Disclosure: I received the products mentioned to facilitate my Ark Therapeutic review. Regardless, I only recommend products I feel would be good for my readers. All opinions are my own and those of my family.
Having three children with special needs, I appreciate quality therapy tools. Our oldest son is on the Autism Spectrum, and our younger two children have Sensory Processing Disorder like myself. What I appreciated about Ark Therapeutic after learning more about them is not only that they offer a variety of of quality therapy tools, but they also offer helpful articles and support as well. I could tell they have a passion for helping others. They have a great blog with a variety of articles that address a number of topics.
For my review, I received a variety of therapy tools to use with the kids as well as a catalog with detailed information.
I want to highlight each tool we received and share how we used them with our children.
ARK’s Grabber, which our kids’ refer to as the “P,” is a sensory chew toy. It is squishy for chewing yet sturdy and thick, and it can be held onto it easily thanks to the shape. It has a smooth texture and is manufactured here in the USA with safe, FDA compliant materials. If you have children with oral sensory needs, you know they put anything and everything in their mouth, so having a safe alternative is necessary!
ARK’s Grabber can be used for multiple purposes including: a safe chewing alternative, an oral fidget, to help decrease oral defensiveness and food aversions, to practice biting/chewing skills without a choking risk, and satisfy an urge to chew for individuals who are fed through a g-tube. In our household it serves the purpose as a safe chewing alternative, oral fidget, and practicing biting/chewing skills with our youngest son. The Grabber is easy to wash and disinfect, but with any oral therapy products, you don’t want to share with other individuals – even siblings.
When our little guy starts chewing on something else I simply intervene and hand him the Grabber instead. I encourage him to use it for exploration to the back of his teeth and mouth as well. Because it has the nice handle to grip, he can do so easily and work with the Grabber himself. This gives him a feeling of accomplishment, too.
ARK’s Y-Chew, which our kids’ refer to as the “Y” (I’m sure that was obvious!), is another chewy tool with a different shape and texture, which offers different uses. It is also made of safe material that is flexible but sturdy. It has a variety of bumps, ridges, and striations, which adds another level of sensory input. It can be used for the same purposes as ARK’s Grabber.
We use ARK’s Y-Chew with our oldest son who is always putting things in his mouth – particularly his shirts. He has stretched out the necks of so many of his shirts due to this. The Y-Chew is a great, safe alternative that also offers that input he craves as well. The different textures also encourage him to use his tongue. He has articulation challenges due to the fact that he has a hard time focusing on using his tongue properly, and the Y-Chew really helps him to focus on it.
Something I didn’t expect but that has really come in handy is he uses it as a fidget in his hand as well. Because of the flexibility, it makes a nice fidget for him when he is trying to concentrate on reading or other times in our homeschooling day where he’s not holding a pencil. Reading is a particular challenge for him, and he has an absolute need to be doing something with his hands in order to work through it. This has led to tearing pages, ruining the binding, and worse, hitting himself. Since giving him the Y-Chew during reading time he now squeezes it, bends the ends, etc. when he’s really trying to concentrate, which is a much better alternative!
We received the Plastic Z-Vibe with an extra battery, unscented Bite-n-Chew Tips, and Pencil Tip. I was really excited about this because there are just so many possibilities! The plastic Z-Vibe has gentle ridges on the handle and vibration is activated by slightly turning the end and turned off again by turning it back.
We used the included Probe Tip with our youngest son for further therapy for the same reasons we use the Grabber – particularly oral motor exercises. The Z-Vibe offers a completely different level of stimulation with the vibration and the textures on the Probe Tip. He is resistant to teeth brushing and certain textures in his mouth, so the Z-Vibe with the Probe Tip is perfect for this. I use it all around his mouth and started with the smoother side and have built up to the textured sides.
I have also found the Probe Tip is also good for the sides of his face, arms and hands. He is resistant to things like doctor’s visits because he doesn’t like others to touch him – particularly his face, arms and hands. So I have been using it on these areas as well for sensory input.
The Bite-n-Chew Tips came in a pack of three which means one for each of our kids! I make sure after cleaning it to put it away in their special drawer so we don’t get them mixed up. It is pretty firm but slightly squishy for chewing. Turning on the vibration during use adds that extra oral input. Because it is round, I found the Probe Tip was best for reaching the back of the mouth for our little guy, but these tips are great for general oral stimulation and biting and chewing skills.
I was really excited about the Pencil Tip as all three children have fine motor delays. When you add the Pencil Tip to the Z-Vibe it creates a vibrating pencil to help with writing and fine motor skills. Our oldest two children have been using it while writing since our youngest isn’t writing yet! I’ve noticed they focus more on writing while using it, and turning on the vibration offers relief for their tired hands. Both of their hands tire quickly, so this is welcome relief!
I mentioned above our oldest son uses the Y-Chew for a fidget when he’s not writing, but I was excited to discover I could change out the Switch Tip on the Z-Vibe for one of the Bite-n-Chew Tips. This also means when he is stressed out during writing, he also has something he can safely stick in his mouth and not even have to put down the pencil! No more chewed up erasers!
I am so excited to be connected to ARK Therapeutic. I love reading all the great tips on their blog and love their passion for helping others. I feel like I have learned so much more since connecting with them, and have seen many benefits because of it. I love that they offer such a variety of products! I know we’ve already added a few more products to our “going to order” list like the Lip Blok and Cup Sets for our youngest who often gags and chokes when using a straw! What product(s) catch your interest?