I’ve taken some time in allowing my kids to start chomping chewing gum as my pet peeve is seeing kids channel their inner Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and chew with their mouths wide open. It’s the worst! However, I have changed my tune now that they are older as I’ve learnt that gum can be used as an amazing sensory tool that can help them (and me!) during transition times and when they’re feeling anxious.

Two of my kids gnaw on their top sleeves and have ruined many good clothes with bite marks and gob. Enter, chewing gum to save the day! It’s honestly amazing how half a piece of gum can calm my kids right down when they’re triggered and beginning to spin out of control, plus it’s a much more suitable alternative to constant wet sleeves and stretched collars.

I’ve read up a bit about how gum can be used as a sensory tool to meet an oral sensory need and what I’ve found makes perfect sense – chewing is largely a coping mechanism as it’s a repetitive movement with moderate pressure that helps one organise and de-stress.

How To Use Gum as a Sensory Tool

  • Reduce Anxiety
  • Transition Times
  • Increase Focus
  • Reduce Fidgets
  • Reduce Chewing on Clothes, fingers, toys, etc
  • Reduce Biting

Where and When to Use Gum as a Sensory Tool

  • Home
  • Homework Time
  • Meeting New People
  • Exciting New Events
  • Transitions
  • Travel

Sensory Needs Addressed

  • Oral
  • Proprioception (body awareness)
  • Self-Regulation

The suggestion is “to find a sugar free, low flavour gum, so that the focus is on the sensory input, not on eating something yummy,” according to Project Sensory I’ve found that Orbit Gum is a good option for us and I love that they’ve committed to going greener by getting rid of their plastic blister packs, eliminating PVC from their packaging by 2020 and achieving 100 % recyclable packaging by 2025. These are big goals that take time to implement, but these small changes will make a world of difference.

To support these exciting changes and get South Africans involved in their journey towards sustainability, Orbit launched a Pledge to Plant campaign under the banner, where students at Wits will have the chance to pledge their support for the campaign – for every 10 fans who pledged their support for the campaign, Orbit will make a donation to Greenpop, a non-profit organisation that focuses on enviro-education and physical tree planting. They’ve also partnered with University of Johannesburg art students to create an art installation that will visually represent a portion of the amount of plastic and foil that Orbit will be removing from the environment. The sculpture will be designed in the shape of a tree and will live at The Marc in Sandton for two weeks between 31 July and 14 August 2019. If you’re in Joburg, go check it out.

The changes Orbit have made and are making addresses key areas of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals which focuses on three key areas — Healthy Planet, Thriving People and Nourishing Wellbeing,” concludes Sanderson. Let’s take Orbit’s lead and do #JustOneThing to make one change that is better for the planet – little changes can all add up to make a big difference.

*This post is sponsored by Orbit Gum.

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