Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This Bites!

One of the things I really like about reading my friend's blogs is that I often pick up some really great play-time and therapy ideas. James and I really love the staff that work with Nate. Our coordinator... Patty O. (who works at ASPIRO), has assembled an awesome team for us, and she obviously loves the work she does. Awhile ago, our speech therapist Tasha recommended that we get sticks of licorice and leave them out for a few days to harden. The thought here is that Nate will chew on the sticks using the back of his jaw to help strengthen the muscles there. Nate needs these muscles to be strong for a few reasons; it will be very important for his speech and forming words properly. It will assist in helping him keep his tongue in his mouth. It will mean better clarity in his words when he speaks them. We tried it, and unfortunately, Nate didn't take to it. He didn't like the flavor I guess. Tasha mentioned it again last week, so I thought I would check to see if there were any other kinds besides the red and (egads!) black flavors. Looks like lemon is the winner here! Hurray he loves the fruit flavored ones! It works like a charm....and although it took me a little bit to get used to giving him candy (that felt weird!) Nate is doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing.....chewing hard on the sticks using the back of his jaw. Of course we watch him carefully....and he really is a good eater and chewer anyway...but if you decide to try this little therapy trick, watch your child carefully at first to make sure any candy chewed off is not too big of a chunk for them to safely eat. So...just wanted to pass it along to any of you who might be looking for a little fun in therapy! I've appreciated you sharing your ideas and thoughts from your therapist too.... blogging about it is like having lots and lots of great therapists! I bought these licorice sticks at my local grocery....thanks Tasha for this great idea!


  1. Thanks for sharing this Jill! I will be adding this to my ST notebook for future reference. Landon will be "1" tomorrow so I think he still may be a little young for this right now. But, who knows?! I may run this by Landon's ST to see what she thinks. It's funny how we are told that things may take a little longer with our children. From a therapeutic perspective, I find that Landon's "TEAM" does things rather early.....some things that I probably never would have done with my other 2 boys:) As long as it works...(right?)! Great post......i too love the networking of info!

  2. I feel the same way about giving them candy. BUT... I have a ton of slightly hard licorice (a Costco buy last year!) that might be fun for John Michael, so thanks for the idea. your blog design is cute and I love how your little guy is growing!

  3. Great idea! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to try that with Matthew, my very picky eater. He still likes to chew on his chewy tube sometimes but it's flavorless. You can also unwind licorice sticks and use them to string cheerios or any round cereal to work on fine motor.

  4. I will try candy therapy myself. I bought licorice, and then also while I was at the candy store I bought gummi bears and swedish fish and then I have found it helps to balance my therapy with salty snacks. The alternating of these has euphoric effects...
    ...Oh I'm sorry my wife just told me this is muscle therapy for kids with DS, I am an adult who is an emotional eater. It was good therapy while it lasted, thanks Jill.
    It sure is good as almost everyone is blogging again!

  5. I just found your blog and know that I will enjoy following your story. I like your subtitle - "no hushed tones, somber faces or sorrowful apologies" these were my words EXACTLY in my birth plan since we knew Luke had DS and the hospital and doctors were absolutely wonderful. I would wish this for every parent.

  6. Haha little Tony... you took the words (and the lictorice) right out of my mouth! I was hoping to get Jill and Nate to share that lemon licorice with me!

    BTW Nathan was a hoot at Maddie's birthday party. I think I'm going to buy him a dozen hats since he loves to put them on so much! That must be good for his motor skills too! Love you!