Angst at thumb suck­ers

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - JACKIE SINNERTON

QUEENS­LAND par­ents are flock­ing to thumb­suck­ing clin­ics in a bid to help their kids quit the ad­dic­tive habit.

And while some child ex­perts are giv­ing the trend the thumbs down, the num­ber of cer­ti­fied thumb­suck­ing clin­i­cians are on the rise and their books are filled with frus­trated par­ents look­ing for an­swers.

Carla Le­jar­raja is a world ex­pert in the ther­apy and runs The Thumb Suck­ing Clinic in Townsville.

“I am a den­tal hy­gien­ist and my daugh­ter was a thumb­sucker. Af­ter much re­search and train­ing I found the tech­niques that helped her quit her habit. But I wasn’t happy to stop there and af­ter more study, fur­ther in­de­pen­dent re­search, I de­vel­oped my own thumb and fin­ger suck­ing pro­grams,” she said.

Ms Le­jar­raja trains new clin­i­cians in Aus­tralia around the world.

Psy­chol­o­gist Michael Car­rGregg says he is con­cerned that par­ents have enough to worry about rais­ing chil­dren with­out spend­ing money on break­ing a com­mon child­hood habit.

“Most chil­dren grow out of thumb­suck­ing and seek­ing pro­fes­sional help should only be for ex­treme cases,” he said.

“In my opin­ion some par­ents who are spend­ing their money at these kind of clin­ics have too much money. Chil­dren have been thumb­suck­ing for gen­er­a­tions.”

But Ms Le­jar­raja dis­agrees and says her re­sults speak for them­selves and her re­search shows the ben­e­fits to chil­dren’s fa­cial devel­op­ment, teeth po­si­tion­ing and func­tion of the fa­cial mus­cles, chew­ing and feed­ing be­hav­iours, speech devel­op­ment, pos­ture and healthy air­way devel­op­ment. and

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