Ask A Therapist: Pre-Feeding Suggestion



I was interested in a couple of your products and what would be suitable for both of my daughters.


Anne is 5 and a half and has Autism. She has been doing a Son-Rise program for over a year. We have seen some great progress with her responsiveness and social skills, but the speech still seems a little stuck. We did speech therapy for over a year and saw no change, so I feel like it is a dyspraxia. She does have some words from time to time, she seems to be trying to push out some speech also but her mouth just doesn’t seem to be able to do it.


Erin does not close her mouth much, when she eats off a spoon, she closes her teeth over the spoon not her lips.


We have been using a curly straw and trying to encourage her to blow by practicing in front of her, etc. She breathes through her nose easily when we close her mouth, so we have been advised to try taping her mouth (lightly!!) at night for a period to help her get used to breathing through her nose.

This sounds to me that some pre-feeding steps need to be taken, and that the horns and straws being used are too advanced for her current skill set. For example, we do not introduce “curly” straws until a child is able to drink effectively through Straw #1 in the hierarchy with good posture and dissociation. Jaw stability and jaw-lip-tongue dissociation can be worked on through Lori Overland’s pre-feeding exercises, and the bite block program, horns and straws from Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson’s three part treatment approach starting at the baseline levels.

So, my second daughter has a few challenges also. Though not autistic, she is delayed in some areas and one is speech. She breathes through her mouth also like her older sister, she has a lot of words and mimics a lot and its getting clearer but I feel she does need a little support.

Since the information you provided is very general, I feel both your daughters need an evaluation to determine baseline oral motor skills to establish a program plan – in addition to a visit to an ear nose and throat specialist to determine a cause for mouth breathing.

I had a look through the products and just felt a little overwhelmed at what product would best suit my girls. Thanks again!! -Lisa

Robyn Merkel Walsh, MA, CCC-SLP

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