida issues. That is such an uneducated remark. He spits anything and smears it to play in it because wait for it...most autistic spd kids have a fascination with liquid!

Apr 21, 2015
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Spitting
by: Anonymous

I am so terrified of some of the comments on here. It is just as typical for a normally developing child to take up spitting. I particularly condemn the CAPITALIZATION of behaviors in some of the comments. Yes spitting is not acceptable but they are children, after all and I think you will find that the lines are a lot less rigid since passing gas and wetting the bed are also not acceptable behaviors for adults but we don't time out kids because of them. There is a reason why ABA uses positive reinforcement and that is because children with autism do not understand that they are engaging in unacceptable behaviour - any negative pushback is interpreted as an attack. I am just like any other mother with a ASD child but when I read these kinds of comments I can't help fearing my son when he isn't with me since he wont be able to tell me when teachers/caregivers etc punish his UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR.

Not looking for comments from those who disagree. Like you, I also have an opinion.

Feb 28, 2015
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Autistic kids spitting
by: Anonymous

How do I stop my 3 year old autistic son from spitting
My son doesn't communicate at all,no eye contact, no nothing
This started a month ago
He stared spitting on hard surfaces which was kinda okay ish, he liked the sound of he's spit hitting the hard ground floor making a splat sounds and now started on fabric material all over house,basically everywhere
Please help me with any good idea's
I'm struggling to keep up with everything as it is
I'm sure most parents with autistic kids knows

Dec 18, 2014
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Teenage spitter
by: Anonymous

Our 12yr old son started spitting a few months ago. We tried everything, time outs did not do the job either. So far were finding that he uses the spitting, hoping we will remove him from the activity, also boredom. Today, I took goodies and snacks to his classroom to celebrate his upcoming 13th birthday. Well, he did not spit one time. This tells me as long he is occupied, given appropriate attention, he forgets to spit. I was very proud of him. Our family members, therapists and teachers, are all on the same page in dealing with the spitting. We make him wipe it up, tell him "No spitting", making the eye contact, and make him clean it up, even at the stores. Embarrassing? Absolutely!, but for his future sake, well worth it. Hope this helps.

Nov 07, 2014
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kill the yeast and give him glutathione
by: Anonymous

This is a sign of candida overgrowth. Autistic kids have too much yeast.

Nov 06, 2014
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What we did
by: Anonymous

I am a teacher and had a similar problem with a 6 year old. We read him a social story about spitting each time he spat and he hardly does it now. Google social story spitting and you should find it.

Sep 03, 2013
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spitting concern
by: Anonymous

My son just turn 7 yr old , just recently I took him to the doctor cause I couldn't understand why all the sudden the spitting started. I asked to do blood work to rule out a couple of concern but she assured me it comes from his diagnosis
I'm glad I found some parent who's experience the same concerns so now I could start working more intense with him and also discuss with his teacher/OT

Thanks a bunch

Dec 13, 2012
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My 6 year old
by: Anonymous

Hi , My husband and I are going thru the same situation. Our 6 year old was diagnosed only at age 3 for autism. He picks up some thing every season. Now its spitting. His teacher is trying many interventions and we try to follow at him placing a mask at his lips and say NO SPITTING, then he start hitting his head or cry out loud and then spit continously. School is now worried of his peers health too. We cant take him to restuarants as he start running around spitting and many times we were asked to 'control ' him or not to spit. We cant go shopping as he start spitting. We are clue less.We are reading many comments .we try to keep him busy he get bored so easily and not like to play with any toys like other typical kids.We cant blame him as may be he dont know what he doing else he wont lie down on his back and spit :-) I see many of you go thru this .I feel we will get an answer soon
Good luck to us and you all !!!

Nov 11, 2012
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Spitting
by: Anonymous

The teachers and administrators where my niece attends school have recommended putting Tabasco on the tongue. Is this cruel? Please advise.

Jun 18, 2012
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Andrew Ortega (Stockton, CA)
by: Devan Day

My friend was also annoying and irritating his spit. He is 11 and he had his turtle helmet. Those parents are telling that he and Rory liked to play their spits. I talked to Julian, Al, Eddy, and Jeffrey about him is singing and dancing to the video called "Kangaroo Song" (1988). Penelope was Andrew's babysitter from Lodi. She was tolding to Andrew to quit spitting, but, he wants to keep spitting around. He also played his caveman toy. He plays baby stuff. He was saying gross and friendship words. He attending Walton Special Center every day. Rory loves to play Hot Ladies with Penelope's school friends. Of course I am the one with Andrew and his parents are visiting anytime. Andy liked to spit to raise his money. That's my boy!

Oct 24, 2010
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spitting
by: Anonymous

I take care of foster boys that are severely autistic. My youngest is 9 and spits many many times a day. He has used pee poop vomit spit pinching and kicking as a weapon. We have gradually gotten rid of most of the issues except spitting. At home he doesn't spit unless he is bored and wants attention, but at school he has targeted one teacher to spit in her face. He spits in her face EVERY day!! we have tried everything!!! we have tried everything!! he is non verbal, and severely autistic. Any suggestions would be helpful. americaone1776@aol.com thanks jan

we are always very consistent, after 20 years of working with autism this one is a tough one. He is sooooo stubborn.

