Clothing Sensitivity Red Flags

You might know a child who HATES that tag in the back of their shirt.  Maybe the seam of socks need to be lined up “just right”.  Maybe you know a student who only wears shorts no matter the weather.  All of these clothing preferences might be a red flag related to a clothing sensitivity and sensory processing issues.

A clothing sensitivity related to specific clothing preferences is a common red flag related to sensory processing disorder.

Clothing sensitivity red flags related to sensory processing disorder or sensory struggles in kids

 Because sensory processing challenges present differently in each child, there will be no list of clothing preferences that is the same for every child. There will also be no completely exhaustive list of red flags related to sensory processing issues or one that can indicate specific sensory issues.

However, it is possible to notice sensory needs related to clothing preferences and clothing sensitivity. The red flags listed below don’t necessarily mean that a child has a sensory processing disorder, only that a more intense look at the child might be needed. If a child seems to have a number of clothing sensitivities, a full evaluation by an occupational therapist may be needed.

Here are tips for getting sensory kids to wear winter clothing.

Does any of this sound familiar? 

Clothing sensitivity red flags

  • Prefers a specific clothing material (e.g. only cotton or only lightweight fabrics)
  • Child is bothered by seams
  • Is bothered by tags
  • Dislikes sleeves hitting wrists
  • Dislikes hems of pants hitting ankles
  • Wears only shorts even in very cold weather
  • Wears only pants even in very hot weather
  • Prefers clothing without buttons/snaps/zippers/ties
  • Sensitive to collars hitting neck
  • Unable to tolerate shoes
  • Prefers only certain socks or shoes
  • Dislikes when socks slide down in shoes
  • Prefers feet to be totally uncovered or totally covered
  • Unable to tolerate a belt or tight waistband
  • Dislikes underwear or prefers only a certain type of underwear
  • Bothered by seams in underwear
  • Bothered by length of underwear
  • Prefers tight clothing
  • Unable to tolerate jeans
  • Hates coats
  • Prefers heavy layers of clothing
  • Complains of “itching skin” with certain materials or types of clothing
  • Complains of clothing tickling the skin
  • Has meltdowns when it’s time to get dressed in the morning
Need more information on all things sensory?  Grab this free sensory processing disorder information booklet. Its’ perfect for those new to sensory processing or for passing on to parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers of children with sensory struggles. 

What clothing sensitivities have you seen?  This list could go on and on. As we all know…kids like to keep us on our toes! 

Want this list as a printable version? Grab it here.

Kids may experience preferences or a clothing sensitivity when they have sensory processing disorder or sensory issues.
These red flags are related to clothing sensitivities that may be an indication of sensory challenges in kids.

Adult Sensory Processing Disorder

A reader reached out recently and requested information related to adults with sensory processing disorder. Below is curated content on adults with sensory processing difficulties to accommodate sensory needs in order to live full and functional lives.  

Note: The information included below (and, like everything on this website) is not a substitute for therapy assessment, intervention, or medical advice. Please contact a physician or Occupational Therapist to assess and intervene. 

Start here by downloading the Sensory Processing Disorder Information booklet.

Adults with sensory processing disorder can use these SPD resources to find answers about sensory concerns.

Adult Sensory Processing Disorder


This post contains affiliate links. 

In this day, many of us are more informed on everything! The internet and accessibility of information allows us to be knowledgeable beings more so than in past generations. At our fingertips is the ability to ask any question and receive immediate answers. It might be because of this that more and more adults are recognizing their own sensory issues or needs. 

About 5-16% of children live with sensory processing disorder.  When we think about adults who may have been suffering with undiagnosed sensory processing disorder, there are potentially many, many more individuals who struggle with sensory challenges.

