Questions and Answers…

Hi Kim,

I recently joined the Adventures in Down syndrome Facebook group and I’ve been seeing your posts every once in a while.
Today, I decided to check out the Talk Tools website. I’m very interested!
Now, I’m sure I could probably find this info on the website somehow as well, but since you’ve been so helpful towards so many, I thought I’d ask you directly: Regarding feeding tools, what would you recommend we purchase for a 6 month-old who has never really had any feeding issues (unless you count desaturating while eating), who keeps her mouth closed fairly well but does like to stick her tongue out (but I think more because that’s her strongest ‘sense’ and she likes to ‘taste’ the air with her tongue?), and who we have just started on solids? I was unable to breastfeed (due to issues with my milk production, not her latch), and she has been bottle-fed with Dr. Brown bottles (the slimmer ones, she didn’t take to the wider nipples well in the beginning) and now we are using Dr. Brown and Tupperware spoons (but I’m not so happy with either). I’d also like to get my daughter drinking with a straw as soon as possible.
I realize she doesn’t have any great issues with her mouth yet, but she is having to learn four languages (we’re a Finnish-Danish couple living in Mexico and her education will be in English), which I think will be an advantage for her and will help her development, but I realize will also mean that we have to be very proactive with anything pertaining to speech and language. 
Please, don’t feel obligated to answer if this is something you’d normally get paid for (or send me a bill ;), but I’d really appreciate your input, since I haven’t been able to find a speech therapist yet here in Mx.
Thank you,
Hi Taina…I am so glad you were able to reach out to me…here are my thoughts…
since you say that she sticks her tongue out while eating….it would be beneficial if you purchase the maroon spoons offered through   and then use the side presentation while feeding her.  this is indicated on my blog under the down syndrome page…with pictures as well.  With this presentation she needs to use her upper lip in order to clear the spoon.  you should also be doing the upper lip mobility exerices…also found on the Down Syndrome page on my blog.  you will need to buy the toothettes…offered through talk tools….you need these in order to work on the upper lip mobility exercises. 
Regarding straw drinking…please buy the honey bear straw cup…also through talk tools.  on my blog i describe technique number one…which should be used if she does not have signficant tongue protrusion during feeding.  when you go to my blog…look to the right…and click on the honey bear link to learn how to teach her straw drinking.  You will also need the lip blocks for this (also on talk tools).  once she is able to drink with success out of the honey bear…you will need to buy the straw kit…through   there are 8 straws in the kit…and these straws will specifically work on lingual retraction.  we can talk more once she is ready for the straws.  And i forgot to state that she can not use the straw kit until she successfully drinks four ounces out of the honey bear on her own.
the supplies above are what you need to buy….also look at the teach me to talk link on my blog for information on how to elicit language.
have fun! and keep in touch
can i please post this question and answer on my blog and on FB…i can remove your name to remain anonymous
Hi Kim,
Thank you so much for this! Now I know exactly what to go for. Without your help, the selection is quite overwhelming!
I have been reading your blog also, but it’s really nice to know exactly what applies to our situation right at this moment and go straight for that information. Thank you!
Yes, of course you can post my question on your blog and on FB. The more people who can benefit from your help, the better!


About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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