My almost 2 yr.old has little vision. He is always licking everything...stove, fridge, walls, etc. How can I get him to stop?

Topics: Behavior
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Posted by borrowed-gift2011 on Jan 25, 2012 - 9:31am

Hi my name is Vanessa I just joined here and I am brand new to all of this visually impaired stuff.My little man is 10 months old and he does the same thing.As far as having an answer, I dont, but Ive been told because he has a visual impairment he will use his other senses to explore. I tried my best to keep EVERYTHING sanitized for this reason.

Posted by Amber Bobnar on Jan 26, 2012 - 12:56pm

Here's an answer from a friend of mine:

I remember my granddaughter licking everything in sight. The door, window, paper, tub, toys, pencils, etc. The list goes on. We tried to sanitize everything we had, but couldn't keep up with it. At first she caught every cold virus out there, eventually I think her little system became immune.

What I realized is that it was her way of figuring out what everything was. I am way more open to that now. I had no idea that this was her way of exploring the world. We had her touch everything and we explained everything, but I don't think it is the same to a visually impaired person. So we let her explore, even tasting fuzzy cotton and the hard wooden table or the smooth glass window.

This has now pretty much become a venture of the past. Every now and again, she will lick the tub but it is not the obsession that it once seemed to be.

We used to sing, "Don't lick the ick, it will make you sick! ooo, ooo! ooo, ooo!" Silly but she used to laugh and loved singing it.

Most kids work through it on their own. Riley was about 4 or 5 before we noticed her stopping on her own. When she was old enough and understood what objects were, we talked about the things you can lick and the things you can't. Always in a silly way, like,

Can you lick an ice cream cone? ...YYEEESSS!!
Can you lick the floor...NNNOOO!
Can you lick an ice cube? ...YYYEESSS!
Can you lick a door?...NNOOO!
Can you lick a lollipop?...YYESSS
Can you lick a shoe? NNOOO!
And the sucker on the stick, you can lick, and it's fun to do!

Making it fun and silly and rhyming, makes it fun for both of you!

Posted by Melissa on Jan 26, 2012 - 4:43pm

Thanks for your response. I like your approach of accepting it as a learning phase that the child will get past on their own. Others have told me that while oral input is necessary for children with visual impairments, it is important to not let the habit develop. It seems to make more sense to let them explore orally and hope that they will eventually mom on as your granddaughter did. Your approach seems much more relaxed and easier to implement on a daily basis rather than continually re-directing and saying "no mouth".

I appreciate you responding so thoroughly. Your response has really helped me to consider the "problem" differently.

Thanks Again!

Posted by Melissa on Jan 26, 2012 - 4:45pm

Hi Vanessa, I agree with the sanitation...man, it certainly is hard to keep up with. My little guy is walking and into everything! I love Mrs. Meyers natural products for cleaning. Then I don't worry about him licking as much. Best of luck with your son and this new journey that has been placed before you.

Posted by Victoria on Mar 09, 2012 - 9:59pm

Hi Vanessa, yes i agree with positive ways to teach you little one not to lick just about everything. my daughter now 4 1/2 yrs knows not to lick anything unless i say so. i work with a lot of specialists and they all tell me to always remind her that "mommy" and/or "daddy" said so.i was afraid when my daughter did the same thing. i used apple cider vinegar on surfaces like the fridge and stove. that put a stop to those areas right away. its harmless, good to clean with and tastes horrible. it helps with "its not good to lick this and it is not food". hope this helps. and best wishes to you on this journey. it really is fun although stressful at times.