Monday, June 05, 2006

He Can Chew Gum!

In speech, we have been trying to teach Owen to chew gum (there apparently is a whole game plan to teaching a child how to chew gum). Both his speech therapist and OT thought it would be the perfect thing for his sensory issues, since he loves to chew crunchy things, and he will chew one of those rubber toothbrushes until it disintegrates. So, the past few weeks, we have been trying to get him to chew a piece of gum. He hated it. Every time our therapist would pull the gum out, he would run over to me and hide (and yet, this kid has no problem putting Playdoh in his mouth!). One time, we even tried to hide it among other pieces of Playdoh, but no go, he knew it was gum. So, every week, we would still put it in his mouth and make him bite down, and then have him throw the gum away.

Well, today, we got ready to do gum, and I was expecting the same battle, and crying. But, with little resistance, we got the gum in his mouth, he chewed it once, twice, three times, and then kept chewing it! Then, he switched it to the other side with his tongue (which is exactly the kind of oral muscles we are trying to activate), and kept chewing. He looked at us like he had been chewing gum forever and what was the big deal?! His speech therapist and I just kept looking at each other in awe. He chewed it for about 10 minutes, and of course, we were afraid he was going to swallow it, but finally, he pulled it out of his mouth, put it on the napkin, rolled it up and brought it over to the trashcan. I was so astonished...this kid never eats anything sweet, and of course, mint gum doesn't go over very well either. After the gum chewing, he was suddenly so calm, and rested, as if the gum chewing had given him the input he needed and he was okay. It was amazing...and I will never take gum chewing for granted again.

Now, when I was growing up, my parents didn't want us to chew gum because it inevitably ended up on the couch, or chair, or somewhere it wasn't supposed to's amazing that these days, I can actually ask schools to make accommodations so that he can chew gum, if it's necessary for his concentration. His speech teacher told me that gum chewing is one of those exercises that helps him organize himself.

Then, after speech, we went and picked up his new glasses, which are bi-focals. I thought for sure that these weren't going to go over too well, but when we got home and I pulled out some puzzles to work on, and put the new glasses on, he seemed to adapt right away. He finished the puzzles in record speed, and then got up and walked around the house, with more confidence than I've ever seen him have. When my husband got home, I told him that I think Owen sees much better with these glasses, so he promptly took him outside to go down the stairs. At this point, Owen can go up and down the stairs holding on the rail, but he goes very, very slowly and with great caution. He can actually walk up smaller steps without holding onto anything. The biggest issue he has is with different types of material, such as a sidewalk that has a different material than the driveway. He can't seem to navigate curbs and steps because of an inability to judge the difference. So, we'll see how the new glasses work.

Something so cute today: Owen was taking a bath and Tess was sitting in her bouncy chair in the bathroom with us. As Owen splashed around, Tess started laughing really loud every time he threw a toy up in the air. It was so cute, I couldn't help laughing. I love watching Tess become this little person. It's such a wonderful feeling to not have to worry and wait and wonder if she will do things...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like you have a wonderful family - your little girl and boy will teach each other many things in life - you are very lucky.....

9:27 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home