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Old 08-07-2006, 09:06 PM   #1
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Sheronor HB User
Socially Unacceptable

That's what I tell my dd (5) when she does things that make her stand out as different. They mainly involve unhealthy things, too. Like drinking the pool water or playing with her tongue or licking her hand (at the zoo!!) She does have oral sensory issues - hates most food textures yet obviously craves oral input.

Still, how do you stop the bad habits or cravings? In the pool while on vacation, I was pinching her bottom lip - not hard, just enough to bother her. She started pinching her lip after me and saying "socially unacceptable." I'm pretty sure she'll write a one woman play with that title when she's an adult.

In the mean time, how do I break the bad habits? She likes to drip water into her mouth, rub her hand over her placemat and lick her hand, squish sourcream between her hands, etc.

 
Old 08-08-2006, 09:32 AM   #2
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elmhar HB Userelmhar HB User
Re: Socially Unacceptable

Hi Sherri Eleanor,

First thing is to make sure that your DD has had a physical recently & that there are no signs of anemia. Not a bad idea to get her hematocrit checked, if that hasn't been done for a while. You want to make sure she's not being driven to pica by an iron deficiency.

I'd encourage you to consider a revamp of parenting style, replacing the concept of punishing bad behavior with the concepts of 'teaching socially acceptable behavior', and 'meeting sensory need.'

Regardless of how verbal or not your DD appears to be, always teach & label as such, socially acceptable behavior. For example, before going to the pool, encourage your DD to have a big drink of water or other beverage. Explain to her that this is what is SA to drink. Let her choose a water bottle or bottled beverage she enjoys to bring along to the pool, to have during breaks from swimming or when she is done.

Use those "social stories" to teach your DD acceptable behavior. You & her therapists will likely know best whether the picture form, or the narrative type, or a combo will work best for her.

If your daughter is working with an OT or SLP on her oral sensory issues, they may be able to give you some specific ideas on the best sort of oral stim for her.

In the meantime, you can try a few different things. Just giving lots of oral-tactile stimulation in appropriate ways & seeing how she responds is OK. Popsicles, ice cream cones & lollipops are great. Show your DD how to use the leftover popsicle to stroke her lips, tongue (towards the front) & inside of her cheeks. The pressure can be varied, from butterfly to bull frog. You can also tap lightly on the teeth. Lots of kids play with popsicle sticks in their mouths at age 5. As long as she understands it's not to be done while running around.

Use foods of various textures for oral stim, even if your DD doesn't like to swallow them. Teach her how to be discreet, spit into a napkin.

Does your DD have an electric or battery powered toothbrush? Put a really soft head on it & let her use it for oral stim at home. Lips, tongue, cheeks, gums & teeth are all fair game.

Can your DD chew gum? Practicing with gum, & teaching/trying to learn how to blow bubbles (even if not successful) is great, appropriate oral sensory stim.

Helping your DD meet her oral & other sensory needs will require a regular time commitment & dedication on your part as parent. For more pointers on sensory integration, I recommend the book, Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Integration Issues by Lindsey Biel & Nancy Pesk. There are other good SI books on theory, but this one has practical pointers. You may be able to get it at your local public library, or ask for it by interlibrary loan at the reference desk if your library doesn't own a copy.

The most important way to change behavior is to notice good behavior, and reward it immediately in ways that are meaningful to your child. Whether that's a hug, a token or checkmark on a chart working towards a prize, or a small consumable like a raisin. Punishment is not going to meet your DDs needs.

So, IMO, what's called for here is a change of focus for you as a parent. When you see your DD engaging in behaviors that are not SA, ask yourself what your sort of stimulation your DD might be craving, and how this need could be met in a more appropriate way. Then set out to teach her what she needs with a positive, rewarding focus, rather than a punitive, negative one.

Best wishes.

 
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Old 08-08-2006, 04:14 PM   #3
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gotitbad HB User
Re: Socially Unacceptable

I agree that constant positive reinforcements can literally change your childs life and give them direction and confidence!

 
Old 08-09-2006, 06:48 PM   #4
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OrbieKL5 HB User
Re: Socially Unacceptable

Quote:
Originally Posted by SherriEleanor
That's what I tell my dd (5) when she does things that make her stand out as different. They mainly involve unhealthy things, too. Like drinking the pool water or playing with her tongue or licking her hand (at the zoo!!) She does have oral sensory issues - hates most food textures yet obviously craves oral input.

Still, how do you stop the bad habits or cravings? In the pool while on vacation, I was pinching her bottom lip - not hard, just enough to bother her. She started pinching her lip after me and saying "socially unacceptable." I'm pretty sure she'll write a one woman play with that title when she's an adult.

In the mean time, how do I break the bad habits? She likes to drip water into her mouth, rub her hand over her placemat and lick her hand, squish sourcream between her hands, etc.
I agree with the above poster and would say that you need to try to replace your child's "socially unacceptable" behavior with more appropriate behaviors, along with fulfilling whatever sensory needs she's trying to accomplish.

If she wants to squish sour cream through her hands, give her some playdoh instead. Let her drink from a squirty water bottle, which will simulate dripping water.

In the meantime, however, I would just block her attempts at the behaviors you'd like to decrease. If she goes to rub her hand on the placemat, block her hand and redirect her hands to her lap or something.

Do you think she understands what "socially unacceptable" means? At 5 years old diagnosed on the spectrum, I'm not so certain that she would. I work with teenagers on the spectrum that still attempt to drink from toilets (which is obviously not socially okay). Maybe making some social stories might help her understand the concept more.

 
Old 08-10-2006, 06:13 AM   #5
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lizharlan HB User
Re: Socially Unacceptable

My daughter, Cara, enjoys oral stimulation also - but does not like to eat. I say she will put anything in her mouth except food! She has been on pacifiers for a long time and we are trying to get her off of them because they are affecting her bite and the position of her teeth. As we do this she is always trying to find something else to put into her mouth - including her hands. She also enjoys licking strange things. We are working with chewing tubing to give her something to chew on safely. It is slowly working - as long as we don't lose "chewie". Cara is only 3 and has been in therapy for about six months so discussion of what is "socially acceptable" seems out of reach for us.

Liz H.

 
Old 08-10-2006, 06:36 AM   #6
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Liamsmom HB User
Re: Socially Unacceptable

I spent far too much time worrying about how certain changes would effect my son and found that they were more my problem than his. He always seems to surprise me when he steps up to the plate for the bigger challenges like sleeping his in own bed, potty training, etc. I found that if I explain to him that nobody likes change but they're gonna happen anyway so you have to embrace them he actually does better. He does still do a few somewhat unacceptable things but mostly for shock value, He's a breast man and has atually poked some strange womens breast on the street, he gets conflicting signals from other adults who laugh instead of correct his behavior, he puts his fingers in his mouth after having them in numerous disgusting things that I won't even mention, he enjoys peeing outside and drops his pants anyplace anytime and let's it rip. I spend lots of time with a hose in front of my house hoping it'll reach down the block or a pitcher of hot water apologizing profusely to my neighbors. But ifigure it could be worse he could want to do #2 outside and has mentioned it a few times but I've managed to point out to him that no one else is doing it and he has a great desire to be grown up so I use it to my advantage. See we all have something

 
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