Some unique learners have not fully matured beyond the oral-motor* stage and continue to developmentally require items in their mouths, whether edible or not. The OT strategy is twofold: to work on developing the sense of touch through the fingertips so that the unique learner becomes less reliant on the mouth; and, at the same time, designate items that can be provided for the child to put in their mouth (until they begin to use their sense of touch in their fingertips more than their mouth to make sense of the world). Edible foods that offer resistance when biting, such as carrots, apples, and fruit rollups, are excellent. Commercially purchased nontoxic “chewies” can also be obtained. For example, a pencil topper is a nontoxic device placed on top of a pencil as a type of “chewy” for the unique learner to bite on.
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