Why do we chew? Well, for a variety of reasons…

ninja_babies-star-icon One explanation for the question “why do we chew?” is “stims” or “stimming” which is short for self-stimulatory behaviours . These are behaviours most people exhibit. We might twirl our hair, jiggle your leg or tap a pencil while working on a difficult problem or task – that’s stimming. Chewing or mouthing objects are also examples of stimming. The difference between acceptable stims and those we consider inappropriate is in the type and intense repetition of the stims.

ninja_babies-star-icon Commonly, people living with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD) engage in chewing or stimming for a variety of reasons.

ninja_babies-star-icon One explanation is quite simply that it feels good. Chewing releases opiate-like substances in the brain called beta-endorphins, which can produce either a euphoric or anaesthetic effect.

ninja_babies-star-iconOthers believe that stimming could be due to the mechanism that it provides. It provides an extra dose of internal stimulation for people with ASD who feel under-stimulated or a feeling of tranquility for those who feel overstimulated or alleviate the high levels of internal anxiety.

ninja_babies-star-icon Stimming isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as it doesn’t hurt you or your child while doing it.