Does chewing on shirt sleeves/collars sound familiar? Chewing on legos or pencils? Nail biting? When this happens, one’s gut instinct might be to say “Don’t chew on that.”
And that’s true - we don’t want kids putting random objects in their mouths. BUT, chewing (when redirected to something safe to chew on) can actually be very beneficial.
When older kids chew, it's usually for a reason. Chewing can help calm and de-stress. It can help increase focus and attention. It can help regulate one’s sensory system. And so on. For more information on why some kids (and adults) need to chew, click here.
Because chewing serves a purpose and has many benefits, when we embrace the need to chew and encourage kids to meet that need safely, we often see happier, healthier kids better equipped to take on the world.
We asked our customers to share their personal experiences about how embracing chewing has changed things for them and their kids. Here’s what they said:
Accepting my five year old daughter's need for "a chew toy" has helped us make her feel safe to be confident in who she is. Giving her a chew toy eliminated her chewing on her nails, and other unsafe/inappropriate things. Surprisingly, it also awakened me to my own sensory needs that I was denying myself. Loving her as she is helped me learn to love myself. It's been wonderful! - Annalisa L.
My son and I shared quite a few tension filled moments before I discovered your chewable necklaces. He would run and hide so that he could chew on things without being forced to stop. I learned that chewing was necessary in one of the articles on your website and bought a necklace to see if it would help. Your necklaces have given him a safe way of chewing and have had the added bonus of helping him stay calm and focused. - Chanel P.
My son started school last year and was chewing holes in his clothing. I researched ways to help him be able to chew at school without ruining his clothes. He also had trouble sitting still and paying attention. After ordering his first necklace from Ark Therapeutic, his attention improved and he stopped having holes in his clothing. We have since ordered 3 more and he uses them not only for school, but also when we are in big crowds and he is feeling anxious. - Sarah F.
Before we knew my son had SPD, we were always getting on him for chewing on things and wondered why on earth everything went into his mouth. Now after his diagnosis we realize that this is HELPFUL for him and allow it in a safe way! It helps him focus, it helps him when he's feeling frustrated, overwhelmed or even just bored!! Now my youngest (who will be 2 next month) was just diagnosed TODAY with SPD and we are ready, willing, and educated and will be facilitating these needs more readily with him! - Emma U.
Oh boy, the amount of clothing these chews have saved us! My 11 year old son has autism, my 8 year old son has ADHD, and my 4 year daughter has an intellectual disability and possibly autism. All chew. My oldest boy would pull strings from his socks to chew on during school. Now he uses a necklace chew and it is so much better for him! He can focus better. My younger son would fidget and chew his nails but now uses a chew necklace too. My daughter would absentmindedly chew whatever was near her and she'd also bite her arm or siblings when angry or frustrated. We have redirected her to a chew necklace too. So thank you from our family for the products you provide. They help our kids so they can still chew, but not be singled out or destructive. - Heather S.
My daughter has a lot of social anxiety. (3 years old). When she's in large groups of people/ or even around other groups of kids we noticed that she started biting on her hands/clothing. We have purchased many chew tools from ARK and now they are a must-have item wherever we go! She now loves to bite her chewies when she's feeling the need, instead of her clothes/hands. They have been a lifesaver! And she loves all of her different chewies! - Sarah D.
Embracing my ASD son's need to chew has enabled him to be able to participate in class activities and reduce the amount of meltdowns we have. He is able to focus more and be less disruptive. As a result he is gaining more independent words and a love of learning. Last night, he came to me and said couch, and asked to do worksheets on the couch with me. This has never happened before (!!) and wouldn't be possible had we not embraced the need for chewing as an outlet for him. - Jennifer D.
My son has the dino chew and it has drastically changed his anxiety level. It also allows us to know what causes him stress. We can tell what school subjects are more stressful because he goes to get his necklace. He can calm his anxiety on his own without meltdowns with chewing. - Barbianne R.
I used to get onto my eight-year-old son about putting his toys in his mouth. Every time I turned around he would have something small in his mouth chewing on it. One day I asked him why he did it, he told me that it helped him to concentrate. When I saw your advertisement on Facebook, I ordered a necklace for him right away. Since that time, he uses his chewelry instead of chewing on toys, and he can take it with him to school and chew on it in class. - Amanda G.
Chewing helps both of my sensory kids! We've seen a reduction in pica issues, anxiety, hyperactivity, and less biting other kids once we embraced chewing. - Kellista R.
When our son is experiencing anxiety about an upcoming event, his perception about his normal everyday stuff gets off-track. His world seems to get fuzzier for him. So we pull out his bite saber chewelry and have it available for him to use in school, in church, in the car, at home. Chewing seems to ground him, which allows him to focus more on the now and not the what-is-to-come. - Jamesie C.
My son has sensory processing disorder and a severe anxiety on top of other diagnoses. When he gets nervous he will stick ANYTHING in his mouth and chew it to pieces. He would chew pencils, pens, shirt collar.. and the worst is he would chew his own fingers if he couldn't find something else to fill the compulsion. After realizing that his need to chew wasn't a battle we could fight, I researched other options that were safer. I came across ARK brick sticks and it was perfect. It's small enough he can wear it to school without other kids seeing it. The chewing allows him to remain in control and overall he's happier and concentrating better. And I don't have to buy extra pencils. - Jordana R.
For the longest time I always would tell my daughter to stop. She chews on her hair.. She's ruined many many clothes. Something is always in her mouth. I've learned it is her way to cope. She's not doing it to be defiant and 99% of the time she isn't even aware she is doing it. - Casey M.
By giving an acceptable alternative to my son's need to have something in his mouth is a huge relief. It saves his clothes, his fingers, and more. But mostly I find others more accepting of chew jewelry as well which helps them to accept my son. Always a good thing. - Sharon R.
Once I got over the chewed shirts, shoe laces, hoodie strings, et. al. I realized he needs chewables to feel less anxiety. I stopped sweating the stuff and focused on his feelings. He's so much more calm with a chew. I'm so much more calm with him. - Marisa R.
My daughter has a need to chew and mouth things. It's part of her stimming and part of how she processes the world and her emotions. Having safe and more appropriate alternatives for chewing helps her to feel safe and happy. Also, it helps if they are cute and stylish. She likes to chew in style :). - Jessica R.H.