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    Question Help for my 5yo ASD son to stop finger sucking

    Hi,

    I have a 5yo high functioning Autistic son who sucks his finger a lot, helps with anxiety/regulation and is also just habitual. Sucks whenever sedentary (car, tv, being read to), when stressed or upset and going to sleep. Up until now I have been concerned but followed the advice not to push him because he uses it to cope with stress, also reading books "Daniel Decides about thumbsucking" that says you can't push them until they are ready to make the decision to give up for themselves. But he has Autism and that book is written for neurotypical kids, he may never decide himself that he should give it up. Now his finger has a constant sore on it, his teeth are becoming misaligned and to boot it is his writing hand which could be making writing more difficult. So I'm at the point where I really think I need to help him stop but I don't know if there is a way to help him without getting into a power struggle which isn't going to work anyway. If anyone has any brilliant ideas I'd love to hear them .

    Thank you.

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    I have no idea whatsoever but replied so I could bump your thread back up.

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    I don't know much about this. but would some sort of substitute thing work. thinking maybe a small blanket or face washer size . if he chooses to put it in his mouth atleast that can be washed and replaced as needed. I would tell him your concerns about him sucking the fingers, his teeth, and such, and perhaps he will co-operate. marie.

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    There is a device that an orthodontist can install into their mouth, it's a wavy piece of hard wire and it makes it physically imposible to suck on fingers/thumb. If you google images "thumb sucking device" you should get some images to give you an idea. It's not a plate, it is glued in place and removed when the habit is broken.

    It may be a little harsh, given they may not want to give up this habit, but it could be a case of short term pain for long term gain. If they need orthodontics later, they will have unwanted metal in their mouth for a lot longer than this would need to be.

    I would only consider it alongside introducing an alternate comfort item such as something tactile they can wear/always carry. From a social standpoint, I would steer towards something they can hold/squeeze/stroke and not anything they will mouth or suck on.

    The device will place some restrictions on food as well, which may be a problem if they have texture issues with softer foods.

    Breaking a finger/thumb sucking habit is a challenge, NT or otherwise. I understand if you'd dismiss something like this right away, as I appreciate it could be harsh on a child who doesn't want to stop, but I just wanted you to know of an option that is out there.


 

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