What is “mouthing” and why do people do it? How can a classroom deal with this issue?
The act of “mouthing” may be associated with developmental level and the way in which a person is currently processing information and her environment. For individuals with developmental delays (such as those exhibited by some individuals with CdLS), this stage can be extended for a longer period of time than typically developing children. It is difficult to anticipate the issues that will face a care provider in “proofing” a classroom against such behavior. It may be the role of the classroom aide to assist in guiding a student through the activities offered by this inclusive setting in a safe manner. I understand and appreciate the goal of trying to create a more included and independent child in a classroom setting.
The Foundation offers materials related to perseverative behaviors and the issue of inclusion in the classroom. Broaden a search to a general key-word search for “mouthing,” development, or Pica (a compulsion/craving to eat non-food items associated with compulsive behaviors and mental illness) on the web. I am not sure what sort of behavior management techniques would be most helpful in this situation short of aversion therapy. This may be inappropriate for some individuals, however.
MW/ TK 7-13-10
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