Two Great Options for Oral Sensory Chewing
When she’s not busy racing around the house exploring, you’ll more than likely find Juliana chomping on something. We’ve been told that at some point this oral fixation fades and the chewing stops. I know some older Angels (the common term for those with Angelman’s Syndrome) who do not chew anymore but at three, Juliana is still going strong.
What is she chewing? It depends. Sometimes, it’s whatever is close. Her speech therapist recommends that we replace a non-chew item with a chew item and re-direct the behavior. This works a lot of the time. At times, a little bit more effort is required to achieve that re-direction. The other day, my two year old was completing an animal puzzle and Juliana wanted to do puzzles too. Well, okay not really. She wanted to chew the alligator on the puzzle. This was not acceptable to her little sister who wanted the piece back. When Juliana realized I was coming to get the piece, she took off with the alligator in tow.
It was the silliest thing–my chasing her while she scrambled away in a fast frenzy to get another bite out of the alligator. That’s a switch of roles, huh? I had quite a laugh. Fortunately, I did manage to retrieve the alligator successfully. In due time, the puzzle was completed and order restored. Hurray, score one for mom! What I gave Juliana in place of the alligator was an Ark’s Grabber. We have a couple of versions of these. Initially, we used it to stimulate her mouth for eating. That’s when we noticed that she liked to chew them too. It was a good alternative. Unlike other unsafe items with paint and other harmful materials, the Ark’s Grabber is an oral tool that is made to go into the mouth. We’ve also had great success with Chewelry.
Chewelry is non-toxic, chewable jewelry that children can wear and chew on as much as they like. You can find them as a necklace or bracelet in chewable plastic or fabric. I’ve chosen the fabric Chewelry for Juliana because she prefers soft things. The best part is that she can wear it to school and chew hands free. This a big improvement from last year when it was hard to keep her hands working because she was holding something to chew.
The other day, I went to Juliana’s class for observation and there she was—on task with her chew friend Ellie right in her mouth. I can tell you it makes a big difference. One day I forgot her Chewelry, and her teacher wrote me a note asking to please send it back. Yes, it really does seem to make a difference in keeping her oral senses satisfied while allowing her to work. I love it when I find little things like this that make a big difference in satisfying a need. If you’ve run across Chewelry or other safe oral sensory products you like which ones are proving to be something you can’t do without?