Persons with special needs who are orallychallenged can truly benefit from having the right oral stimulus presented tothem. Having a designated chewing objectcan help children who live with a wide variety of challenges. Special needschews have been found beneficial for a wide variety of purposes. They direct the“need to chew” (oral sensory seeking) toward a safe, appropriate, andbeneficial object. They’ve also been found to help children with special needsin various areas, from discouraging biting in children with autism to calmingchildren who have anxiety. They are often used in occupational therapy for feedingchallenges, and can help reduce body focused repetitive behaviorsin children with ADHD. These are just a few of the uses that special needschews hold.
The first thing to consider when choosing aspecial needs chew for your child is whether you’re looking for a device thatis alerting or something with calming properties. Calming and alerting characteristics are foundin many of your daily activities, even when you may not be purposefully seekingthem. Some calming activities you may do on a normal basis include drinking acup of warm tea before bed or taking a slow walk when you need a break fromwork. Some alerting activities you partake in might include turning on upbeatmusic while preparing to clean the house or tapping your fingers on your deskwhen you need to think deeply.
Alerting and calming special needs oraldevices follow these same characteristics. A few products with these qualities(as well as their specific uses) are explained below:
ChuBuddy’s VibraZilla is an excellent tool foralerting oral stimulation. It is a vibrating tool with a chewable tip that’sboth soft and strong. It provides 6 therapeutic speeds during use, so you canchoose the vibration that best suits your child’s preference. It can be used toprovide input inside of the mouth to the cheeks, gums, teeth, and tongue, aswell as outside of the mouth on the cheeks and chin.
The VibraZilla is an excellent choice forchildren who are in need of self-regulating oral input or desensitization. Itis beneficial for children who struggle with oral defensiveness,hypersensitivity to food texture, difficulties with tooth brushing, and otheroral motor facial challenges as well.
The more typical chews are excellent atproviding a calming oral stimulation. ChuBuddy’sStrong Tubes are built for the toughest chewers, but their hollowcore ensures that they are still fun to chew. If you’re looking for somethingthat’s easier to keep track of throughout the day, the Paracheweris another excellent choice. It’s part paracord bracelet, part chew. It’suseful, discrete, and even doubles as a fidget object when needed.
Calming special needs chews are helpful fororal sensory seekers, children with special needs who are biting (whether it bethemselves, others, or objects), children with anxiety, ADHD, and more. If youthink your child could benefit from having an appropriate item to chew on, theyare almost always worth trying out.
Once you choose whether your child is in needof an alerting or calming special needs oral device, you may be interested indoing even more to support them in this area. Below are lists of other oral alerting and calming activitiesthat may be beneficial for your child:
● Have a crunchy snack, such aspretzel sticks or raw vegetables
● Take a few sips of cold ice water
● Make silly noises with your mouth,such as whistling or blowing raspberries
● Have a chewy snack, such as gummyfruit snacks or jerky stick
● Drink a smoothie through a straw
● Blow bubbles
Choosing the right special needs oral devicefor your child can seem like a daunting task when you first begin. Beginningwith the decision of “alerting versus calming” should turn this task into amuch simpler choice. Some Oral Chews can be used for both alerting and calmingdepending upon how they are used. A goodexample of this is the VibraZilla. Consider your child’s needs and thetype of oral device that suits them best. This small first step is sure to leadyou toward the product that will make a difference for your child’s oralsensory needs.