Sensory processing disorder typically presents itself as a response in various, but common ways:
Tactile Functioning- Clothing, being in crowds, light or unexpected touch, etc
Vestibular Functioning- Riding in cars, elevators, escalators, uneven surfaces when walking, flying, amusement park rides, etc.
Auditory Functioning- Loud or sudden sounds, sounds that don’t normally affect others like chewing, fingernail clipping, etc.
Motor Functioning- Clumsy with gross motor tasks including driving, operating the vacuum,  movement changes, etc.

There is a lot of information related to adult sensory processing disorder available online:

This self-test can help adults understand and identify sensory challenges they may experience. 

Here is another checklist for adolescents and adults to identify potential red flags of sensory processing disorder. This checklist is broken down into sensory modulation issues, sensory discrimination difficulties sensory-motor struggles, social or emotional regulation challenges, and internal regulation difficulties.

Here is another, more extensive checklist for adults who suspect sensory processing issues

This fact sheet from AOTA shares occupational therapy interventions with sensory integration approaches for adults. 

Another fact sheet from AOTA, this link addresses sensory integration and sensory processing disorder across the lifespan

This is a neurotypical’s guide to adults with sensory processing disorder

This link has downloadable handbook for teens and adults with sensory processing disorder, as well as a free toolkit for adults who suspect they may suffer from sensory processing disorder. 

Here is a blog dedicated to life as an adult with SPD.

This Facebook group is a support group for adults with Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder Books and other resources for adults with SPD:
Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight: What to Do If You Are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World by Sharon Heller, PhD

The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up: Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder in the Adolescent and Young Adult Years by Carol Kranowitz

Uptight & Off Center: How Sensory Processing Disorder Throws Adults Off Balance & How to Create Stability 

by Sharon Heller PhD

Sensory Processing 101 by Dayna Abraham, Claire Heffron, Pamela Braley, Lauren Drobnjak

May-Bensen, T. “Occupational Therapy for Adults with Sensory Processing Disorder”. OT Practice. June 2009: 15-19.

Adults with sensory processing disorder can use these SPD resources to find answers about sensory concerns.

Sensory Strategies for the School Based OT

For the child with sensory challenges, the classroom can be an overwhelming place.  All of the sensory systems are touched on in the classroom.  When sensory systems are challenged, learning is a struggle.  School based OTs are often times consulted when students struggle with physical or sensory issues that result in educational deficits.  

Previously, The OT Toolbox has shared free ways to incorporate sensory motor experiences into the classroom.   You might be looking for more resources that can be used to address many sensory needs in the classroom.  Below are sensory resources for the school based occupational therapist and strategies that can be incorporated into OT in the school. 

These are strategies to fill your therapy toolbox and address everything from inattention to sensory meltdowns.

School-based OTs can utilize this resource of sensory strategies for school based OT and occupational therapy intervention in schools.
These tong activities would be a great addition to summer occupational therapy activities and home programs!

Sensory Resources for the School Based OT

This post includes affiliate links.

This is a great article written on sensory integration practices in the school setting.  It includes the clinical reasoning and practices that go along with sensory practice in the school.  Of interest are sensory screening and evaluation recommendations for school settings, sensory intervention and treatment delivery options, and recommendations.  Also included is a table with approaches and sensory strategies for Occupational Therapy intervention in the classroom or school setting.  Case studies include IEP goal ideas related to sensory processing interventions.

Assessments for sensory needs can include direct observation of the child’s performance in the school setting.  Observing a variety of tasks during the school day can be helpful to analyze the demands of specific activities, including needs and strengths in tool use, fatigue, sequencing, spatial concepts, social interactions, physical requirements, cognitive abilities, etc.  A child transitions through a variety of settings during a school day and is challenged in various environments which might present differing needs or abilities.  The school-based OT should assess a student’s sensory and neuromuscular functioning in these various environments.  

Many students who struggle with sensory challenges benefit from a sensory diet during the school day.  This specialized diet of sensory activities and input should be designed by an occupational therapist who assesses and identifies the student’s particular needs and strengths or interests.  Sensory diets in the school can include many different tools, not limited to fidget tools, specialized seating, movement breaks, weighted lap pads or vests, calming scents, limited or structured visual adjustments, chewing tools, or other activities.  Read more about the goals of a sensory diet

Use this free Sensory Processing Disorder booklet for passing on sensory processing information to parents and teachers. 

