After Belle’s initial evaluation with Whitney Pimentel, TalkTools Oral Placement Speech and Feeding Therapist, we knew right away that this was the partnership we had been looking for in effort to provide our daughter with the best opportunity for success. We are so excited to have found a partner in this new journey! Having a daughter with Down Syndrome does require some extra time and effort, so we wanted to make sure that we were working smarter, and not just harder. After the initial meeting, Whitney put together a detailed plan of Belle’s program, and we quickly placed our first order for the supplies and the tools we needed in order to assist with feeding and drinking. We have committed to the TalkTools program to provide the best opportunity for Belle to maximize her oral motor abilities, feeding and drinking skills, and speaking capabilities in the future.

I do also want to mention that the exercises and tools are easy to use. We have two other young children in our family so we do not have hours of extra time to devote to an additional therapy regime. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about that. Instead, we have a compact program that we incorporate into our daily routine.

One of the first steps in helping our daughter was to introduce the Honey Bear. One important thing to note is that all of the TalkTools kits and programs come with detailed instructions that are easily understood.  The Honey Bear encouraged Belle to learn to drink out of a straw and allowed me the ability to control the flow of liquid into her mouth. I was so nervous about squirting too much into her mouth, but it was so easy and she did GREAT!! (You may even notice Belle’s cheering squad in the background. AKA… her 5 year old sister.) To begin, I showed her that milk was going to come out of the straw and how that was going to feel. And the second time we tried it, she drank the milk out of the straw all by herself! We were so excited. I even called Whitney to share our good news. Belle repeatedly sucked through the straw several more times and didn’t even make too much of a mess. She swallowed like she was supposed to. We were so proud of our daughter on her first attempt at drinking out of a straw!

We know we have a long way to go yet, but just seeing Belle taking the first step in learning to drink through a straw is so rewarding, and we know we made the right choice in her therapy. We are so proud of her and look forward to continuing on this path of success with TalkTools.

-Lanie Beetsma

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