He came home from school each day with holes in his shirt. He destroyed countless pencils, board game coins, and “reusable” plastic straws. But the worst: the perpetual trips to GameStop to replace the myriad styluses (stylii?) that were nibbled to mere nubs. Oh, I tried ultimatums, tried using economic substitutes, and even tried begging and whining
The truth is, he can’t help it. Children with autism have difficulty in regulating their sensory experiences. They can have hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to various sensations. Excessive chewing is an example of sensory hyposensitivity.
Through a social media connection, I found Chewelry by Kid Companions and was quite intrigued! Other chewing “redirect” attempts did not stick for us. In their own words, “Kid Companions is a chewable and wearable fidget that is safe, stylish and effective. It’s the perfect alternative to fidget toys and chewys.”
We ordered one for home and one for school, and I got amazing news the first day he tried it!
“Mom! I did all my morning work today! I could concentrate!”
Wow! Shirt without holes: check. Pencils intact: check. Stars achieved for completed morning work: check. Never before had a sensory item made such an impact upon its first use.
Unfortunately, Justin’s best friend also thought it was super cool. When I arrived at school the next day he was wearing it around HIS neck. Blech! Since Justin had two (yes, both previously used), he thought it was okay to share.
One social story and one cleaned and returned Chewelry piece later, we’re back in business. I no longer find pencils gnawed to the lead (attack of the killer beavers?) lying around his room, I don’t have to keep sewing shirts, and best of all, one pack of styluses has lasted over two months, saving me $29.98 so far! Yeah!