Monday, July 15, 2024

Why Does My Autistic Child Lick Things

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Sensitivity To Loud Sounds

Understanding why someone with SPD may lick things

Does your child cover their ears when you turn the vacuum cleaner on? Or get upset when you put a dish in the sink too loudly?;

Our kids both have issues with certain loud sounds. This is due to having a type of hypersensitivity to loud noises and it honestly causes them some distress when they hear a loud noise that they didnt expect.;

My three year old even had difficulty with watching fireworks due to the loud popping noises that when off every time a firework shot up.;

Rarely Shares Enjoyment With You

Babies readily share enjoyment with you by smiling or laughing and looking at you.

Some children with autism smile to show theyre happy but dont their enjoyment.

Others show little facial expression or have flat affect and rarely smile so you may not know when theyre happy.

If your baby rarely shares enjoyment with you, especially when youre available to interact, this can be an early sign of autism.

Strong Interest In Unusual Sensory Experiences

Babies with autism can show very strong interest in unusual sensory experiences, such as excessive rubbing of certain textures, looking out the side of their eye or closely inspecting a block or toy train as it rolls by, or licking objects.

If your child shows strong interest in unusual sensory experiences, this may be an early sign of autism.

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Occupational And Behavioral Therapy

Certain behavioral or occupational therapies may help autistic people reduce or stop stimming behaviors. Applied behavioral analysis is a method of treating autism through a system of reward-giving.

In some cases, occupational therapy may be helpful. It may be recommended to help develop the appropriate responses to certain senses, such as sound and sight.

Speaking with a qualified healthcare professional will be helpful to work out what recommendations are most appropriate.

What Is Sensory Regulation


One of the jobs of occupational therapists is to help people with Sensory Processing Disorder to regulate their body for optimal function. Self-regulation is the way we receive messages through our nervous system and then turn them into movements and behavioral responses that fit the situation we are in.

For example, many people with sensory processing difficulties have trouble with touch. When someone unexpectedly brushes up against them in a crowded area, a danger signal may be released. A panic-type reaction can occur. On the other hand, there are people with SPD who crave sensory information and often crash or bump into objects.

Either way, the response to touch does not match the situation and as a result, behavioral issues can occur. Some people with SPD may have difficulty controlling impulses and delaying what they want to do so that they can adapt to their environment.

Its not until we are regulated and paying attention comfortably that we are able to access learning and higher functions of the brain. It is for this reason that we cannot teach children or even reason with them when they are having a behavioral issue or tantrum. We must wait for them to get to a calmer state so they can truly hear what we are saying.

Remember that some people are seekers in some sensory areas, such as needing movement and making noise with their mouths BUT avoid areas such as avoiding touch and have very limited diets.

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Is It Important To Address Stimming As A Problem

In some instances its not. In fact, there may be times that your child will function better if they are allowed to stim. Carol realized that her reading comprehension was better when she sucked on a piece of candy. While this can lead to tooth decay or weight gain, its not exactly an alarming habit.

Other forms of stimming can be harmful or interfere with a persons daily living, however. For example, head banging, picking at skin until it bleeds, pinching, or hitting oneself are the kinds of behaviors that require immediate intervention.

Other stims such as zoning out may become an habitual escape and interfere with a childs ability to interact with others over their life span even if they dont present an immediate danger.

There are different interventions to help mitigate the effects of stimming and address the overall effects of ASD. Some of the more recent and promising techniques include Play Therapy, Developmental Relationship-Based Treatment, and Supportive Therapies.

If your child watches TV upside down, twirls around in circles and jumps up and down while making frog noises during dinner, dont panic. They may just be a neuortypical kid whos bored or finds these actions entertaining.

Stimming doesnt always indicate autism. Understanding all the signs of autism will help you determine if your child needs professional help, or just a time out to help them remember their table manners.

Should I Stop My Child Stimming

Short answer: No. Not unless the self-stimulatory behaviour is impacting learning, or harmful to your child or others e.g. biting, self harming.

Long answer: First, a lot of children with Autism will naturally reduce their own stimming behaviours as they get older. Second, a child will be using stims for a reason. Stopping any self-stimulatory behaviour without replacing it with another one could be harmful.

Many adults with Autism have voiced that suppressing stims can be stressful and affect their thinking process, which can then impact learning. However, many have also said the desire to fit in with peers made them try to suppress their stimming behaviours themselves. Talking about ways your child can respond about their stims to other children at school, or other more socially appropriate ways to get their sensory needs met can be positive for older children.

It is important to identify what sensory need your child is wanting when they start stimming. It is also important to distinguish between a stim, and a communication attempt e.g. biting when the iPad is taken away may not be a stim, but might be your child letting you know they are unhappy.

Remember: we all stim on occasion. Some people play with their hair, others tap their foot or doodle in a meeting.

