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In this episode of the podcast, it was a pleasure to speak with Jenny McLaughlan, the founder of Chewigem.

As well as being a support community for different sensory needs, Chewigem have designed and created a range of chewing, fidget and sensory aids for children and adults.

Sensory needs

Our brain processes the sensory information around us; what we see, hear, smell, taste and touch, as well as how it makes us feel; temperature, balance and pain. 

Some people, including many autistic individuals, may experience extremely heightened senses where sensory input is exceptionally amplified, or on the other hand, barely registered. 

This differs from person to person and presents differently in each individual.

Sensory seeking

For individuals with under sensitive senses, they may seek out different sensations in order to get the sensory feedback.

Examples of sensory seeking behaviours include chewing or repeatedly seeking out sensations such as smells or touch through hugs, tight clothing or feeling specific textures.

Chewigem

In the podcast episode, Jenny tells us the story behind Chewigem. How it started as a baby chew and expanded to support people of all ages.

‘Chewies’, ‘chew toys’ or sensory supports can help those to receive sensory input, in a safe way. For example, I have taught children who will chew on their clothes, toys or anything around them.

Jenny explains how Chewigem is supporting the community by providing supports that have been purposely made for the function of giving sensory feedback, such as wearable chewing resources such as these:

Chewigem also provides support to help those needing advice on how to find the right supports for individual sensory needs on their website and Facebook group.

Jenny describes how a lot of people find Chewigem by searching ‘how to stop chewing’. When people learn that chewing has a sensory function and begin to accept chewing, there are different types of chew supports available that can help.

When chewing is managed in a safe and controlled manner, this can support someone to focus and be better regulated. This can therefore have a positive impact on learning, confidence and wellbeing. Jenny tells us some very positive success stories!

Chewigem are supporting the community to embrace their needs, not feel bad about it and instead, feel confident in talking about it.

Video with my three favourite Chewigem chew supports coming soon.


Steph Reed

Hi I’m Steph Reed, an Autism Specialist Teacher and Consultant. Following 10 years of teaching many incredible autistic young people with complex needs, I developed and led a School Autism Outreach Service, and have also been part of a senior leadership team as SENCo and Inclusion Leader. I now provide outreach, training and consultancy with practical support to schools, services and families using personalised, child-centered and evidence-based approaches. I also have personal experience of learning ‘differently’ and with success! I am here to support you in feeling confident and skilled in meeting diverse needs and ensuring children are reaching their potential.

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