Ask A Therapist: Feeding Therapy with Bite Straws

Hi Lori. Without seeing the student, can you tell me if this sounds like accurate application of the Feeding Therapies we learned in your workshop? When using the bite straws with a one year old girl with Down’s, she moves her head to the side to which the straw is presented to instantly suck the applesauce out of the straw. I believe this is due to the rooting reflex not being totally integrated and also her ability to suck vs bite is much delayed. Mom notes she seems to be moving her tongue around a little better since she started with the bite straws. Mom continues to give facial massage to the outside of face, using tapping when wiping her face. She is doing some cup drinking and tolerating it just a bit. She can drink from a straw and mom has been instructed in straw drinking. We are working on reducing tongue protrusion and mom is providing a lip block when drinking. I know I need to try tongue lateralization and tongue hugs with her. Thanks, Lisa

Hi Lisa. You probably need to address cheek mobility, and upper lip mobility, given her age and diagnosis. As for the lack of dissociation, try positioning yourself behind her, using the “v” support and then doing the ice straws with chewing hierarchy level #1, as explained in my book A Sensory-Motor Approach to Feeding.

Lori Overland

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