Setting Limits

Nick is very keen on milkshakes, however, he does tend to gulp them down too quickly. In fact, he is like this with any type of liquid. I have tried on numerous occasions to slow him down. I have modeled, guided and directed.... to no avail.

Nick also has extremely low muscle tone and this is very evident around his mouth. His bottom lip droops and his lips are always apart. Over the last few months he has been pushing out his bottom jaw and placing his lower teeth over his top teeth. We have spent years of therapy trying to help with his tone, yet it is getting worse.

Well, I had a bit of a *aha* moment today when we went out for lunch. After munching away on a huge plate of Spag Bol, Nick requested a milkshake. It was thick and creamy and needed a good old stir to make it easier to gulp down. As is standard practice, Nick indicated that I should stir the milkshake. Well you know, I was just plain fed up with doing the whole stir stir thing. A fleeting thought made its way through my brain... 'what would I do if this was Nick's big brother?'

I looked at Nick and said, "Nick, you are a big guy now and I am no longer going to stir your milkshake. Also, from now on you are going to have to use a straw!"

Well, can you believe it? He used the straw. It took him an age to get through the milkshake, yet he tried his very best. As for that lip closure ~ WOW. I wonder what Nick's tone is going to be like in six months if he keeps using a straw. Then again, I wonder what his waistline will look like if we make this a regular therapy!

Notes to self:

Presume competence
Take a risk
Don't stress if he makes a fuss
Give reassurance and encouragement
Don't be a helicopter parent
Set limits
Remember 'edge plus 1'


  1. Yes, straws are very helpful for this! Lots of games you can play with straws too, I'm sure ;) xx

    1. I am now on the hunt for all types of straws, especially the squiggly ones! :)

  2. This has really got me thinking - and wondering how many other advantages there are to straws? Which Smiley uses all the time, as you know. Perhaps doing that has benefited her in ways that I wasn't expecting? Maybe there's a blog post in that...

    1. Hiya, Blue Sky. I am sure that the straws have definitely helped Smiley. I look forward to reading your blog post. xx

  3. My granddaughter's speech therapist suggested the same thing (thick milk shakes) to improve her muscle tone to help her speech. My daughter is now buying her shakes and she loves them! Glad he did so well with the straw!

    1. Thank you, Robin. Good to hear that your granddaughter is also loving her shakes. Yay, go straws! :)

  4. Many years ago, I went to a talk on the HANDLE therapy and they gave each participant free, long, squiggly straws to use at home. Even sipping water or juice, they presented a challenge... I hope you can find some 'squiggly' and different shaped straws, Di.

  5. I have been on the look out for the squiggly straws but haven't found any as yet. They are fab. :)


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