The first time we visited our Speech therapist--we weren't even starting therapy, yet, just getting evaluated--she stressed the importance of avoiding prolonged use of a sippy cup. She eyed my almost-3-yr-old sucking on his sippy and sent us home with two different cups: one for James and one for Caleb.
Since that day, I have made the transition with Caleb. He uses cups with
lids and straws (Take and Toss brand) most of the time, and open cups
only at the table. We had a period of time where Caleb knocked his cup
over as much as his sippy (the reason we had not transitioned), but it
really didn't take him too long to figure it out.
James is still taking bottles, but he is also learning how to use a
honey bear cup. It's an actual honey bear (though I think the producer
sells them empty) with a silicon straw stuck through the lid. The honey
bear is ideal because it's so squeezy. I just squeeze the liquid up into
the straw and allow a little into his mouth. He automatically swallows,
encouraging more liquid out of the straw. Before you know it, tada!
He's learned how to use a straw!
And you know, that's exactly what's happened. It's so cool to see him
confidently grab the honey bear and take a big drink. He loves it! He
doesn't sustain it long enough for the bear to replace the bottle, but
we use it at mealtimes. Next, we'll start working on his ability to use
the same Take and Toss cups that Caleb uses. His liquids are thickened
so much that I don't think he will be able to use an open cup (imagine
drinking applesauce from a cup). But who knows; I never would have
guessed he'd skip the sippy, and look at him go!