Sucking/Gum Chewing to handle stress - in school? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 04-25-2012, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD 91/2 is not fully diagnosed probably but does have anxiety disorder/OCD. Not sure if/what else. She asks repeatedly for something to suck on (for well over a year she has been obsessed with cough drops and I am only just now finding out why) saying it helps her calm down or focus. She has even looked for an old pacifier (but couldn't find one)! She doesn't fully understand and neither do I, but it's a real victory for her to be able to start being self aware and talk to us about it.

 

Will the teacher listen to me if I ask permission for her to suck/chew gum in class? She hides her issues well at school so they don't really know much except that I've mentioned her anxiety. She currently hides her cough drops but that's not exactly helpful. I doubt they would let her have gum, but what would be a good choice for something to suck on that's not candy or crap going into her body?

 

Any thoughts would be helpful, I think I have heard other people talk about sucking/gum chewing but I'm not sure what context, and I am just starting to figure this out. Thanks!

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#2 of 5 Old 04-27-2012, 05:56 PM
 
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First, it's not uncommon in our district for kids to use chewing gum during times of intense focus/stress, which includes standardized testing.  It's encouraged.

 

Second, kids need oral stimulation for a variety of reasons, sensory, anxiety, focus, organization.  I think it's great that your child knows enough about her own needs to ask for something oral.  My child used gum, and it worked really well.  We supplied a pack of our choosing, and my ds would ask for a piece, or get a piece for himself, as he felt he needed it.  He completely self regulated.   It was a non issue with the school/teachers.  Very supportive.

 

I would simply have a conversation with the teacher, and hopefully make the case for your dd's needs.  If you need more support, the school OT could probably be an ally.

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#3 of 5 Old 04-27-2012, 08:31 PM
 
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I haven't actually used them, but I have pondered "chewelry".  It seems like a great idea, and wouldn't be an issue with the teacher (or other kids, I think).

 

http://kidcompanions.com/ is a site that sells some, but there are others.

 

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#4 of 5 Old 04-29-2012, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you both. I actually spoke to the guidance counselor and she got permission from the teacher for DD to suck candies or chew gum in class (sucking preferred, to avoid excessive questioning). I was impressed! I also did not realize that this was apparently common. I wish I understood why, but am glad for now that she can do something that will help a little!

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#5 of 5 Old 04-30-2012, 02:48 AM
 
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I am not sure if she has an IEP or a 504 plan, but you should get it added as an accommodation for her to function in school so anyone who works with her whether she is in music, PE, art or participating in a school function is made aware of these accommodations.  It is just something nice to have for when she has a different teacher or transfers to a different school in the future.

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