(N. Syracuse, NY)
This is my little guy, Caden
My son is 18 months old,and has many of the symptoms on the checklist. I am waiting for a call back from an Early Intervention Program from the state, oddly enough, the woman's name is Michele Mitchell!! I worked with her a few years ago, as my 5 yr. old has high functioning Autism...
My question is... does anyone have any advice on how to get my little guy to let me brush his teeth? It is a constant battle, and takes 2-3 people to be able to do it for even a few seconds. I bought an electric toothbrush thinking that would help, as he likes to play with mine. (He has an obsession with toothbrushes and balls...LOL) But really really does NOT like that! So we're back to baby toothbrush but still a big battle.
You had the right idea having him play with an electric toothbrush, bummer that didn't work. Sounds like he may need a good oral desensitization program through his OT. They can work on some official techniques, such as the Wilbarger Oral Tactile Technique. Meanwhile, did you read my newsletter on sensory defensiveness
(as this may give you some specific suggestion for the overall defensiveness he is experiencing) or Using SI Theory To Solve Problems At Home
, that made some suggestions regarding this? Have you tried the following?
1. Experiment with different toothpastes.
2. Try to break down the aversion to the toothbrush by having the child brush with peanut butter, Kool-Aid, pudding,or other preferred foods as a game.
3. Use ice or pressure to the mouth before brushing to reduce the hypersensitivity.
4. Place a mirror at sink level so the child can watch him/her self and/or the caregiver brush their teeth.
5. Wear a weighted vest, hat, or neck wrap for 15-20 minutes before and during brushing their teeth.
6. Let the child do his own brushing with your watchful eye and modeling where to brush and for how long. It is less "stressful" and "painful" if he does it himself; less "invasive".
Also, the book Just Take A Bite
has some good suggestions for treating oral defensiveness. It is geared for picky eaters, but would also benefit your son if he has oral defensiveness.
I hope this helps some. I would definitely work with an OT or SLP to address the defensiveness directly though. Meanwhile, try a few of these suggestions and keep working on it. He is not just being stubborn... he will need additional help breaking through this.
Take good care.