There are a wealth of chewy toys and items for sensory oral seeking kiddos. We have tried and tested these brands below to let you know what we think.
Firstly why do our children need a chewy?
Some sensory children 'stim' (stimulatory behaviours) by flapping their hands or by rocking, others chew non-edible items such as clothing, toys and furniture. It is a way of receiving much needed sensory feedback. There are many nerve receptors in your mouth, so this way of getting feedback is a very effective one. It also doesn't effect people around them. It can be dangerous, however, if our sensory children mouth poisonous or small items. It is also very difficult to keep clothing smart if it is being chewed!
Firstly I would just like to remind you all that we have not been paid or sponsored to promote these brands below, they are our true opinions only.
1. Try hard or crunchy foods such as carrots, celery or hard crisps
These are safe items that will allow your child to gain the feedback they desire. However often these children are also very sensitive with foods and tastes so this may not be a possible option.
2. Chewbuddy, Chewytube, Ark chews, P Q chew, chew noodle
These fantatsic chewy brands are great. There are all sorts of shapes and sizes to suit each child's individual needs. They can be smooth or textured depending on preference. They are able to attach to clothing or lanyards for easy access too. These are washable. We wash ours in 'Milton sterilising solution' once per week, and under water when ever we can, but it is up to you how you do this.
Neckerchiefs are great for chewers, to distract from jumper collars and sleeves, however they very quickly begin to smell and become hard and crusty. We were delighted when we found the brand 'neckerchew'. Aimed at babies initially , but more than suitable for young children, these are a great combination of neckerchiefs and chewys. There are now brands that have created adult suitable ones. The hard corner gives far more feedback than the material would. It is washable too. There are some vibrating ones too which we think is just fabulous!
4. Vibrating chews
Last week we shared our favourite vibrating sensory toys with you all. You can go to that link here. We touched upon a few vibrating chewys there. Our favourite in the Ark Z vibe chew. Working a bit like an electric toothbrush, you can purchase a range of heads for your chewy depending on needs or preference. This will give incredible amounts of oral feedback, but may also encourage vast amounts of dribble. It should ideally be used in no longer than 20 minute bursts to gain the most effect from it.
5. Chew bangle
There are textured and smooth wrist bands, bangles and bracelets all to provide oral feedback in a much more fashionable and subtle way. They are great to hold and chew on too. Always available to access on your wrist, and could well be the answer to saving those uniform sleeves.
6. Pencil chew
'Chewbuddy Tubes' and other similar brands are great for sensory seekers in environments where it may not be socially acceptable to use a chewy, i.e. secondary school or workplace. These push onto the tip of your pencil or pen. They are incredibly discrete and come in different textures depending on your child's needs.
7. Wet flannel
For times when new teeth are coming through or when your sensory kiddo has tooth ache we have found using a damp towel or flannel for them to chew makes an incredible difference. It soothes the ache and gives them the gentle feedback they still need.
Another subtle chewy for getting discrete sensory input is the huge range of chewy necklaces available on the market. They are made for boys and girls alike. No-one would know what they are. A great solution for sensory kids in mainstream that do not want to stand out.