In some therapy circles, the honey bear is an obvious adaptation that is used to help kids learn to drink from a straw. I was unaware of this great use of a honey bear for many many years, and it was kind of a “duh” moment when I learned about using it. You don’t actually have to use a honey bear, and I have used condiment squeeze bottles as well because I did not want to wait until I finished all of the honey and I could buy an empty picnic condiment bottle at walmart.
The key to the honey bear cup (or condiment squirter) is that a straw can fit snugly into the hole in the top so that when squeezed, the liquid comes up the straw to make it easier for a child to suck the liquid out. Rather than a regular straw, which can be crushed, I use the tubing that is used for the ice maker in a refrigerator. The refrigerator tubing can be purchased at Home Depot, and you have to make sure it is the ice maker tubing as that is a food grade tubing. You can also find it at Talk Tools on the web.
You can buy the honey bear cup through ARK Therapeutics, but you have to make sure you get the kit that has the tubing and not just the straw because you get a much better seal with the tubing, so it works better. Plus it is more bite proof and won’t collapse like a regular straw.
To help with learning to suck form the straw, you squeeze the bear so that the liquid sits at the top of the straw. You then put the straw in the child’s mouth. With the liquid at the tip of the straw, the child can suck accidentally and be successful very quickly. The success can then lead to purposeful sucking of the liquid out of the straw.
- straw drinking