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Why Does My Toddler Keep Touching His Tongue

Toddlers touch their tongue because they have an interest in it. Lets face it, a tongue is wet and feels pretty funny. To a toddler who is learning about their body, it is interesting. It may also be a sign that they have a bit of pain in their tongue. You should check your toddlers mouth and tongue for anything obvious.

When To Seek Professional Help

Food- why wont my autistic child eat?

If pica is suspected, the behavior should always be discussed with a medical professional as soon as possible. Children may be tested for nutritional deficiencies to rule out malnutrition as an underlying cause. If a child is ingesting or attempting to ingest poisonous, sharp or metal objects, seek help immediately to prevent serious injury or illness.

Treating pica will require collaboration between family members, therapists, school personnel and medical professionals.

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When My Kids Were Young My Son Justin Was Quite Curious About The Many Odd Mannerisms His Sister With Autism Demonstrated

We welcomed his questions as well as those from his curious neighborhood friends who we were determined to include in our friendly and oh-so-unconventional home. I did my parental best to offer up ideas as to why she does what she does, and thankfully they didnt question me or ask to see the evidence behind my hypotheses.

We asked a panel of providers to give us their best answers as to why our kids do what they do. Shelley ODonnell is an Occupational Therapist specializing in children with autism at Seattle Therapy Services. Jim Mancini is a Speech Language Pathologist and Emily Rastall is a Clinical Psychologist, both at Seattle Childrens Autism Center.

Heres what they had to say:

Why do many kids with autism . . . Avoid eye contact

Jim: Different reasons, I think. There is a difference between kids who actively avoid eye contact and kids who havent learned how to use eye contact during communication. For active avoiders, I think there is a sensory component where it is unpleasant for them to make direct eye to eye contact.

Emily: One of the core deficits for individuals with autism is difficulty coordinating verbal and non-verbal means of communication. For example, while speaking to someone, a child may forget to make eye contact . In addition, individuals with autism do not find communicative meaning in others eyes like the rest of us. Thus, they are not drawn to others eyes as information sources.

Why do many kids with autism . . .;Startle easily

Don’t Be Afraid Learn The 16 Early Signs Of Autism

“It’s going to be a problem eventually that you will have to deal with. Don’t be afraind. Don’t let that stop you from helping your child.” Jacobi’s mom

Go to to find tools and resources on what every parents needs to know about early learning. Because, what you do and say can make all the difference.

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Common Ways People With Asd Engage In Self

Stimming was the most outwardly obvious sign of ASD in Carols case, and was the very thing that prompted her to get a diagnosis, and the treatment she needed.

Stimming is a hallmark sign of ASD. Actions such as head banging, sitting on the ground and twirling over and over, or hand-flapping are classic forms of stimming, but there are many expressions like Carols, that are a bit more subtle.

  • Looking out of the corner of your eyes
  • Flipping lights on and off repeatedly
  • Random humming, shrieking, or making other noises
  • Finger snapping, tapping or putting your hands over your ears.
  • Tapping on ears or objects
  • Covering and uncovering ears
  • Repeating words or phrases including lines from a TV show, songs, or any other kind of repetitive verbalization
  • Scratching or rubbing your skin in a repetitive manner.
  • Any kind repetitive movement: spinning, pacing, twirling
  • Tasting or licking including thumb sucking, finger sucking, or tasting something one wouldnt normally taste
  • Unusual or inappropriate smelling or sniffing

Interventions To Redirect Licking

My Child Chews on Everything!

Since the licking behavior serves a purpose, it’s important to redirect that need to a more acceptable behavior. Working with an occupational therapist can help many children and adults find better ways to deal with this sensory need.

According to occupational therapist Paulette Schafir of Communication Works, a center specializing in social learning, speech, and occupational therapy, there are some specific ways to work on this goal.

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How Does Stimming Differ In People With Autism

Almost everyone engages in some form of self-stimulating behavior. You might bite your nails or twirl your hair around your fingers when youre bored, nervous, or need to relieve tension.

Stimming can become such a habit that youre not even aware youre doing it. For most people, its a harmless behavior. You recognize when and where its inappropriate.

For example, if youve been drumming your fingers on your desk for 20 minutes, you take social cues that youre irritating others and choose to stop.

In people with autism, stimming might be more obvious. For example, it may present as full-body rocking back and forth, twirling, or flapping the hands. It can also go on for long periods. Often, the individual has less social awareness that the behavior might be disruptive to others.

Stimming associated with autism isnt always cause for concern.

It only becomes an issue if it interferes with learning, results in social exclusion, or is destructive. In some rare cases, it can be dangerous.

Iron Intake In Children

According to the National Institutes of Health, iron is essential for children’s growth and development. In fact, this nutrient is so important that pregnant women need additional amounts for their developing babies.

