Sensory Chew Toys for Oral Motor Chewing
Sensory chew toys for toddlers are an excellent way to provide oral stimulation, exercise the mouth muscles, build oral tone, and practice biting/chewing skills. Oral motor chew tools can also be used as oral fidgets, redirecting finger/knuckle biting and other inappropriate chewing habits to a safer outlet. We sell a range of autism chew toys that are suitable for those on the spectrum or just for those who chew clothes, cuffs, fingers etc. Our bestselling Chewbuddy range is made in the UK and consists of the Chewbuddy Stickman for younger children and the Chewbuddy Super for more aggressive biters.
Why do Autistic Children like to Chew?
Many children (and some adults) on the Autism Spectrum chew or bite on non-edible objects such as toys or pencils or they like to suck shirt sleeves or bite jumpers. This is a form of “Stimming” which is short for self-stimulatory behaviour.
Chewing is just one form of stimming – others can be hand flapping, rocking or spinning – and these are often done to relieve anxiety, reduce fear and combat sensory overload. Most people stim to some degree – nail biting, hair twirling and foot tapping are all stimming behaviours – but for those with Autism, their stimming tends to be more extreme and more frequent, impairing their ability to interact with other people and participate in ordinary activities.
A child in a classroom who is constantly stimming by flapping or pacing up and down will not only find it difficult to take part but will also be a distraction to others.
Chewing non-edible objects is one of the more manageable forms of stimming and has little impact on others. The main issue is what to chew or bite safely without risk of choking or poisoning.
Sucking and biting jumpers and shirts is less dangerous but does lead to dirty sweaters and soggy cuffs.
There are some who advocate discouraging stimming on the grounds that it is often inappropriate. Another view is that, as long as it is safe and does not impact on others, stimming is a useful outlet, reducing anxiety and allowing the autistic person to handle situations they find difficult or stressful.
There are various strategies and tools to modify chewing and biting. Chewy foods such as carrots and celery sticks can be used as a temporary chew. Specially designed chewy toys such, also called sensory biting toys, as the Chewbuddy (made from medical grade material) also provide a safe alternative to chewing on fingers, cuffs, pencils and toys.
IMPORTANT: Sensory Chews are not a toy and whilst they are durable they are not indestructible. Wear and tear can be expected depending on the oral needs of the user and how heavily the product is chewed. Use under direct supervision at all times and replace the chew if signs of wear and tear are evident. The lanyard and clasp are not intended to be chewed and contain small parts which may be a choking hazard. Using the lanyard is not recommended for children under 5 years old.