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My 8 year-old has started mouthing everything again. This behavior had all but vanished until about six months ago when it mysteriously reasserted itself. If it’s not nailed down, it’ll eventually end up in his mouth. The “talking doctor” insists it’s an involuntary motor tic and that there’s nothing to be done. Dr. Goofy, my pediatrician hubbie, assures me that he’s never seen a groom walking down the aisle at his wedding chewing on his tuxedo shirt. (And to think, people actually pay him for his opinion on child rearing.)

I’ve tried everything over the years. We’ve done PT and OT and even “chew therapy.” I really did pay someone to come to my house and chew with him because her diagnosis was that he actually needed to chew more in order to stop chewing. (It didn’t make sense to me then, and still doesn’t now.)

So when the chewing inexplicably disappeared a while back, I was elated. I actually thought this was behind us. But of course, just as I’m lulled into a false sense of security, the chewing comes back with a vengeance.

I suggested gum. It gives him a headache. Different OT sites offer various chew toys he could keep in his pocket. Too babyish. I even thought about chewelry, the plastic sensory bracelets and necklaces that come in bright neon colors. He said (and this is utterly ironic) that he wouldn’t be caught dead in that stuff. Too embarrassing. In the meantime, he’s completely outcast from his peers (and some of his teachers). I’m not sure the computer teacher has forgiven him for inadvertently chewing off the ends of two expensive microphones that hook up to individual computers.

Finally, I found these totally cool necklaces at They come in awesome colors and are actually designed for adults as teething rings for babies. You know how babies like to play with jewelry. Well, this is baby-appropriate teething jewelry. I showed it to my son and he out and out refused to even try it on. (When I showed it to his dad, he concurred with my son and said it would be worse to be wearing a necklace than slobbering over pencils and pens and other school supplies.)

What can I do? I cannot be the only mother who’s had to deal with this. Please tell me something that might work! I’m desperate.bluecamodonut

About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Oklahoma City with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

13 responses to “Chewelry

  1. Julie Huey ⋅

    Our physical therapist recommends beef jerkey and dried up licorice…as well as add a large rubberband to the front legs of their chair so they can get more sensory input on top of the chewing.


  2. Carrie

    Fortunately, mom son loves the chewlry, but I did find something that your son find might find discreet enough. They are called: ChewEase Pencil Topper and one place I found them is:
    Hope this helps,


  3. Pierrette

    Kid Companion Chewelry 🙂 Black on Black and white, for boys! BPA, lead, latex free with heavier cotton/rayon breakaway lanyard.

    This was designed with my TS, OCD child in mind.


  4. Rambiii ⋅

    I tried to follow the link the chewy pencil toppers and I didn’t see them. I found them on Amazon and at National Autism Resources. I ordered them from National Autism Resources because I’m going to try the extra thick version since my son is chewing holes through his shirts.

    Did your son start wearing the teething bling? Is he still chewing?


  5. Mariam S. ⋅

    I had a son that was chewing holes in his t-shirts! Got the pencil toppers and he loved them. But I think what really made the difference was that he got a new teacher – I think he was under too much stress from this particular guy and a little change had a great effect on his chewing!


  6. Kristen K ⋅

    This is going down a different road a little bit, but if he’s shown any interest in music, he’s old enough to for music lessons… in a very oral-based discipline. Brass, in particular, comes to mind (sounds like he would ruin reeds, so maybe woodwind is out…). Maybe this would give him just what he’s craving orally, while letting him do something developmentally appropriate and that builds lots of other skills. Watch some college football with him, and see if his eyes light up at half time. Or maybe if he’s a hip-hop fan, ask him to prepare a beat-boxing concert?


  7. Stacy ⋅

    I am so glad I found this blog! My son has chewed up several shirts and has started to bite himself. People think it is just a chewing thing as you discussed. Thank you for your resourcefulness!


  8. Anna ⋅

    There are clear chews that go on pencil tops.


  9. Melanie ⋅

    And I thought my son was the only one chewing holes in his shirts!


  10. C Wells ⋅

    My grand daughter just came home from school ,in grade 1 and she is special needs..when I opened her lunch box,,I see what I thought was a dog toy..I called her teacher right away to discuss my find,,and’s a chewy for kids..I had no idea that she had the need to chew so much but the teacher says it calms her down and works very well and there are a few of the kids in class that use these and she is in a normal grade 1 class but has an aide with her…so I guess it is very normal to children in general…and Yup…Grama is out to buy a few tomorrow…to have at home…


  11. Kristi Goble ⋅

    You are so not alone! My son, who is now 10, has been chewing/sucking holes in his clothes for a few years now. I tried everything you could think of to no avail. This morning he gets up and has sucked HICKIES on his upper arms. I’m like what the heck?! So I’ve been researching and ended up here. I also haven’t been able to find something normal for an older boy. There’s one necklace that is black/white that looked ok but then I noticed it had a heart on it. Why? I have no idea. I’m going to look into the pencil toppers for school and maybe some chewelry for home. Good luck to you and your son.


  12. Brooke ⋅

    Aqaurium tubing on the end of a pencil or chewy snacks. Also, check his stress level. It’s often a stress response.


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