Ask A Therapist: Communicate with a 16 year old with Down Syndrome


I have a teen with Down Syndrome who is 16 years old. He has difficulty expressing himself, however he has a lot of knowledge. I would like to help my son with verbal communication so that I can understand what he says and develop my relationship with him. He gets speech therapy twice a week but it is not helping him so much.

Will you please guide me to purchase the right products?

Thank you kindly!


Hi Clarimar,

My first question would be: is there a TalkTools trained therapist in your area? If so, I would start with an evaluation from a TalkTools therapist. A TalkTools therapist can do an evaluation and a full treatment, or work with another therapist to implement a plan after the initial evaluation is performed.  The next option would be to see if there is a therapist near you that you could travel to see for evaluation only. If that is not an option either, I would order the videos “Developing Oral Sensory Motor Skills to Support Feeding in the Down Syndrome Population” and “A Three Part Treatment Plan for Oral Placement Therapy“. These videos are available online for viewing. Once you have taken those courses, you will have a better understanding of the tools needed. I would probably recommend the Parent Kit with a Bubble Kit and a Z-vibe. That I feel would be a good place to start. 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 15 Feb 16

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