Oral Sensitivities: Why My Child Chews on Pencils and Sucks on Clothing

By: Integrated Learning Strategies

Sensory Processing and SPD are common in children with oral sensitivities and fixations. If a child is constantly sucking on their shirts or clothing, chewing on their pencils, or enjoying extreme flavors of foods, it could be a sign that their sensory receptors are in need of that tactile sensation in their mouth and are using it as a defense mechanism. Depending on the child, their sensory receptors can be hypersensitive or hyposensitive.

Oral hypersensitivities can be a sign of sensitivity to different textures. – Avoids certain textures of foods – Is a “picky eater” even as they get older – Dislikes having their teeth brushed – Avoids putting their lips on forks and spoons – Can’t swallow food easily or gags at the table

Oral hyposensitivities can lead to fidgeting and poor attention and focus in the classroom. – Chews on pencils and toys – Sucks on shirts or sleeves – Likes extreme food flavors (sweet, salty, spicy, sour)

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