Fidgeting Tools for the Classroom

Fidgeting with items can help with attention, regulation, and focus.  Try these fidgeting options in the classroom:

Adapted Seating in the Classroom

Adapted seating can be a sensory strategy that helps with fidgeting as well.  Sensory needs can overflow to wiggling, poor posture, slouching, and decreased focus.  An altered seating system is sometimes used to address a weak core strength and resulting inefficient posture as well.  Try these sensory-based seating ideas:

  • Cheap Alternative Seating Option
  • Movement seats like a disk cushion are great for allowing movement for improved attention.
  • Wobble Seat uses the idea of a therapy or stability ball in the form of a stool.  This is great for classroom use because the giant therapy balls tend to roll away from desks.
  • This Guide to Alternate Seating is a resource that can benefit many individuals in the school, including teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, and school-based therapists. 
  • Special cushions
  • Bean bags
  • Intertubes
  • Therapy balls
  • Wedge seats
  • Support added to the seat
  • Etc.

Self-Regulation in the Classroom

For the child who struggles with sensory processing disorder or is challenged with impaired responsiveness, interventions in regulation can be used in the classroom:

Sensory-Based Interventions for the School Based OT

Here on The OT Toolbox site, we have a huge collection of sensory-based play and sensory experiences that meet various needs.  Find all of the sensory activities here and how these experiences can address discrimination needs, improve participation, and address sensory modulation. 

Sensory Integration Approach to School Based OT

A sensory integrative approach is based on the work of A. Jean Ayres, PhD, OTR, and identified as Ayres Sensory Integration.  For school-based practice, sensory integration and praxis needs are addressed by assessment and interventions occurring in natural sensory-rich spaces.   A sensory integration approach utilizes interactions between the OT and the student in a sensory-rich environment in a playful approach that allows for adaptation to novel challenges addressing reactivity, postural skills, praxis, and perceptual skills.  

Read more about sensory-based interventions and sensory integration approaches to school based OT and how these approaches look in meeting needs of students here.

Chewing Tools for Classroom Sensory Needs

  • Pencil Topper Chews come in a variety of textures and toughness to meet sensory needs.
  • Chewable jewelry  is often times appropriate for the classroom, because the variety of necklace or bracelet styles on the market are discreet while meeting sensory needs. 
  • Here is information on how to choose the right chew tool for addressing sensory needs.

Push In or Pull Out OT Services in the School

Sensory needs can be addressed by strategies from the school based OT both in and out of the classroom.  For the child who receives occupational therapy services at school, therapy can occur in any aspect of the child’s day where needs are limiting educational abilities.  

OT services completed with a “push in” model allow the therapist to identify needs in the classroom. Therapists can then intervene, and provide adaptations, modifications, and tools during classroom activities.  Consultation with teachers and professionals can occur right in the classroom during daily tasks and in a natural setting.  Sensory strategies can easily be a collaborative nature with teachers and paraprofessionals when performed right in the classroom and in the natural environment of the child’s day.  

Therapy being competed in a “pull out” model can address sensory diet needs and development that is then utilized throughout and within the student’s daily activities at school.  Specific skill assessment and development can occur in pull out services.  

Occupational Therapy for Children and Youth Using Sensory Integration Theory and Methods in School-Based Practice. Am J Occup Ther 2015;69(Supplement_3):6913410040p1-6913410040p20. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2015.696S04.
School-based OTs can utilize this resource of sensory strategies for school based OT and occupational therapy intervention in schools.

You may also be interested in the free printable packet, The Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit.
The Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit is a printable packet of resources and handouts that can be used by teachers, parents, and therapists. Whether you are looking for a handout to explain sensory strategies, or a tool for advocating for your child, the Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit has got you covered.

