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Sports mouthguard and anxiety/sensory issues(6 Posts)
So DS suffers from anxiety, the biggest symptom of which is selective mutism (although that's improved hugely after lots of help). I think he also has some related sensory issues as certain things seem to bother him more than they should, but never had that "diagnosed". Dentist has been a particular issue, we spent many years with the special care dentist just trying to get him to open his mouth, and he's never allowed a dentist to touch his teeth, only look, including now putting the little mirror in his mouth. As both the mutism and dentist are mouth-related, I suspect they are relevant to today's issue.
Anyway, he's in Y7 and they are about to do rugby, so he has to have a mouthguard. We bought it a few weeks ago but he kept putting off fitting it (you put it in hot water to soften it then in their mouth to "fit" it). Tried yesterday, he wouldn't keep it in, said it made him feel sick. If he doesn't have the right kit for school, he will get a detention but I honestly don't think he will be able to use it.
(a) Any tips in getting him able to fit it and wear it?
(b) If you've had similar issues, has school accepted a note to PE teacher saying he can't wear it because of anxiety/sensory issues and if so has he had to not play? (He doesn't want to play rugby, doesn't like contact sport, but equally won't want to be different to everyone else.)
I'd talk to the school too. Maybe he could act as assistant to the PE teacher instead (fetching equipment, keeping scores etc).
My DS with ASD and anxiety couldn’t tolerate a mouth guard. He is very sensory defensive - if that’s the right expression - particularly with food textures. We tried the boil and bite variety but DS couldn’t even tolerate the guard in his mouth long enough to to do the ‘bite’ bit to mould it. Wearing it for a lesson was a non starter.
The school (large mainstream comprehensive) accepted that DS couldn’t manage a mouth guard. He joined in the exercise and training bits before the rugby practice or match and then as dobbin suggests he ‘helped’ the teacher.
Presumably the school knows about your DS’s anxiety and selective mutism- I’d approach the SENCO and get them to make a plan with the PE teacher.
Thanks for all the responses. Particularly useful to hear from @pannetone how it was dealt with for her DS as that is what I was hoping they would do for DS.
We did have another go and he got as far as getting it in his mouth but not sufficiently to get it moulded to his bite and there was no way he was going to keep it in. So I've sent him in with a note for the PE teacher and will follow up with the SENCO. I just hope the PE teacher doesn't take the same stance this morning as DH did - DH kept saying "he just has to put up with it; no one finds them comfy" and as I've never worn a mouthguard (but DH did at school), I wondered if I was being too precious about it. But you've reassured me that I'm not. DH finds it harder to accept that DS has issues (just about accepts the selective mutism given Ed Psych involvement etc but not all the other things) and worries about him being seen as being different - particularly now he's in a new school where most of the pupils will be unaware and just think he's very quiet, whereas four years of not talking to his primary school teachers made it pretty obvious!
Hopefully the SENCO will be helpful. He seems decent enough and has quite a lot of experience with selective mutism - though knew nothing about DS having it until I chatted to him at a coffee morning, and we discovered that the previous SENCO hadn't actually done anything with the information we and DS's school had given her both in writing and verbally, so none of the teachers were aware.
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