What are Z-Vibes in Pediatric Occupational Therapy?

Does your child experience difficulty with feeding or oral sensory processing? If your child currently receives feeding therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy, a Z-Vibe might be a tool that the therapist will incorporate. So, what exactly is a Z-Vibe?

A Z-Vibe is a therapeutic vibratory tool developed by ARK Therapeutic Services, Inc. for children who experience difficulties with feeding, sensory integration, oral motor skills, and speech.

(Image courtesy of https://www.arktherapeutic.com/blog/an-overview-of-the-z-vibe-tips/)

From an occupational therapy approach this tool can be utilized for a variety of reasons:

  • Oral defensiveness:  If your child experiences oral defensiveness, they will have an aversive response to touch sensations in and around their mouth. Using a Z-vibe provides the mouth with vibrating sensory input and can help decrease the sensitivity over time thus allowing them to tolerate sensations with decreased aversion.

  • Texture aversion: Children who have difficulty with feeding can have texture aversions which limit their ability to eat a variety of foods. A Z-vibe can have a variety of textured heads that are interchangeable to provide different sensations and textures that the child will learn to tolerate and over time will assist with helping a child tolerate different food textures.

  • Overstuffing of mouth: If children have decreased oral awareness they cannot fully feel what is going on inside of their mouth which can lead to overstuffing or pocketing of food. Using Z-vibe vibrations can help to increase awareness of a child’s mouth to help decrease over stuffing and pocketing.
  • Self-regulation: Some children are oral sensory seekers, meaning they seek input to their mouth to feel regulated and calm. Children who orally seek will frequently put objects in their mouths, chew on their clothing, etc. A Z-vibe is a great tool to provide that sensory input to a child’s mouth which over time can help to decrease oral seeking.

Z-vibes are a very helpful tool that occupational therapists can use to provide oral sensory input to address a variety of problem areas.

If you think your child would benefit from occupational therapy, contact Chicago Occupational Therapy or call (773) 980-0300 to learn more about our services and how we can help your child flourish and grow.