And it’s free for you to print off and use again and again.

In the Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit, you’ll find:

  • Fidgeting Tools for the Classroom
  • Adapted Seating Strategies for the Classroom
  • Self-Regulation in the Classroom
  • 105 Calm-down Strategies for the Classroom
  • Chewing Tools for Classroom Needs
  • 45 Organizing Tools for Classroom Needs
  • Indoor Recess Sensory Diet Cards

Sensory Strategies for the Classroom

Jaw Clenching Oral Motor Problems

You may have seen some of the oral motor problems posts in a recent series we’ve had here on The OT Toolbox.  We’ve been talking all about oral motor skills and today brings another in that series.  If you missed any of those posts, you can find all of the past posts on oral motor skills and how they relate to feeding here.   

Below you’ll find information related to jay clenching oral motor issues and the reasons that this particular oral motor problem occurs.  You’ll also find feeding issues that may ensue from jaw clenching.

Jaw clenching is an oral motor problem that interferes with feeding and eating. Help to understand jaw clenching and reasons it might occur.
Start by reading more about development of oral motor skills

Jaw Clenching Oral Motor Problems

Jaw clenching occurs when the jaw moves into a tight position as a result of body movements and the ability to open the mouth occurs. Jaw clenching can result in shortening of jaw musculature and contractures.  This leads to anatomical inability to open the mouth.

It’s possible that the observation of a clenched jaw in feeding may be confused with stability biting and tonic bite response. 

Teeth grinding can occur as a result of a clenched jaw.

Jaw clenching occurs because of several reasons:

Poor posture with overall flexion

Over-Stimulating sensory environment

Increased stress

Impaired control of jaw movements


Feeding issues related to jaw clenching:

When a child presents with a clenched jaw, their ability to
develop the skills needed for feeding are greatly impacted.  

They cannot utilize rhythm in eating and

Initiation or sustained movement patterns during eating and drinking
are impacted.

Oral Motor Exercises
Looking for oral motor exercises?  Grab this FREE printable pack of oral motor exercises, including 20 different feeding therapy ideas AND 20 oral motor exercises.  These are treatement ideas for oral motor problems that professionals can utilize over and over again. 

If you are looking for more information on pediatric feeding, you will be interested in a pediatric feeding course being offered by my occupational therapist friend, Alisha who writes at Your Kid’s Table.  

Pediatric Feeding 101 is an online course designed for therapists and professionals supporting or working with families that are facing feeding challenges.  This is an entry level course and is an introduction to pediatric feeding in general, but focuses on 3 different areas of early childhood eating:

  1. Milestones (transitioning to table foods, how to drink from a straw, how to use utensils, etc.)
  2. Structure and Routine at Meals (the foundation to creating healthy eating habits that last a lifetime)
  3. Picky Eating (how to help picky eaters using no-pressure techniques and exploration)

Each of these areas are taught in its own module through a video lesson and accompanying slides that are downloadable and printable. You will also receive 6 additional handouts that you can keep and share with the families you work with.  These handouts include:

  1. The Feeding Milestones Checklist
  2. Feeding Schedules Template (for children from 6 months to 12 years old)
  3. How to Create A No-Pressure Eating Environment Quick Guide
  4. The 5 Step Picky Eater Solution Plan
  5. Resources Guide (list of links and additional literature)
  6. Feeding History Form (for Parents and Caregivers to fill out)

Jaw clenching is an oral motor problem that interferes with feeding and eating. Help to understand jaw clenching and reasons it might occur.

Productivity Hacks for Occupational Therapists

School based Occupational Therapists are busy bees!  The jobs of a school based OT are many: supporting academic, lunchtime success, development of skills needed throughout the day, social skills development,
math, reading and writing (i.e., literacy), behavior management,
recess participation, participation in sports, organization and executive functioning skills, self-help skills, prevocational/
vocational participation, transportation, and more.

