Ask A Therapist: Biting through Chew Tools

My 5 year old son has Down syndrome and chews on grabbers (purple and green Ps). He chews and bites so hard that he bites through the tubes. Any recommendations? He only eats pureed food, bananas and cheerios. He can chew chicken but doesn’t want to.



It sounds like your son likes the sensory information he gets from these tools and uses them frequently! You may want to look at how he is chewing on the tools. When using the tools on their own, many children who are sensory seekers grind their teeth back and forth rather than chewing up and down. Besides causing the tools to break down quickly, the children do not learn the up and down chew skill we hope to teach.

There may be a couple of options. TalkTools has a therapeutic Bite Tube Hierarchy that may be a good addition to your current program to teach him to use a controlled up and down chew (this is a pre-requisite prefeeding program when we work to introduce solids). By doing this systematically throughout the day, and being aware of the movement he’s using, you can give him the input he’s looking for, but also develop better jaw stability and grading skills that he can use for chewing foods and for speaking. You may also want to look at Lori Overland’s course “Feeding Therapy: A Sensory Motor Approach.” She teaches how to develop these skills for feeding. Consider looking at some alternative tools for him to chew on that discourage a grinding movement as well. The Knobby Green Chewy Tube has bumps that often facilitate a better chew pattern.

I hope this helps!

Renee Roy Hill

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