21 month old shows signs of Oral Sensitivities

by Pamela
(Holland, MI, US)

Can a child be hyper and hypo sensitive when it comes to Oral Sensitivities? My son shows signs of both. The most alarming thing is he pockets or stuffs food into his cheek and only on one side, his left. He does not like us to remove the food for him. Sometimes it will be there for hours if unnoticed. If we try to remove the food, he bites us. If we pinch his cheeks, we hurt him. My husband and I thought he was doing it because he had trouble chewing certain types of food, but now he does it all the time. It's like he doesn't know it's there. Why won't he take it out himself if he doesn't want the food?

I sometimes use a tooth brush to get the food out. He also fights to have his teeth brushed. My parents think he's fine, but I know somethings wrong. He eats a wide range of foods and is a good eater I think, so I guess my major concern is I don't know what to do. I'm afraid he's going to choke or that it's bad for his teeth to have food in his mouth for too long. A speech therapist was what our pediatrician suggested and it looks like we can receive services through a free program where they can come to our house. I'm just worried that this is connected to other disorders or even autism. Anyone going through this who could give us tips would sure be appreciated.

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Jul 02, 2011
by: Anonymous

a child can have hypo and hyper sensitivities in the same little body and in the same area of one sense, for example orally as you have mentioned.

my son too has mild spd but is not on the autism spectrum. so try not to worry too much about that. and as was posted earlier, labels really bear no weight and i don't think they are an indication of much. it's the label/title that allows for services that's the important part. finding out what your child needs (regardless of the label) and then findinghttp://www.usatoday.com/ those services and implementing those therapies, resources, etc.

my son has texture oral and tactile and he also has oral fixation with always needing something in his mouth. food, clothing, a chew toy, etc.

we have benefited from regular occupation therapy visits to work on the oral issue as well as other things. we have found ways to substitute those alarming or disconcerting behaviors and habits with other things like chewing gum (A LOT), fun chew toys, fidgeting with his hands instead of putting things in his mouth, other verbal games so that it's difficult to have food in his mouth, etc.

i think if you seek professional help you will find it's best to do it early when you have these concerns and that there is a wealth of ideas, tips, strategies for the things you wish to address.

ps- you're the mom. :) even when other people don't agree or tend to think things are fine, listen to your mommy instinct. that's why we have it. :) good luck!

Jun 30, 2011
early intervention is key
by: Anonymous

Yes, sensory processing disorder is on the autism spectrum disorder. If your son receives a S.P.D. diagnosis does not necessarily mean that he is autistic. My son is five and was diagnosed with S.P.D. at four. We just had him formally evaluated and he is not autistic. I know there are lots of stigmas that come with a label, but there are also lots of doors opened for resources to provide early intervention. Early intervention is the key to assisting your son in whatever he needs to continue developing at his own individual pace. The speech therapist will be able to provide lots of good strategies about him holding the food in his mouth. I hope this puts your mind at ease and be sure to talk to your pediatrician about any developmental concerns.

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