One of the biggest strategies to improve productivity is organization for the school based occupational therapist.  The ideas listed below are designed to help with organization in order to help the school based OT through their day.

Most school based OTs have a full caseload that involves several or many school buildings within a school district and/or a variety of school districts.  Each building has it’s own schedule, lunch times, special events, and holidays that must be tracked.

Within each building, the students who receive therapy services have a schedule of classes, special scheduling needs, and teacher preferences that require specific scheduled OT treatment timing.  parents, school principals, and other professionals have input into therapy scheduling as well.

Scheduling for the school based OT is a yearly nightmare of charts, calendars, lists, erasers, and crumbled papers.

Once schedules are finished, it’s time to begin treatment as each week and month brings new intervention minute requirements.  However, there are school delays, special assemblies, and sick kids to keep in mind.  Fitting make-up times into those already jammed schedules is a continual round of nightmares!

Some school based OTs are lucky to have a designated space to house all of their supplies, tools, charting, and supplies.  Others need to cart their intervention from school to school and work from the trunk of their vehicle as they think ahead to the needs of that particular day’s student needs.  Then they drop their supplies at a hidden desk in the stairwell and make their way through the schedule, pushing into classrooms, intervening in gym class, or addressing needs in the lunchroom or playground.

The school based OT’s day is never the same and always changing.

With all of these scheduling, planning, equipment, and space issues that interfere with productivity standards, any hack that makes us more organized can help!

These tools for productivity may help keep the school based OT organized and on track for a successful school year..  They are intervention strategies, productivity ideas, and generally tricks to help the school based OT get through their day in an easier way.

School based Occupational Therapists can use these productivity hacks to help with organization and productivity during the school day when treating students in the school environment.

Tools for Getting Organized as a School Based OT

Affiliate links are included in this post. 

Organization Tricks for the School Based OT A therapist who travels from classroom to classroom or building to building needs to stay organized! Try these tricks to stay sane.

Use Google Drive to create folders for each student as a way for  students would save multiple documents to a folder in Google Drive.

Create an organized caseload list and adjust to fit workload with time for consult services.

Create tracking tools for therapy attendance, contact information, assessment dates, consult records, daily and weekly schedules, school contact information (secretaries, teacher extension numbers and emails), equipment records, data sheets, goal sheets, etc.  Use Google Docs to create record sheets that meet specific needs.

These Google Sheets Caseload Management, Lesson Planning, and Data collection were made for SLP, but they could work for the OT, too. 

Printable Sheets for the School Based OT:

Create a file of regularly used printable sheets like:

The Therapy Planner with tracking sheets, schedules, note pages, treatment planners, calendars, planning templates, IEP trackers, and more. 
Visual Processing Problems School Checklist

Tools for help the school based Occupational Therapist with monitoring goal achievement:

Using Rubrics to Monitor Outcomes in Occupational Therapy  Improve Critical Thinking and Clinical Reasoning by Adding Rubrics to Assess Goal Progress with this book to improve data collection methods and documentation style with teachers in order to enable concise development of the IEP and goals targeted toward the student’s individual needs.  The book provides rubrics but also shows how to design your own for improved organization planning and data collection. When annual review time comes around, goal progress is also easy to report.

The Therapy Planner is a tool that can be printed and used year after year to track progress.

Sensory Strategies for the School Based Occupational Therapist:

Provide parents, teachers, and paraprofessionals with this Sensory Processing Disorder information packet (free printable)

A Buffet of Sensory Interventions provides solutions for older children in middle school and high school age ranges.  The book emphasizes the importance of fostering independence, self-advocacy and self-regulation in a period of growth that transitions into adulthood. 

Free Sensorimotor Classroom Activities (free printable)

Handwriting Tools for the School Based Occupational Therapist:

Handwriting Speed Norms by Grade Level

Keyboarding Speed Norms

The Ultimate Free List of Printable Adaptive Paper

Google Chrome Extensions for Struggling and Special Needs Students

Activities for Handwriting Problems– Tons of creative ideas to work on handwriting skills 

Additional Information for the School Based OT:

Check out all of the resources on our School Based OT Pinterest board.  There are a ton of intervention strategies, tools for getting organized, and more. 

