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Readers Respond: How Do You Teach Nose-Blowing to a Child With Special Needs?

Responses: 5

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Nose-blowing is the sort of basic skill that's often tricky for kids with special needs, especially ones with developmental delays or sensory-integration difficulties. If you've found a way to help your child clear those nasal passages in a clean and socially acceptable away, do share your methods here. Parents whose kids are stuck in the wipe-on-sleeve and snuffle-it-in stage will thank you.

huff and puff

I gently press on one nostril and have my toddlers (one with Down Syndrome & Autism) try to imitate a huffing noise out that nostril. I demonstrate, and gently close their lower jaws if needed. They both are used to verbal cues, and think the sound is fun. Once they could make a sound, we added the tissue. They both still need saline drops to really move anything out. Try a sticker, arm band, or use a marker to mark the sneeze spot and practice. A company even makes yucky face stickers just for this.
—able2able

Nose blowing strategies

I am a School Nurse and a parent of a child with DD. The method that I use with preschool and elementary aged kids as well as with kids with DD uses a cotton ball to teach the basics of nose blowing. I work with the kids to keep their mouth closed and blow very lightly with their nose to see if they can move the cotton ball on the table or desk. Of course it is best to begin to teach this method prior to a snotty nose. In working with my son , I have put my hand lightly across his mouth to keep him from blowing the cotton ball with his breath. Once the child is able to blow the cotton ball slowly by breathing out through only their nose, I then move to having them try to push the cotton ball further by breathing (blowing) out of their nose with more force. Then we move to using a tissue for nose blowing. I have used this method with many kids and much success. If the kids forget how to blow their nose after they have been taught...we review using a cotton ball again to start.
—Guest TDSM

Nose Blowing

With the proper adult supervision have them practice by blowing out a candle while keeping their mouth is closed.
—Guest Sally N

nose blowing.

My daughter's doctor showed my daughter how to properly blow her nose. She had frequent nose bleed cause she was constantly blowing, but I think we have it under control now. If only I could get her to sneeze into her sleeve we will be okay.
—Guest ugates

task analysis

#1 guide (instruct) the child to close their mouth after taking a big breath of air. Then have them place their hand under their nose and feel the "air" they push out of their nose. #2. Teach the child to cover the nose where the air came out with a tissue. #3. Practice blowing into the tissue. #4. When successful, do the "tissue" dance
—Guest su

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