Special Education Activities to Reduce Licking

Do you have a student with special needs who licks people or things such as toys or walls?

In today’s Teacher Tips newsletter, Watson experts share oral motor activities and strategies to increase engagement with your student to reduce licking.

Start by checking your student for any dental issues. If you rule out any potential dental issues that may cause the licking, proceed with the following steps to reduce this behavior.

  1. Determine the possible function and reasoning behind the licking by using an ABC chart. Identifying the function will help determine the appropriate strategy to employ. It may be a sensory-seeking activity or a product of too much unstructured time.
  2. Consult with an Occupational Therapist (OT) to identify activities that provide similar sensory input such as blowing bubbles, brushing teeth with a toothbrush, blowing into a harmonica, or using a “chewy” necklace.
  3. Using your ABC chart, identify when the student is most likely to engage in licking and schedule sensory activities prior to that.
  4. Be prepared to redirect your student with more appropriate behaviors if they appear ready to engage in licking and ensure you have a planned activity for the student if they finish their work ahead of his/her classmates so they are actively engaged.
  5. Positively reinforce your student when he/she refrains from licking and uses one of the appropriate replacement behaviors.

To learn more about engaging your student with special needs in activities that reduce licking, check out our YouTube video below and visit the corresponding special education resources page. For more special education resources, visit Watson Life Resources.