Spitting behavior in children could be frustrating for the parents to deal with. Some children spit just for fun or to gain attention, while others spit to express their emotions like anger or dislikes and some children exhibit the behavior due to sensory needs. Children with autism tend to have this kind of behavior, as they have a communication difficulty.
Some children use spitting behavior as a self-defense action when they don’t like others to touch them and/or their things (Eg: toys)
How to respond to the behavior if the child does it for fun?
Always it is essential to analyze the reason for any behavior the child express. If they do to gain attention, ignoring them will fade the spitting behavior.
How to respond to the behavior when expressed due to anger?
- Do not react immediately, stay calm.
- Analyze the reason with Ws – why, where, when.
- Tell your child, IT IS NO GOOD or IT’S BAD BEHAVIOUR.
- Make the child clean his/her spit.
- Apply time-out, which would help the child to calm down.
- Teach the child possible ways of communication, for example, either to communicate using monosyllable words like “NO”, “MOVE”, “GO”, etc. or via hand gestures.
- If the child communicates appropriately, then reinforce the good behavior.
How to respond to the behavior when expressed due to a sensory need?
A sensory assessment by an Occupational Therapist is always necessary to rule out the exact cause of the behavior. Then as per your therapist advise, providing oral stimulation along with few activities will help the child to control and stop the spitting behavior.
- Chewy tubes
- Blowing bubbles
- Blowing balloons
- Using straws of variable sizes to drink
- Chewy and crunchy foods
- Lollipops (if suggested by Doctor and Therapist)
- Blow painting
- Blow thermocol or cotton balls into a hole