Tagged "sensory warmup"

Ask a Therapist: The Child Refuses Tools

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on



My son was using TalkTools products since he was about 4 months old until he was 2 years old.


He is now 3 years and does not like them at all. Gets really mad when I try to use the chewy things, Z-Vibe or straws. He really does not want anything inside his mouth or to get his face massaged. 


Any recommendations?


Any other tools that are recommended for kids with Down Syndrome?



Hi Adriana,

These behavior can develop as children get older. In my class on Autism, I describe many factors that can contribute to behavioral challenges, sensory-motor challenges and moving forward in therapy.

First and foremost a predictable schedule with built in rewards is critical. Rewards need to be very frequent.

Secondly many kids need a sensory warm up. Consult with an OT/PT that specializes in sensory integration. Whole body movement, massage, music and sensory methods may be helpful prior to oral exercises.

Finally, without seeing your child myself I cannot recommend specifics; however at TalkTools not only do we support our work, but the work of Pam Marshalla, Debra Beckman and Diane Bahr, all have oral motor programs. I suspect the program may be too routine, so adding some massages, feeding programs and a more reinforcers may do the trick.

Robyn Merkel Walsh, MA, CCC SLP

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Ask A Therapist: A client bites down on baby bottle

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on



My name is Yael and I have a patient who is 18 months, has low tone in the oral area, likes a lot of sensory input inside the mouth but won't suck on a straw or drink from a cup. He only drinks from a baby bottle and kind of bites down on it. How can I start working on his suckling skills so I can work with the straws and all the other tools?


Thank you!




Hi Yael,

I will give you a number of things to try and see what works for your patient.  I would work on providing a good sensory warm up with the Vibrator & Toothette, chewing on gloved finger, using the z-vibe, or red Chewy Tube (depends on where your client is with jaw strength). I would question if your patient has jaw weakness based on your description.  You can also try rocking the bottle in and out of the mouth to encourage more of a front/ back pattern versus the up/ down biting. Then I would try to use the Honey Bear with Flexible Straw to encourage drinking.  You will load the straw for the patient and provide jaw and cheeks support if needed. I hope some of this helps.

Please let me know if you have any other questions. We are happy to help.




Elizabeth Smithson, MSP, CCC-SLP is a Speech-Language Pathologist who has over 10 years of professional experience working with infants, children, adolescents and adults. She earned her Master of Speech Pathology at the University of South Carolina. Liz is also a Level 5 TalkTools® Trained Therapist. She has received specialized training in Oral Placement Therapy, Speech, Feeding, Apraxia, Sensory Processing Disorders, and PROMPT©. Liz works with clients with a wide range of disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and Spinal Muscular Atrophy. She works through her own private practice Elizabeth Smithson Therapy, LLC in the home setting and in the TalkTools® office in Charleston, SC.

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