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Age Appropriateness of Drinking From a Straw

Marybeth Trapani-Hanasewych, M.S.

June 5, 2006



Is it age appropriate for a 12 month old child to be able to drink from a straw but then spit out the liquid? If this is not appropriate are there any techniques to work on for the child to hold the liquid in her mouth after sucking the liquid from the st


It is age appropriate for a 12 month old child to drink from a straw. This skill has been seen in children as young as 7-8 months due to the invention of the drink box. The drink box can be put under pressure with a squeeze, therefore the children that can't chain the suck/swallow/breathe synchrony, can chain the swallow and breathe. It sounds like this child can suck but perhaps gets too much of a volume that he spits it out to protect his airway. I would suggest trying a smaller amount of liquid that he can suck up the straw and see if he can chain the sequence with more control. You can control the volume of liquid in the cup to be drawn up by putting a small amount in the cup - about 5-8 ml. Maturation will also mature this coordination skill. Good luck!

Marybeth Trapani-Hanasewych earned a B.S. in Speech/Language Pathology from California University of PA and a M.S. in Speech/Language Pathology from Indiana University of PA. She received her basic NDT course in 1986 followed by numerous advanced courses. She became an NDT Speech Instructor in Pediatrics in 1993. Marybeth completed her Adult Hemiplegia NDT course in 1995 and became an NDT Speech Instructor in Adults in 2000.

At this time, she is Director of a 30-member Speech Department at the Children's Institute which is a free standing rehabilitation hospital. Marybeth primarily evaluates and treats children with a variety of functional feeding disorders. She teaches extensively on site and throughout the country.

marybeth trapani hanasewych

Marybeth Trapani-Hanasewych, M.S.

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