Every child develops an attachment to one or several toys they just can’t live without. But, unfortunately, the things that entertain our children aren’t necessarily created to aid their learning process in this technology-driven world. As a parent, you want your child to learn and improve as they grow up.
When it comes to children with autism, the goal of any parent is the same, to help them become the best version of themselves. But, unfortunately, the toys we provide to our kids can positively or negatively affect their development.
Why Are Autism Chew Toys Necessary?
The role of every parent isn’t just about helping your autistic child develop good habits but also steering them away from the bad ones. For example, biting is a common bad habit in autistic children, and you must make sure they don’t harm you or themselves if they develop it. So it’s understandable that if your child develops this habit, it can increase the frustration you will feel, as a parent, on your journey to provide a safe, healthy environment for your child.
One of the best options that are helping parents counteract the biting habit is autism chew toys. The variety of chew toys available today is proof that they can safely manage your child’s tendency to bite. Let’s consider some of the main reasons why autism sensory chew toys are a good choice for parents, as well as some of the best chew toys for autism.
How Autism Chew Toys Support Your Child
Many might have the first thought that using autism chew toys seems degrading. But the reality is that they can help dignify your child by keeping them safe.
Promote Personal Safety
A child, regardless of their age, has powerful jaws. Taking the proper steps to help prevent biting by using autism chew toys helps protect your child’s teeth from having to absorb the shock of suddenly clamping down on a hard object.
The health and wellbeing of someone with autism are paramount. Regardless of someone’s age, autism chew toys have proven to help manage the tendency to bite. In addition, chew toys for adults with autism have proven to be just as helpful as those designed for children.
Develop Positive Interpersonal Relationships
Another advantage is that family members, friends, and classmates are kept safe. Healthy interactions with others are critical in helping a young person with autism learn to live amongst the general public. Young people with autism can also better form close interpersonal relationships with family members and friends when their interactions are positive and encouraging.
Sensory chew toys for autism help cut down on negative interactions with others due to biting episodes. Instead of being scolded, yelled at, or startled due to someone’s reaction to their biting, your child can have days filled with more helpful, supportive communication and interpersonal learning opportunities.
Strengthen Oral Motor and Facial Muscles
The human jaw is one of the strongest mechanisms in the body, and it’s essential not to be damaged by biting on the wrong things. Using sensory chew toys will also help your child develop facial muscles, oral motor exploration and help minimize food aversions.
Other benefits include:
- Exposing your children to a variety of different textures
- Strengthening tongue coordination
- Strengthening jaw and lip closure
- Improve oral coordination necessary to speech, eating, and drinking.
Why Children With Autism Bite
When a child with autism starts biting, they do it for a few different reasons. Therefore, parents should observe their children and understand their biting because this will help find the best autism chew toy.
When They Feel Pain
Especially with younger children, it’s possible they may be feeling pain in their teeth or jaw. The pain or discomfort can be due to getting new teeth in or having a cavity. Whichever the reason, your child might resort to biting because they realize it helps ease the discomfort.
When They Experience Anxiety
Autistic children react differently to changes in their environment. When they experience different situations than what’s expected, they can develop higher anxiety levels. Chewing provides a calming sensation that helps your child settle down and relax.
Indication of Other Disorders
The need to bite can also result from a common condition in children with autism called Pica. Pica is defined as an appetite for non-food items, which leads them to chew and attempt to eat all sorts of things.
How Autism Chew Toys Can Help Prevent Your Child from Biting You
Regardless of the reason behind the biting, with an autism chew toy, you have the chance to help protect yourself. When the child starts biting, they’re trying to satisfy what could be a subconscious desire to feel a specific sensation in their mouth and not necessarily trying to harm you or anyone else.
The best way to prevent injury is to satisfy this sensation with a safe, soft, autism chew toy. Here are some of the kinds of autism chew toys available on the market today:
- Chew necklace
- Chew tool
- Chewy tubes
- Chewy toys
You can find autism chew toys in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Parents may want to check with their child before committing to one to make sure that:
- The texture is pleasing to them.
- The color is appealing to them.
- The toy doesn’t make any unpleasant noises when chewed or rubbed up against other surfaces.
How to Use an Autism Chew Toy
If you haven’t used an autism chew toy before, know that they may take some getting used to. The most crucial step is to prepare ahead of time. Keep it close at hand for whenever your child may need oral sensory input. Typically your child will show signs indicating that they need oral stimulation.
Look For The Signs
Some of the signs parents want to look out for when oral stimulation is needed include:
- Putting their fingers in their mouth
- Looking around for something to bite
Sensory seekers need to satisfy their urge as soon as possible, so after noticing one of the signs, you want to calmly get the autism chew toy into your child’s mouth.
Things to Avoid
Although biting is a bad habit and needs correction, remember that it’s not always something they can control. For this reason, try to avoid the following:
- Screaming at your child
- Slapping or striking your child in any way, even lightly
- Forcing the toy into your child’s mouth through clenched teeth
- Scolding your child as you would if they had misbehaved
Keeping these things in mind will help prevent your child from forming negative associations with any autism sensory chewing toys you provide.
Other Useful Tips When Using Autism Chew Toys
Getting the chew toy to your child as soon as possible is vital, so keep it close by. It may be advisable to get several sensory autism chew toys, so you don’t have to search the house for one if the need arises. To help you use these chew toys more effectively, strategically place them in convenient areas, such as:
- Around your child’s neck
- In a pocketbook, backpack, or traveling bag
- In a cupboard in the kitchen
- In the bathroom
- In your child’s bedroom
- In a play area
The Top 3 Chew Toys For Autism
The best chew toys are soft and with bumps or ridges that your child can use to help ease specific areas of sensitivity. Here are the top three autism chew toys that are sure to reduce your child’s biting habit.
Shark Tooth Chew Necklace
The closest location for your child’s chew toy is right around their neck. A chew necklace is convenient because it can be both a chew toy and an accessory your child can play with whenever they want. Especially for boys, this 100% food-grade silicone shark tooth is always a cool, attractive, and safe accessory for children over 3.
Sensory University Red Chewy Stixx Oral Tubes Tough Bar
Chew Stixx Tough Bars is a solid, chunky bar perfect for extreme biting. This chew stick is also made with different textures, so it’s an excellent option for children craving sensory input or the input received from destructive oral motor grinding.
Panny & Mody Sensory Chew Necklace Pendant Chewable Jewelry
For mild to moderate chewers, this sensory chew necklace pendant set is made of 100% food-grade silicone with no BPAs, PVCs, phthalates, lead cadmium, or heavy metal. It’s made with large, prominent bumps in the front and tiny raised bumps on the back to address different sensory needs.
Autism Chew Toys Are Part of Your Child’s Normal Life
Every child is different, but autism chew toys can help ease your child’s urge to bite while simultaneously protecting them and others. Redirecting their need to satisfy their desire to feel a specific sensation in their mouth towards a safe option will be very beneficial. Take the time to observe your child and adapt how you use your autism chew toys as they grow.
Biting is just one of the many habits that children, even those without autism, can develop from an early age. Normal Life, Inc. was established to give you a community to help families affected by autism and other intellectual disabilities. Our goal is to help every family with autism that we reach by providing much-needed resources.
Contact us if you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts; we would love to hear from you. You can also take a look through our YouTube channel as well as our Facebook group #autismarmy.