I'm going crazy so I thought I would turn to all of you for some sound advice. I am being told by our current SLP that we need to stop using the Talk Tools straws immediately because of Sweet Pea's aspiration issues. The SLP believes that the straw brings too much liquid into her mouth too quickly and it increases the likelihood of her silently aspirating. We are seeing this SLP due primarily to the aspiration since we know that she does aspirate, at least on thin and nectar thick liquids. The SLP has lots of experience with aspiration so I do tend to trust her.
However, I am a Talk Tools worshiper and really believe in the benefits of the straw hierarchy. We are on straw #2 and I think Sweet Pea is doing great with them.
We emailed Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson and she thinks that if she can drink the thickened liquid through the straw that it should be okay, but recommended that we ask the person monitoring her aspiration to ask if straw drinking is allowed. Sweet Pea's GI referred us to the OT at Children's Hospital to get the swallow study, but the GI has left the monitoring to whomever is doing the therapy (he suggested either an OT or SLP). Maybe I could contact the OT that did the swallow study?
Our SLP gave us two options for drinking if we ditch the straws:
1) Sippy Cups: I don't believe that sippy cups are a good option because they teach the child to drink with their head back which also increases the risk of aspiration. Plus they don't help with tongue retraction at all.
2) Open Mouth Cups (regular cups): Um, I'm not a neat freak (anyone that has seen my house knows how extremely true that is), but yikes! I don't think I'm ready for her to make such a huge mess every time we give her some milk or juice or water! Many of you don't actually know Sweet Pea, but this sweet little girl is really a major league baseball player in hiding and has an arm on her that would surprise anyone. Putting a cup of liquid in her hand is a recipe for disaster for anyone within a 5 mile radius!
So, I'm stumped. What do we do? It really sounds like some people think it is an issue and others don't. I don't believe there is a way to get a definitive answer unless we do another swallow study, which would subject her to even more radiation and we are just not willing to do that to her again...for now at least. I'm leaning towards being cautious and not chancing it since aspiration is so dangerous.
Does anyone think that a cup like the coffee cups that have the lid set down with a little hole might work? I just did a search on Babies R Us and this is the only cup that looked like a possibility:
That is the only thing I can come up with on my own so far. I'm desperate for opinions and advice!!!!