A Chewy Tube is a long, T-shaped tube that is used with autism patients and Jaw Rehabilitation programs. Chewy Tubes are a wonderful tool to assist in the development of biting and chewing skills in people with autism. They are made of an FDA approved thermo-elastic polymer material and are free of latex, PVC, lead, and phthalates.
The Chewy Tube is shaped like a T and made up of two parts. It has a long handle that is lined with ridges to help the patient grip the handle more easily. This is especially important for those patients who are not able to see well. The stem of the T is used for biting. The patient bites and chews on the stem of the Chewy Tube using either the molars or the gum ridge. Chewy Tubes are not meant to be bitten using the front teeth.
The different colors of Chewy Tubes are used with patients of different ages and sizes. The yellow Chewy Tube is the smallest sized one. It is meant to be used with smaller children, like infants or very young children. They may also be used with patients who are unable to open the jaw very wide because of clonus. These small tubes contain a stem with a diameter of three eighths of an inch.
The red tubes are a bit wider and can be used with both toddlers and older children. These tubes have a stem that is half of an inch wide in diameter. There are also Knobby Chewy Tubes. These tubes contain knobs up and down the stem which are used to provide patients with an additional oral sensory input.
Chewy Tubes are not just used with children. They are also often used with adults in nursing facilities in order to help preserve chewing and biting skills. They are used for treatment after an oral surgery to keep the jaw mobile in the TMJ. Chewy Tubes are also used with oral cancer after radiation treatments in order to stop the development of trismus, along with many other oral treatment uses.
Chewy Tubes will last for a very long time. Typically, they will be able to make it through thousands and thousands of uses. It is still important to thoroughly inspect the Chewy Tubes before every single use. If the Chewy Tube is showing signs of wear or is torn and bitten through, it is recommended that you replace it.