Below is a simple strategy that you can use in order to decrease suckling in older children with Down Syndrome….especially if she has teeth…and you can no longer use your finger or the Infra-Dent in order to stimulate the back molar ridge. So if you child is not yet chewing food….and you need to address chewing skills (of course follow the chewing hierarchy)…but also try this strategy below in order to improve chewing skills.
Take a straw…bend the bottom and clip it with a binder clip
Fill the straw with a highly flavored liquid…and then freeze
Once frozen present the straw perpendicular to the lateral molar ridge (the same way you target chewing hierarchy level number 1). Your little one should be biting on the end of the straw that is not clipped (obviously)…this way when biting…she is getting small pieces of the icy)
Once your child is able to bite three times on both sides of her mouth…and..she chews and then swallows the bolus…she may be ready to have solid foods presented on her back molar ridge.
Remember to be sure to follow the chewing hierarchy.
Also remember that food should not be presented on the tongue…this will encourage a suckle pattern.
And when spoon-feeding be sure to follow the model I have posted on my Down Syndrome tab to the top of my blog (you should be doing the upper lip mobility exercises in order to increase strength and mobility for feeding and for speech production of course!)
Please post with any questions or comments.