If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know my son, Sam has Autism. One of his main ways to cope with whats happening around him is to chew. A few years ago, he’d chew toys, clothes and people (seriously). Then we were introduced to Chewigem and almost overnight, Sam switched from a very frustrated child to a calmer, happier one because he finally had something he was allowed to bite when he needed to.
We’ve been Chewigem ambassadors for a while now, and I wanted to share some of the items they’ve sent us recently, and our thoughts on them. I also want to showcase a few items which I think will be brilliant for chewers in a mainstream school setting….
The first item Sam received was a Toggle Board. This has a durability rating of 1/3, meaning it’s best suited for gentle chewers. It scored 3/3 in flexibility and 2/3 in firmness. The Toggle Board comes on a tag so you can attach it to zips, button holes or pencil cases, which makes it good for those who can’t tolerate wearing something round their neck. Sam really didn’t like it on the tag, but once I put it onto a neck cord, he took to it immediately. (As you can see below).
Unfortunately, Sam is a heavy chewer and it only took him 2 days to rip the thin piece of rubber on the back which the cord threads through. As soon as it couldn’t be worn round his neck, Sam discarded it. With this in mind, I’d say make sure you only buy these if the recipient isn’t likely to pull on it or chew through the thin part on the back.
The next item Sam received was the Chewimoji. This is a ring with 4x double sided chews attached. Each side has an image of an emotion on it, to help the owner communicate how they feel. Sam is non verbal, and he can’t really let us know how he’s feeling, so I was hoping he’d begin to use this over time.
As you can see, the images are clear and each chew can be moved and rotated around the ring, as well as being chewed. Sam loves to fiddle with this, but as of yet he hasn’t used it to show us how he’s feeling. He’s only just beginning to learn PECS, so hopefully once he’s more familiar with the symbols and their meaning, he will use them as intended. For now, they are still a great chew and the 2/3 rating in durability, flexibility and firmness seems spot on to me.
The most recent item Sam received was the new Hand Fidgets, which Chewigem sent him for Christmas (along with this lovely mug for me)! The Hand Fidgets are designed to be a pocket sized sim toy. They are oval shaped, which means it fits comfortably into the palm of your hand. The ring is smooth and matt finished,.In the middle is a bumpy ball, which can be twiddled with and spun around the central bar. It provides two different textures for sensory feedback, as well as being suitable for squeezing.
It can be attached to a cord and worn around the neck or to a tag to help prevent it getting lost. Sam loves to spin this when he’s sat at the table eating. It seems to help him to stay sat down while he’s chewing. It has a 2/3 rating for durability, flexibility and firmness, which makes it ideal for a moderate chewer. We’ve had ours for 3 weeks and it still looks brand new.
If I had to choose, I’d say Sam’s personal favourite out of these 3 is the Hand Fidget.
In the run up to Christmas, one of my friends asked me for some ideas for her son who was struggling to focus in school. He has Asperger’s and in the end she got him a pack of 2 Chewigem Pencil Covers, which allowed him to chew on something without drawing attention to himself in class.
The pack contains 1 x blue open pencil topper, which can be pulled the full length of the pencil, and pulled up as it grows. It can also double up as a straw. You also get 1 x red pencil topper with one end closed. It is full pencil length, and has sensory nubs on the end. Both are lightweight, making them not too heavy on the pencil, and very tight fitting. It takes some effort to get them onto the pencil (which must be standard size) but once on there, they are great to chew on / mess with according to my friend’s son.
While writing this post, I noticed the new Chewable Pencil Case Set. This is definitely not suitable for my Sam, as he’s a heavy chewer so it wouldn’t last long. I will definitely be sending the link to my friend, though!
This is what Chewigem say about it…..
We understand how important it is for our children to fit in and that wearable items are not for everything, so we had this genius idea and worked with our local branch of the National Autistic society to develop our idea into reality. We met with the parents of our local branch several times and worked on prototypes and tweaks until we created this fabulous stationary set. This is perfect for the school or even work setting.
Our mission on creating this was to make it as real looking as possible, so it can be sat on a desk and no one would bat an eyelid! At the same time shape, strength and texture were considered to ensure a good chewing experience.
Included in this set is the pencil case itself, which makes an awesome fidget in its own right.. the bumps on it work like bubble wrap and can be pressed in and out.
A clear ruler with measurements
A matching protractor.
A chunky eraser (note it dos not actually rub anything out)
A black calculator
As we developed this while working with the NAS we are donating 10% off all profits from the sale of these items back to them!
IMPORTANT – the ruler and protractor are not real but have accuracy to about 5% – The calculator is not a functioning calculator.The Pencil case itself although non toxic is NOT designed for chewing, it is thin and would not last, but does make a good fidget with the bubbles on it.
So there you have it – my own opinion on a few of the latest Chewigem products, as well as a couple of ideas for helping young people to succeed in the classroom.
Which of the items do you think would benefit someone in your life?