The Top 3 Reasons (besides Fashion) to buy a Silicone Necklace : Using Chew Therapy for Autism, ADHD and Anxiety Disorders.
Perhaps the most obvious reason to buy chewable accessories is for the teething crowd, but there’s more to "feasible fashion" than this. There are numerous medical reasons to consider purchasing chewable jewelry, including making it available to those with autism, ADHD and anxiety disorders.
1. Fidgeting - It’s all about Proprioceptive Sense.
What is this? Part of the broader, “sense of touch,” It boils down to body awareness and involves joints and ligaments. It’s part of what allows you to smoothly navigate a dark hallway in the middle of the night, or touch your nose when your eyes are closed.
Often associated with ADHD, simply put, not everybody is wired the same. There are many instances where the proprioceptive sense might be reduced. It’s this inability for the body to unconsciously signal to itself where certain body parts are that can lead to a drive to fidget. When the body doesn’t understand why it can’t identify something, one way the mind compensates is through unaware movement such as shaking a leg, tapping a foot, or chewing.
Oddly enough, these “fidgeting” movements can signal the body to ignore distracting signals and allows the person to focus. In other words, sometimes chewing enables a person to pay better attention to what’s going on around them.
2. Stress and Anxiety Chewing is a natural stress reliever.
Numerous studies have shown that chewing naturally reduces the stress hormone cortisol. Stress relief then leads to better alertness and a general reduction in anxiety.
Stress and anxiety are often expressed through “nervous habits” such as chewing hair, clothing, gum or nails. Chewing on jewelry has benefits in that it's highly portable, you can accessorize with it, it’s durable, and unlike chewing gum, there’s no mess left behind to get stuck in awkward places.
There are numerous reasons why a child with Autism might find comfort and relief in the process of chewing. It can be as simple as a way to channel stress and anxiety (a frequent issue with those on the spectrum), or it can be as complicated as dealing with issues such as pica.
Occupational therapist Moira Pena, of Toronto’s Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, makes a fantastic breakdown of all the ins and outs of chewing and autism here.
In Ms. Pena’s piece for Autism Speaks she extensively breaks down the extensive issue of chewing as it relates to Autism.
She also points out in the above article, “Sensory chewies are yet another option. Examples include chewy tubes, chew sticks and chewlery. Most of these tools are designed to be hard to swallow. Still, I recommend supervision when using them. Also, I recommend ordering them from manufacturers based in the U.S. or Canada, as some countries may use unsafe materials or unsanitary manufacturing methods.”
There are many reasons, both medical and functional, for someone to pick up something clean and sturdy to chew. The next time you find yourself with a need to nibble, chewable jewelry might be the perfect option for you.