School Based OT Resources from AOTA

Productivity Tricks for the School Based OT on scheduling from Tx Source

Caseload to Workload from AOTA

School based Occupational Therapists can use these productivity hacks to help with organization and productivity during the school day when treating students in the school environment.

Thank you for Cursive Writing Checklist

Thank you for downloading the Cursive Writing Assessment Checklist. 

Right now, you should have an email with the free download in your email inbox. There, you will be able to download the cursive writing assessment checklist.

Use the checklist as a way to assess cursive handwriting needs to to monitor progress. 

Be sure to use the notes area of each section to describe and record the development of specific skills, strategies, and accommodations. There is space to record anecdotal notes and comments related to each area within the checklist. 

Consider using assessment strategies such as:
Mark and identify skills they would like to improve within the assessment checklist. 
Mark or identify more difficult areas of cursive handwriting for the individual. 
Mark of identify current accommodations.

If you arrived on this page by search and would like to download the free printable cursive handwriting assessment checklist, grab it HERE.

Use these cursive writing activities to further address needs such as letter formation, progression, and practice:

Ideas to Incorporate Movement into the Classroom

Children today are experiencing less and less physical activity and more and more sedentary lifestyles that limit participation in many motor experiences. Children are spending more time in front of screens and less time climbing trees, rolling down hills, and in general less time outdoors.  Physical activity is a vital part of health but for the student, movement in the classroom can have a big impact on learning.  Gross motor games and activities can help. 

There is much evidence of the link between movement and learning.  For some students, movement breaks in the classroom are an essential part of regulation of sensory needs.  Most students need a quick energizer to beat lethargy in a long school day at some point and brain breaks are a great answer to meet that need.   

Below, you’ll find easy ways to incorporate movement into the classroom.  

These are easy strategies that can be added at little cost.  As much as most teachers and school based professionals would love extensive equipment or alternative seating and cushions in their classroom, these ideas are not always feasible.  For these and other reasons, I’ve put together this list of ideas to add movement into the classroom environment.

These are great ideas for how to incorporate movement into the classroom for movement and learning, perfect ideas for teachers to help kids with attention or sensory needs, and any student who needs more movement in the classroom and throughout the school day.

Easy Ideas to Add Movement into the Classroom

You may have seen this video depicting movement in the classroom floating around on Facebook. Check it out. Does this sound familiar?

Add movement into learning- Incorporate gross motor movement into math when repeating math facts by incorporating whole-body games such as Simon Says (Students can perform specific motions when math facts are true, and perform other motor tasks when math facts are false.)

Daily Stretches

Afternoon Yoga Stretches

Dance Party Breaks

Brain break videos- Here are the best brain break videos on YouTube.

Themed Brain Breaks- Some ideas are these Bear Brain Breaks or these Farm Brain Breaks

Role Play Activities for history, science, geometry, etc.

Large item manipulatives- Use creative items such as large cardboard boxes, printer paper boxes filled with newspapers, old phone books, etc.

Add in walks during the day.

Incorporate action rhymes into the morning routine or circle time. 

Try these sensory motor activities for the classroom.

As students to move around the room to learn about specific items.  Fall back on those places by asking the students to recall the part of the room they were in when they learned about that particular topic.

Move books or other items from the desk to a different part of the room so that students need to get up and walk to the back of the room to get their math workbook.

Try inexpensive seating tools such as this DIY sensory seating idea

Utilize extra recess as a reward.

Create a fidget toolbox in the classroom for movement needs while sitting at desks. 

Try a ball toss game with partners when working on learning facts or spelling. 

Ask students to perform jumping jacks, clapping, running in place, or hopping when spelling words as a group.

Add movement requirements within a multi-step project- Students can complete a worksheet, then get up and place it in a bin across the room, then walk to another center to gather materials needed for their next assignment, then return to their desk.

