Like many kiddos with SPD (sensory processing disorder), Jenna often has a need for oral input that manifests itself in chewing or biting. She’ll seek out toys or other objects to put in her mouth, but most frequently, she chews her fingers. Our largest concern with this is that she’s transferring the germs from whatever she touched directly into her mouth and body, and we’re doing everything we can to protect her fragile immune system. We started keeping teething items of different shapes and textures in the freezer, but found we were frequently prompting her to remove her fingers from her mouth to go get a “chewie” from the freezer. Her fingers were just always more immediately available. Then, I saw an ad for this product at the website Shop Sensory (which I love!). A chewable necklace that looks “fashionable” (OK – by kiddo standards) AND is readily available for sensory seeking chewing. Brilliant! BUT. Then, I noticed the price and the fact that the company is Canadian, which equates to a hefty charge for shipping. Ugh. I stored the information away, bookmarked the site, and frequently considered a purchase.
Time passed, and I noticed the chewies we were storing in the freezer were getting worn and ragged looking. I again considered a purchase of the Kid Companion. Soon after that, I happened to be at Target, and I noticed teethers on sale for a very reasonable price for a package of three different shapes. I picked up a package and brought them home. Then, something clicked. Why not make my own necklace chewie? Here’s what I came up with:
It’s a pink, star-shaped teether on a sturdy turquoise shoestring. Voila! Jenna LOVED it the moment I showed it to her and wears it all the time. I don’t think it’s as “fashionable” as the Kid Companion – in fact, I think it looks pretty obviously like a teether on a shoestring – BUT, she’s worn it out a couple times already, and she’s gotten compliments from people that they “love her necklace” which just makes her glow. And just check out the wonderful bumpy texture on the chewie:
Jenna says: Sometimes I like the bumps, and sometimes I like the stripes!
The other thing that I don’t like as well is a somewhat bigger deal. The Kid Companion comes with a breakaway safety lanyard, so that if the string circling the neck gets caught on anything, it releases instead of choking the child. I’m currently on the lookout for a similar lanyard to purchase for Jenna’s chewie. I haven’t found any with a breakaway feature yet. Most require manual clipping (like a five-point harness on a carseat). I don’t fret too much about it at this point, because I’m always with her when she’s wearing it. The main level of our home where we spend most of our days is a completely open floor plan, so even if I’m working in the kitchen or at my desk, I can easily see her. I would NOT let her play outside with this on (and quite frankly, she rarely seeks oral input when she’s engaged in outdoor, gross motor play), and I wouldn’t send her to school or another child’s house with this. I’m still considering the Kid Companion for times like those, but would also feel a lot more confident if I could find a similar breakaway lanyard. I noticed that you can simply purchase replacement lanyards from the website, and that might be what I end up doing.
This little invention solved our immediate problem very cost effectively, but I have to say that I think the Kid Companion is a fantastic idea, especially for older kids who might be more put off by the “babyish-ness” of a teether on a cord.
Update: I was just cruising the Kid Companion online store and saw a notice that they reduced their shipping rates! Hooray! Sorry! I should have checked before I posted.