Thursday, June 18, 2009

Operation Suck It Up.

Max is on the cusp of a break through. We can all see it. Between the singing and increase in words, we are all waiting with baited breath for the next big thing. But how do we get there? What will be the key in pushing him over the top? While Scott and I have been scratching our heads, not quite sure what to do next, the members of Team Max are ready to rock and roll, with a slew of ideas on how to get our boy talking.

Last week, Max's Speech Therapist, Kim Pace, emailed the following message:

Hi Team Max! I am writing to let you know that over the course of the next 3 weeks, I have set the following goals for Max:

1. Move him off drinking from the sippy cup .... this is going to be a challenge, but is very important because sippy cups reinforce a tongue thrust/suckling type of swallow that we really need Max to move away from in order to move his oral motor skills for speech forward! I would like to see him drinking with a straw (a specific one of course....). That said, he was not happy about this little idea of mine today! He has significant oral sensitivity and we will need to address this first. No need to do anything directly with Max yet - just want you all to get ready and I will target next session and send out the next steps to everyone! You can, however, model by drinking from straws around him!

2. Establish some use of his lips so he'll produce more lip sounds. Right now, most of his sounds are made with his tongue. The only lip sound he has is "w". He approximates a /m/ but if you watch closely, it's not a strong /m/ - more like a nasal sound with his lips open slightly! Pretty tricky really! What can you do - Rob - heavy on the p/b/m sounds and words within music if you can. Model and practice Indian calls (i.e. tapping your mouth while you vocalize).

3. Eating - and chewing - yes, we'll be going there as well .... Katrina - can you email me Max's favourite foods that he eats with a spoon so I can plan for next session? Right now, he really avoids use of those lips while eating and chewing ....

I think that's it for now! Looking forward to a quick improvement in these skills - once he can use his lips better, it will add 3 more sounds to his repertoire which will really help us understand those words he's saying even more! Today, by the way - he sang "Old MacDonald" for me! It was great!

Take care and have a great week!


I would have never noticed that he doesn't use his lips, that this is why we aren't hearing certain consonants. Now that I am observing him more closely I can see what Kim means when she says he doesn't really use his lips. I've never had any luck getting Max to use a straw, so I was intrigued as to how Kim planned to transition Max from his beloved sippy cup to a straw.

The first step will be modeling using a straw. We bought a big box of straws and we are going to start using them in front of Max. Milk, water, beer, chardonnay, you name it, we're drinking it through a straw. Note to self - drink slowly!

We have also poked a really big hole in the sippy cup spout, so that Max will have to use his lips to control the flow. I got a dirty look from him this morning when he took his first slurp as if to say "hey….wait a second…something is DIFFERENT". He put it cup down, but did return later for some more milk.

The next step will be to put a straw in his cup, but cut it so that it only reaches the top of the spout, and doesn't poke out. After he is used to that, we will slowly make the straw longer and longer until it is sticking out of the spout and he has no choice but to suck on the straw.

Sounds so simple when I write about it…let's hope putting into play will be equally easy.


  1. KEEP at it Katrina!! We are battling with hard munchable these days (carrot and cucumber for one) - some days it works and some days it doesn't.

    Khaled does sippy cups, but give him some coke and he will slurp it out of a glass. (we dont give it to him of course hehe!) I never thought of making the holes bigger. DUH! I am going to do that tomorrow.

    He can do b sounds (can say ball and bob, and poocus for Focus - he learned that word from the CARS movie, he also says I am speed).

    I am so excited for you. I love reading about Max's progres.

    We have a lot of monsters to tackle, number one being STEREOTYPY.

  2. go max! you should look for the straws with 50s style red candy cane strips on them. or those fun twisty ones.

  3. So interesting!! I'm the worst and still let Charlotte use a sippy cup. Reading your post made me realize that I may not be helping her with her speech delay!

    Go Max go!!