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not sucking fingers due to dental work = crabbiness in sensory seeking child?


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#1 caedmyn

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 09:37 AM

My 8 YO is a sensory seeker.  He has sucked a finger at bedtime and any time he needs to be still (car rides, church, watching movies, etc) since he was a toddler.  He had a palate expander put in on Thursday and isn't sucking his finger anymore because he says it doesn't feel right.  He has been super crabby from Saturday on.  Could the two be connected, and if so, any suggestions on what I can do to meet his need for oral stimulation?  He's not seeing an OT because the wait list is very long and we're still waiting.



#2 OhElizabeth

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 10:25 AM

Yes, you've removed his stim. Also, the palate expander just plain hurts! My ds got one, and it has been rough. We didn't turn it last week while we were gone, but we have to resume today. Not fun. 

 

I've been giving my ds ibuprofen and Calm Child (chamomile tincture). I suggest that you find some things like this to keep him calm and pain free, do some pleasant activities to distract him while he gets used to the pain (which he may not be able to verbalize or may not be interpreting correctly), and find an acceptable replacement for his stim. He's probably allowed to chew xylitol gum like Spry gum. (My ds is.) He could suck smoothie through a straw. Sucking can be good input. 

 

Does he like swinging or rocking? 



#3 caedmyn

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 12:41 PM

He likes both swinging and rocking. We have a rocking chair and an indoor swing, and an indoor climbing rope that gets used to swing on. I'll try giving him gum more often, and maybe some organic hard candies. He has a water bottle with a straw to drink from.

The palate expander doesn't seem to bother him. He and DD, who got one at the same time, both complained a lot about the rubber band spacers the first week, but neither has complained about the palate expander itself.

#4 OhElizabeth

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 01:57 PM

You're saying the expander doesn't hurt but he's super crabby. You might try giving him the pain reliever anyway. My ds was hurting and couldn't say it. When kids have sensory issues, they don't register pain correctly. They can be over-sensitive or under-sensitive. So his body is dealing with the pain but he's not sorting it out and putting it into words. 

 

I can tell you for my ds, who is extremely under-sensitive typically, the pain has been pretty significant. He hasn't put it into words, but his behavior deteriorates. When I give him the analgesic and Calm Child, his behavior improves. So I suggest you assume he's in pain, even if he's not saying it, give the meds, and see what happens.

 

And, fwiw, when we went to Florida last week, our orthodontist actually had us take off from the crankings. He knew it would hurt. That kept his behavior better. Today we have to resume, sigh.



#5 Storygirl

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 04:07 PM

I agree with Elizabeth's advice.

 

I'll also say that it's good that he is giving up the finger sucking, even though the change is interfering with behavior right now. DD11 had extensive orthodontics around that age, partly because her finger-sucking had contributed to a significant overjet. She had an expander plus a Herbst appliance (like hinges on the sides of her jaw to adjust her bite) plus a crib (like a coil at the roof of her mouth to keep her finger out). All at once. It was a whole mouth full of metal. And then she also had some braces.

 

I felt sad for her. It was a really uncomfortable adjustment, but she got used to it, and she didn't go back to sucking her finger after it finally all came out. The sucking habit has potential to really affect the bite, so it is good to break it, even though it is hard.


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#6 OhElizabeth

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 05:52 PM

Fwiw, I sucked my thumb till I got braces in 6th grade. It's not like I'm unsympathetic. At that point, I was able to give it up just with a reward chart. You might do some incentivizing, just to keep it a positive experience. Age 8 is still really young to be moving on from that. Our culture doesn't say that, but for me it would have been traumatic thing. You might be able to find some replacement items at a place that sells chewies and things for sensory/autism.

 

Have you tried massage? Like look for some youtube videos for massage and do his feet or back or shoulders. Use a little lavender lotion if you've got some. Good sensory on multiple levels. You can put up something with spinning/rotating lights/images. Christmas lights, bubble lights, swimming fish nightlights, that kind of thing.



#7 caedmyn

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 06:37 PM

He has no trouble letting me know if he's in pain or uncomfortable, so I don't think that's it.

I'm actually really glad he's finally stopped, because he had the lovely habit of putting his hand down his pants and playing with himself every time he sucked his finger (also started as a toddler), and I'd tried quite a lot to motivate him to quit, and he just wouldn't. He never does hands-down-the-pants without sucking his finger, so that's two bad habits eliminated at once. I sucked my thumb as a kid too but quit cold turkey at 6 after reading a book on it...I think I was a fairly unusual child in terms of willpower/determination though.

He does have some chewies. His favorite is silicon wristbands. I have no idea if they're actually safe to chew, but he really loves chewing on them, and I've not found a real chewie that he likes as much. They often hold up better than chewies too...and they're cheap.

He does like back massages. Rubbing his back is the only way I've found to get him to hold still for timed reading drills. Otherwise he's constantly pushing himself up and down at the edge of the table, or perching on the corner of the table like a frog. Apparently I haven't ever managed to give him enough sensory input to keep his feet on the ground at this time.
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#8 kbutton

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 10:21 PM

http://www.arktherap....com/soft-mild/

 

If he destroys a particular toughness level, then you get one that is tougher/more firm.