Students with special needs may turn to chewing on their clothing, hands, or items in the classroom if they are not engaged, trying to accomplish a difficult task, or experiencing sensory issues. In today’s Watson Institute Teacher Tips, we discuss using replacement tools to address chewing in your students with special needs.
- Consider the use of chewy Thera-tubing, mints/gum/or chewy candies, or chewy jewelry that the student can keep in their desk or in a location that is readily available to the student with special needs.
- Determine when the chewing happens: if this behavior presents itself during difficult work, chunk it into smaller sections so it does not seem so overwhelming and eases the stress that may trigger the chewing behavior.
- Review your student’s schedule to see if there is any wait time or down time between activities that may trigger chewing. Provide your student with activities to keep them engaged during these periods of time such as computer time, reading time, or drawing.
Utilizing the above strategies can help you replace the chewing behavior with more acceptable alternatives.
For more special education resources, visit Watson Life Resources and watch our YouTube video below for ideas about replacement behaviors for students with special needs who turn to chewing.