Ask A Therapist: Does Straw Therapy Help Accelerate Speech?

My 2 year old (almost 3 year old) daughter with Down Syndrome is still having difficulty with speech. She has many signs, but her words are limited to ones such as “ball” and “book.” I have asked her speech therapist about the Straw Kit. Her therapist does not seem to be in favor of anything other than traditional speech therapy. Does the straw kit help accelerate speech?

Also, her OT would like her to drink out of a cup. Which cup would be best, or is it best to continue with straws for now? Thank you!


Hi Ana,

Sorry to hear that your daughter is having difficulty with speech. I do believe that the straw kit is something worth pursuing.  I often work with children with another therapist in a situation like this.  One can work on traditional speech techniques and the other oral placement for speech production and feeding.  That might be something to think about.  The straws work on different levels of tongue retraction and lip rounding which are both movements used in speech production. I do find with my patients that speech comes faster with oral placement therapy.  As far as a cup I would recommend starting with the pink cut out cup.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.  We are always here to help.


Liz Smithson

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 08 Jun 17

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