Thank you once again to Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson for offering the amazing DVD classes and information offered through www.talktools.com I received information below through the Honey Bear literature that was obtained with the Honey Bear as seen above.
Teaching straw drinking is an important step in children with Down Syndrome. I start introducing the straw as young as four months old. Now I know that the little one is not going to have the skills to use proper lip rounding and lingual retraction to draw the liquid….however….I like to introduce early…while I am working on the pre-feeding exercises such as lip rounding using the Ice Stick (can be found at www.talktools.com).
This post is going to describe technique number one for straw drinking out of the Honey Bear. Please remember that this should be used in conjunction with the bottle or sippy cup….and that the Honey Bear can NOT be solely used until the child is able to receive adequate liquid nutrition through the Honey Bear. When she has mastered drinking from the Honey Bear…then the sippy cup or bottle can be eliminated.
Important factors when using the Honey Bear:
Child should be in a stable posture.
Chair should encourage a 90 degree angle in the child’s pelvis, knees, ankles and chin.
Child’s hand should be midline.
Highly flavored thickened liquids are easier to control and give additional sensory information for taste and texture.
Once the Honey Bear has been mastered you can move on to the straw kit…following the hierarchy….I have only posted about one straw so far..there are eight in the kit….these straws can be found at www.talktools.com
The information below was taken from the Talk Tools instruction kit. Please go to their website for additional information:
Technique Number One:
Fill the Honey Bear with a favorite, highly flavored, slightly thickened liquid. Leave 1/2 inch of the straw exposed. Support the child’s jaw. Place the tip of the straw midline on the surface of the lower lip. Assist with lip rounding as needed. Squeeze a small amount of the liquid in the child’s mouth and remove the straw. Support the jaw and wait for the swallow. Assist with lip closure if needed.
Repeat this three times at the start of each liquid feed…then allow the child to drink the liquid how she typically does…from the bottle or sippy cup. Practice one to three times a day. As skills improve reduce the amount of assistance given to squeezing the liquid, and in the jaw and lips. Increase the repetitions at the start of each liquid feed as the child can tolerate.
Once the child is able to draw four ounces of liquid independently through the Honey Bear, use the Talk Tools Straw Drinking Hierarchy and follow the directions.
If your child has signficant tongue protrusion and cannot draw the liquid using the 1/2 inch straw length…use Honey Bear Technique number 2 ( I will post about this technique)
If your child is resistant or unable to drink using a 90 degree angle…and is relying on backward head tilt…use technique number three (I will post about this as well).
Hope this was helpful!