Oral Motor Sensory Input

Newsletter January 2013

Did you know?

We all use oral motor input as a tool to help regulate ourselves, and very often unconsciously. We may chew a pen, bite our nails, yawn, smoke, bite our lips or tongue, put our hands to our mouths.

Oral motor input may help us to become more alert, or it may be used to help calm us. We may use oral motor input when we are really trying to focus and concentrate.

Watch Alex Ferguson chewing gum when Manchester United are playing.

A research study conducted in 2009 showed that when participants used chewing gum in a controlled setting, they showed significantly better alertness and reduced state anxiety, and stress levels.

More research has been conducted in this area, and there is a growing body of research showing that chewing gum is able to increase alertness in particular.


MP900284948_optJames is constantly chewing or biting on something, especially when he is anxious. He may bite his nails or hands. He chews the corner of his school shirt. He uses the oral motor input to try and regulate himself and lower his anxiety levels.

James now has a chewy tube which he can chew on at home and school. He alsouses oral motor activities during the day to help him keep regulated and lower his anxiety levels.

Chewy devices/equipment

ChewyTubesThere are a variety of different chewing devices/equipment that can be purchased. Here is some more information about some options.

For children who are very strong chewers/biters, I find that ‘Chewy Tubes’ offer the most resistance. I normally purchase them from Kapitex, and they are also available from many of the special needs catalogues.


Here is a video clip about ‘Chewy Tubes’

There is a variety of companies selling chewy jewellery.

5407840I have recently discovered ‘CHEWIGEM’.They have a range of chewy jewellery. Several clients have tested the pendants and bracelets.

‘Harry has a number of chewy devices from different sources. The chewy gem necklace seems to be the most practical one out of the lot as he wears it like a necklace and its accessible when he needs it. It helps him to stop biting on his clothing, hands etc. It also looks more like a boy type accessory, a lot of the others look more girlie. The only negative is that they are quite soft and disintegrate relatively quickly. Can you tell me where I can buy another please?’ Harry’s mother (Dog Tag Pendant)

‘Great product, doesn’t get lost as the student can wear round their neck and is therefore accessible all the time’ Teacher in special school (Raindrop Pendant)


One of the main difficulties with Lanyardchewing devices, especially within schools, is that they easily get lost/misplaced.

Sensory Direct sell a safety lanyardwhich can be fixed to their Chewbuddy.

Where can I get more information?


Introduction to Sensory Integration and Sensory Processing Disorder

Wednesday 20 March 2013

The aim of this one day course is to provide teachers and health professionals with an understanding of sensory processing disorder and the everyday difficulties the children experience at school and at home. Practical support strategies will be explored from both an educational and therapy perspective.


justThis book is an excellent resource for helping children with eating challenges. It provides a practical guide to understanding the many issues that can affect children who struggle with limited food choices. There are activities and intervention strategies.

Just Take A Bite (2004) Lori Ernsperger and Tania Stegen-Hanson