Ask A Therapist: A client bites down on baby bottle


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.

Talktool admin 24 Oct 16