Sep 24, 2010
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Our remedy to Spitting and feces smearing
by: Shannon

My son is now 12. He is actually my step-son. We have had custody of him for 4 years. Since he was little, 2-3 yrs old. He has spit and/or played with his spit. Drawing with spit on the tv, car windows, table etc. He would also spit at people when he did not like something, was made to complete a task. He also had other behaviors such as hitting, kicking, throwing things, pushing others, all of which are NOT ACCEPTABLE. But the spitting was one of the worst. We tried so many things to stop the spitting and nothing seemed to work. He has changed and grown a great deal with consistency.

We follow a behavior support plan and everyone in his life also follows it when helping him deal with his behaviors. When he is upset and spits, he is told "NO SPIT" and is taken to time-out and has to sit, for one minute. (designated area in classroom, chair in the kitchen at home)If he continues, he has to sit longer. Usually only takes 2 minutes total, till he is calm. Then he is reminded again NO SPIT and he is given a paper towel to clean up the spit, and then taken to the sink to wash his hands. Time-out and clean up and consistency of everyone doing the same thing, EVERY TIME HE SPIT, have helped tremendously. We have not had any spitting at home for like 2 years. The school still has incidents, but NOTHING like they use to see it (couple times a day) Now maybe a couple times a month.

His new one-on-one aide is wonderful and I think once he realized that she is going to be consistent with assisting him deal with his behaviors, it will hopefully cease. It has already decreased with just having her as his aide. (he went through 5 aides before we found a keeper....our Miss Katie is WONDERFUL)
For Spit drawing / playing with spit... he is reminded one time...NO SPIT, and then offered something that is appropriate to play with. (sensory toy, water paints,) If he spit draws again, he is reminded again NO SPIT and taken to time out, one minute and then he has to clean it up and go wash his hands.

He also use to smear feces. With this, we cleaned him up first...in a cool bath, not COLD, but barely warm. Warm water opens the pores and it also is rewarding since he loves water/swimming/baths/showers. He was washed quickly and not permitted to play in water. Washed, dried, dressed. Then he was taken back to where he made the mess and he had to help clean. We would tell him "scrub." Most of the actual feces was actually cleaned by my husband and I, but the entire time we were cleaning, he was also going through some of the cleaning motions. After about 3 times of this, we did not see it for about a year. We did the same thing when it happened again and KNOCK ON WOOD, he has not smeared feces in like 3 years.

I hope this is helpful to others.
Thank you for reading.

Jul 01, 2010
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THANK YOU!!!
by: Anonymous

My son is 7 and has traden hangers for spitting. I'm at my wits end with it. It's so gross! I'm going to try Candy and see what happens. Thank you soooo much!

Sep 01, 2009
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Extreme Flavors
by: Anonymous

Extreme flavors, like spicy or strong sour. The spitting is a sensory need. Altoid sours work wonders for my 7 yr old. It is an oral need. Go ahead and give it to him. They come sugar free too. I really hope this helps lots of people out.

Sep 01, 2009
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My Question Exactly
by: Kim Sullivan

I just got an E-mail from my son's first grade teacher with the same issue. I just finished E-mailing the OT for help with this one. I couldn't believe my E-mail when I opened it up. At least we aren't alone. I will try the sugar free suckers and see what happens. Thanks for the post.

Sep 01, 2009
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Ideas To Deter Spitting
by: Anonymous

Candy can help. Hard candy to suck on. My son gets sugar free ones. A lot of times ones with extreme sour or extreme mint like Altoids. Maybe as a reward. It helps my son to always have a snack. Sometimes popcorn, sometimes gum. Trying to stop him is going to be impossible. Let him choose something that works well.

Feb 28, 2015
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14 year old spitting
by: SBR

We have a 14 year old student who spits, pees, and exposes himself. We have not been able to come up with what triggers this response. It is random. It appears that he finds this behaviour funny and asks why people don't laugh at him. We don't have any support from home in terms of strategies or follow- up of strategies from school to home. Staff is quite disgusted by the behaviour. One thing that has worked a couple of times is to take him out for a walk. He resists it and what will appear to an outsider is that he is being dragged out of school by two staff members holding is hands on both sides as he will rip and drop everything that he can see or lay his hands on his way out. Once he steps out of the building (just one step) and he will request to run and will run 10 steps ahead of staff and then walk laps around our field. Strange. Staff is worried that he will resist completely and see this as consequence and will not do it as his daily physical activity which he is scheduled for after lunch.

Jul 23, 2014
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Spitting issue
by: Kim

My five year old almost 6 now has done spitting for a year off and on for both positive and negative reinforcement so to speak. We've tried several things from washing face washing hands cleaning the spit it didn't phase him we tried a spit sponge no use tried squirt guns water bottles nope so our newest one we are going to try is a container full of pop rocks to see if the cause and affect will be enough when he spits on them. Is worth a shot. This is why I googled this topic to see what others have done I'm hoping its short lived and we can replace it w a more appropriate behavior. Here's hoping lol

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