Page 115 - Fun and Function Catalog 2018
P. 115

ORAL MOTOR REGULATION | CHEWIES 113
   CHIJ
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  WHY DO KIDS
Chewing crunchy foods or a tough chewy can provide an outlet for stress. You can also reduce the em- phasis on the mouth with stress re- ductionstrategiessuchasbrushing, touch, deep pressure, movement or heavy work and weight.
Concentration. Chewing helps us to focus and concentrate. Chew- ing gum and crunchy foods or even using a whistle toy can help a dis- tracted student focus and be more alert. Consider carrot sticks or cel- ery when packing lunch, or use a chewy toy when doing homework or taking tests. Try blowing bubbles with a stressed toddler.
Self-Regulation. Chewing is one of the most effective ways to self-regu- late and support attention to task. Chewing throughout the day can help with calm and focus. It provides
proprioceptive input to the jaw, which is calming, soothing, organizing and regulating for the brain.
Consider using straws, vibration, crunchy snacks and whistles to help a child self-regulate.
Pleasure. The truth is we chew, blow, suck, sing and whistle for pleasure. It’s our first motor abili- ty from the time we are born
and the mouth provides pleasure as we eat, talk or hum a tune. And who doesn’t love a happy smile? Chewing can strengthen the muscles around the mouth, allow- ing for a more pleasurable mouthing experience.
K
CHEW?
  Chewed-up shirts and gnawed-up pencils, yuck! Some kids even bite their fingers and hands. Why do some kids bite and chew? Let’s break down some common reasons your child might turn to chew-
ing and how you can help them cope.
The mouth is our first sensory seek- ing organ from gestation. Babies use their mouths to suck and even- tually to blow, lick, eat, chew, kiss and talk.
Stress. The mouth is a phenomenal stress reducer. With its ability to bite down, exerting hundreds
of pounds of pressure, we
often see a stressed or
anxious individual biting,
chewing their clothing, or grinding their teeth to reduce stress.
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