Chewing provides a huge amount of stress relief for a lot of autistic people, adults as well as children.

Chewing is a self-stimulatory behaviour – a stim is a friendlier way of saying it. Chewing should not be discouraged, as long as it is safe. Think about it, millions of people chew gum – why? It can’t be because they’re hungry, it surely isn’t because it looks attractive?! Remember people chewing their hair at school, or even as adults? It’s a stress reliever for a lot of people, neurotypical and neurodivergent. Nicotine gum is a thing for a good reason – it helps stressed ex-smokers cope! Dogs get stress relief from chewing too. It’s a positive thing and much healthier than going into a meltdown in the absence of a stress reliever.

If chewing is your stim, please see the glossary entry on chewelry too!