Among school-aged children with learning and behavioral problems, a therapeutic tool found to be helpful is a “chewy.” A chewy is a cylindrical piece of rubber tubing, the ends of which are placed in the mouth and are chewed or sucked on. This behavior appears to have a calming, organizing, and focusing effect on the child. In addition, for some children who put nonedible items in their mouths, a chewy can provide an appropriate sensory substitute or alternative.
A literature review supporting the benefits of oral motor input is discussed. Three case studies of children using a chewy are presented. A discussion follows regarding the therapeutic benefits of the use of a chewy and the consideration of it as part of a child’s sensory diet. Important guidelines regarding the appearance, taste, length, durability, and sanitation of the chewy are reviewed.