Special Needs Biting & Chewing Advice
Many children and adults with special needs will also feel the need to bite or chew, especially for individuals on the Autistic spectrum. There may be a range of reasons for this such as frustration, stress, anxiety, the desire to communicate or the need for sensory stimulation. It can also be a reaction to feeling overwhelmed by their environment. Chewing or biting can also be a comforting activity.
Fledglings has a wide range of safe chewing and biting aids, aimed at providing a safe alternatives for individuals to gain that necessary oral sensory feedback whilst promoting calmness and aiding concentration.
Chewing and biting behaviour can manifest in the sucking of clothing, particularly at the cuffs and necks of garments as well as the chewing of fingers and other inedible objects. This form of self-stimulating behaviour is called ‘stimming’. Chewing aids are one way of safely redirecting this behaviour by changing the object on which the person chews to a safer alternative. They can also help strengthen muscles in the mouth and encourage the chewing skills needed for eating and speech. If you need advice, an occupational or speech and language therapist should be able to give you more information.
Chewing aids can help
- As an oral fidget aid for sensory seekers.
- As a safe alternative to chewing on hands, knuckles, cuffs and sleeves, shirts, pencils etc.
- As an alternative to tooth grinding or thumb sucking.
- To practice biting/chewing safely and avoid the risk of choking on inappropriate objects.
- To build oral strength and control.
- With the urge to chew for individuals who are tube fed.
- Chewing aids are usually made of non-toxic medical grade material for added safety.
Please note: Severe biting and chewing can lead to physical damage to the tissues on the arms, hands and fingers. Every individual’s experiences and behaviour will be different so in instances of severe biting, it may be best to seek professional advice. Biting and chewing can also be related to physical discomfort, pain in the mouth or another medical issue. If you suspect this may be the case, please seek specialist medical or dental advice.
We recommend that all chewing aids are used with adult supervision and are replaced once they show signs of wear. Please inspect the chewing aid regularly and wash with warm soapy water.