Iron is a major component of the blood protein hemoglobin. This nutrient also helps:

  • Provide oxygen to different parts of the body
  • Support normal cellular functions
  • Synthesize hormones
  • Synthesize connective tissue

According to the National Institutes of Health, infants up to 6 months of age need 0.27 milligrams of iron per day, while older infants between 7 and 12 months need 11 milligrams per day. Young children between 1 and 3 need 7 milligrams of iron per day; children between ages 4 and 8 need 10 milligrams per day; older children between ages 9 and 13 need 10 milligrams per day.

However, if children are following a vegan or vegetarian diet, they should consume 1.8 times the recommended amounts.

Lack of iron can cause anemia, which in turn can cause gastrointestinal problems, cognitive difficulties, problems with immune system function and issues with body temperature regulation. Iron deficiency is particularly dangerous for children, because it can cause psychomotor and cognitive problems that have the potential to lead to learning difficulties.

This essentially means that the effects of iron deficiency early in life have the potential to affect children throughout life, even once they reach adulthood.

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Excessive Interest In Particular Objects Or Activities

Babies readily shift their attention between people and objects creating opportunities to learn from social interaction.

Babies with autism may show excessive interest in particular objects or activities and can get stuck or overly focused on these.

This interest may be so intense that its difficult to shift their attention away from an object of interest to something else.

An intense interest can lead to skills that are advanced for their age, such as building with blocks, or learning the shapes of letters and numbers, and can be missed as a sign of autism.

If your child shows excessive interest in particular objects or activities, this may be an early sign of autism.

Learn Effects And Balances

Why Is My Child Lining Up Toys? Is it Autism?

Learn how a sensory-seeking child’s mind will change if you engage them in high-sensory activities often. Some activities, such ;as playing with building blocks, are relatively harmless. Others, like ;violent video games, can lead to addiction and social isolation. Work with ;a professional;to create an even balance. Limit screen time and use sensory resources like chewelry and fidget toys to help;appropriately;tame sensory seeking;behaviors.

See if you can work toward appropriate sensory integration, especially activities that involve being with another person. Examples include taking a ;gymnastics class, where a child would get to jump high on a large trampoline ;with teammates, or;cooking with a parent, ;where a child would get to smell spices and experience the ingredients first hand while making a dish to later taste.

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Discover Your Child’s Sensory Craves

Begin by figuring out what your child likes ;to experience. Brainstorm with another person who knows your child well so you have a long list. Your ;list may look something like this: blue things, ocean ;sounds and funny faces. Ask your child, siblings and your childs ;friends and teachers what your child likes as well. Determine how you can engage in sensory integration to fit desired experiences into your child’s routine.

My Toddler Licks Literally Everything So I Asked 3 Doctors If I Should Be Freaking Out

I have never paid so much attention to a tongue until I became a mom. “Don’t lick your brother,” I remind my 2-year-old. “We don’t lick random cars!””No mouth on the shopping cart!” And, my personal favorite during pandemic times, “Stop licking the floor at the doctor’s office!” I wish I could say these were just hypothetical examples, but no, they all really happened . Toddlers are very curious, which is great most of the time. But for some reason, one way my son likes to explore the world around him is by licking things. Is this normal, and if so, why do they do this? I talked to two pediatricians and a psychologist to find out more.


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Remove Overwhelming Sensory Input

If your child is over-reacting to sensory input, there are many ways to change the situation. Of course, the first step is to simply avoid overwhelming sensory settings such as parades, amusement parks, and loud venues such as movie theaters. You can also make changes in your home such as replacing fluorescent lamps with incandescent bulbs or turning down the music. When that’s not an option, consider ear plugs, distracting sensory toys, or plain old bribery to get through difficult moments.

Oral Sensory Seeking Ideas For Kids With Autism And/or Sensory Processing Issues

Why Does My Autistic Child Repeat Everything I Say?

Is your child with sensory issues chewing, licking, and biting inappropriately? This is a common behavior among kids with SPD and/or autism, and there are many ways to address it.

The mouth has many sensory receptors: for taste, texture, temperature, wetness and dryness, movement , and so on. The information from these receptors is sent to the brain, which organizes and processes the information. When sensory processing is dysfunctional, children typically seek or avoid certain sensations around the lips, tongue, and mouth. A child with sensory issues may enjoy sour and chewy Starburst candies or spicy Buffalo wings because he finds these foods stimulating, but oral sensory seeking that involves the unsanitary and even dangerous habits of licking and biting are socially unacceptable and must be addressed. We absolutely must intervene when oral sensory seeking involves licking and biting other children or biting themselves.

A pediatric occupational therapist or speech/language pathologist with the proper training in oral/motor issues can help kids who have oral/motor sensory issues. However, there is much parents and teachers can do to reduce unacceptable oral sensory seeking and redirect it to more socially acceptable sensory input in the mouth.

And as always, use positive language and redirection whenever you can to honor your childs sensory differences. Their sensory needs are real, and we can do much to meet those needs in a sensory smart way.

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