Ask students to assist in handing out materials and papers.

Place a math problem at each student’s desk.  Each child can copy the problem to another sheet of paper and complete the problem.  Then, they can move to the next desk and complete that problem.  Ask them to move to each desk until they have solved all of the problems.

Students can place their chairs on their desks at the end of each day and remove them at the beginning of each day.

When walking from classroom to classroom, students can all walk on their toes.  Other ideas: walk toe to heel (for short trips down the hall), penguin waddle, walk with extra large steps, or other creative movement ideas.

Students can carry bins of materials needed for each day from their cubby to their desk.

Borrow a swivel seat from the computer lab or office.  Use the seat as an alternative seat for different students throughout the day.

Try Indoor Ice Skating before a learning task- In the classroom, use a sheet of paper under each foot as students “skate” in the classroom for 5 minutes. 

Raise the desks and allow students to stand for reading/writing/worksheets/learning activities.

Use easels in the classroom.

Encourage wall writing by taking paper to the walls and asking students to write at the wall.

Allow prone writing and reading (lay on stomach on the floor).

Use a therapy ball as a seat or as a movement area in the classroom.

What are your favorite ways to add movement to the classroom?

You may also be interested in the free printable packet, The Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit.

The Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit is a printable packet of resources and handouts that can be used by teachers, parents, and therapists. Whether you are looking for a handout to explain sensory strategies, or a tool for advocating for your child, the Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit has got you covered.

And it’s free for you to print off and use again and again.

In the Classroom Sensory Strategy Toolkit, you’ll find:

  • Fidgeting Tools for the Classroom
  • Adapted Seating Strategies for the Classroom
  • Self-Regulation in the Classroom
  • 105 Calm-down Strategies for the Classroom
  • Chewing Tools for Classroom Needs
  • 45 Organizing Tools for Classroom Needs
  • Indoor Recess Sensory Diet Cards

Sensory Strategies for the Classroom

Jaw Instability Oral Motor Problems

Have you been following along on our oral motor series this past week? You can find all of the posts related to oral motor skills and how they relate to feeding on the site. Each area will be addressed along with reasons why abnormal oral motor problems occur and their influence on eating and drinking. Be sure to check out the past oral motor problem posts and come back as the remaining areas are addressed in upcoming posts.

Jaw instability is an oral motor problem that results in impaired eating and drinking skills.

Jaw Instability and Oral Motor Problems

Jaw instability is observed when the jaw slips and shifts due to inefficient tone and control, resulting in a child who opens and closes the mouth to reset positioning.  Jaw instability is also observed in the child who holds their mouth closed in a tense open position or closed by biting.

Jaw instability occurs because of several reasons:

  • Laxity of the temporomandibular joint
  • Delayed development of jaw stability due to hypotonia
  • Structural problems at the temporomandibular joint
  • Poor control of the jaw
  • Poor grading of movement patterns
  • Poor isolation of jaw movements from the body

Read more about development of oral motor skills.

Feeding issues related to jaw instability:

When a child presents with jaw instability, every aspect of eating and drinking are affected.

Difficulties present in the use of cheeks, lips, and tongue in coordinated eating and drinking when jaw instability is present.

Controlled biting and chewing occur.

Positioning the jaw when not chewing can be uncomfortable, painful, or difficult.

Graded biting and chewing can be difficult.

The child might experience more stability with biting and chewing motions when approaching food from the side of the mouth.

Looking for ways to address jaw instability?

Oral Motor Exercises for the Jaw

If you are looking for exercises related to common oral motor problems, this FREE printable pack of oral motor exercises goes along perfectly with the series I have planned for you.  Get your free download printable packet of 20 different feeding therapy ideas AND 20 oral motor exercises.  These are treatement ideas for oral motor problems that professionals can utilize over and over again.  

Jaw instability is an oral motor problem that results in impaired eating and drinking skills.