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Advice please


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I have a girl who is 4 in April and who is still putting things in her mouth, this might be dirt, bits off the floor, hair, toys, her fingers. No matter what tack I've tried with her she still does this and is driving me mad. She also has a strange obsession with 'spoons'. Mom and Dad almost encourage the fingers and spoon thing but the other bits my worry is she is going to end up choking. I'm thinking there is some sort of oral stimulation thing and have read of some non-toxic bands that can be used to chew on to distract from the other things. Does anyone have any ideas?

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I have a little girl too who is always sucking something: her sleeve, hair, soft toys, fingers and she licks what ever she can get away with, e.g. playdough, toys, hands even her pet rabbit at home. I have raised it with Mum but don;t know how to advise apart from suggesting mum takes her to GP.

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Is it worth being brought up with her health visitor? We had a 4 year old last year who used to put allsorts in her mouth (shaving foam and paint were 2 favourites) and we just put it down to the fact she had maybe missed that in her development as a younger child.

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It could be that she is needing this as sensory stimulation. Don't know if you use any kind of assessment in your settings, but you may want to see if there are any areas of her development that she is not making age appropriately. You may find a delay in her sensory or physical development which may be worth referring to OT for.

I would say that a 4 year old child putting dirt or toys in their mouth as a way of exploring her environment may need a bit of 1:1 and modelling how to play with some of your toys. This may break the habit of needing to put things in her mouth.

I have had a child who was being seen by an OT and was given a chew stick. This did stop the continual picking up bits for a while.

It could also be if the child is being weaned off a dummy or for the child sucking their sleeve anxiety.

Good Luck, let us know how you get on.

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You can buy chewy toys from places like this.

http://www.sensorytoywarehouse.com/search/?query=chew&records=15

I would also be looking at other areas of her development and, if there were other concerns, I'd suggest that the parents ask their GP for a referral to a developmental or community paediatrician.

You can get good advice on sensory processing from Occupational Therapists and they may be able to come and observe the child in your setting and pick up on other areas of hypo or hyper sensitivity.

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