Strategies for Oral and Motor/Sensorimotor Input

Children who put toys in their mouths, chew on their clothing or bite their pencils at school may be seeking oral motor/sensorimotor input to help their bodies reach anGirl chewing pencil optimal arousal level. We want to provide them with strategies to get this input in an appropriate manner. Here is a list of alternative strategies to support your child’s oral motor/sensorimotor needs.

Strategies For Children Seeking Oral Input:

1. Engage in activities such as whistling, blowing bubbles and using blow pens

2. Play games with straws (i.e. hockey by blowing cotton balls or splatter painting by blowing on paint using a straw)

3. Have them eat sweet and sour candies

4. Chew gum

5. Blow up balloons

6. Make a chewy necklace out of cheerios and licorice

7. Drink thick liquids (e.g. applesauce, pudding) through a straw

8. Drink water through a water bottle with a straw

9. Make a bubble volcano: Fill a bucket with soap and water, and have your child use a straw to blow bubbles to make the volcano. This is an activity you can use at home to help with self-regulation.

10. Send chewy, crunchy snacks (e.g. pretzels, granola bar, fruit leather, bagels) for lunch

11. Purchase products designed for chewing:

• Chewlery:

• Chew tubes and similar objects:

• Other fun oral motor tools:

• ChewEase pencil toppers:

4 replies
  1. Deborah
    Deborah says:

    If you use these strategies, chances are little johny won’t have his hands in jenny’s hair or be rocking back and forth in his chair until he falls. Thanks for the excellent tips!

    • Dana Pais
      Dana Pais says:

      Try increasing the amount and frequency of heavy work that your child does throughout the day. This can include carrying heavy items like groceries, laundry, etc around the house; doing animal walks; helping with chores and cleaning; crashing into pillows; carrying a heavy watering can full of water to water plants; or pushing/pulling boxes with books in them. Your child’s body might respond well to the use of a compression garment, for example, Under Armor underwear, shorts or pants. This will assist with providing more intense proprioceptive input to your child’s body and can help with self-regulation, attention, and behavior. SPIO is another brand of compression garment that is specifically designed for this purpose.

  2. Theresa Marie, ST
    Theresa Marie, ST says:

    What do I do if my patient wants to chew on everything including her long hair but is at risk for aspiration? Should this be made into a functional goal in therapy?


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