ptst-001Talk-DS is written by Jennifer Bekins, MS, CCC-SLP a speech-language pathologist specializing in children with Down syndrome (DS). The aim of Talk-DS is to provide ideas, encouragement, and evidence-based information related to children with DS in the areas of communication and feeding.

A practicing speech-language pathologist since 2001, Jennifer joined the Jane and Richard Thomas Center for Down Syndrome at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 2005 to work exclusively with children with Down syndrome. Since then she has worked with hundreds of children with DS and their families.

Jennifer’s personal journey with DS started in 1988 with the birth of her sister April. April was the fourth child born to Susan and Jim who later adopted two additional sons, Jacob and Samuel, both born with DS. Jennifer and her husband, Dr. Peter Bekins, reside in Cincinnati with their two sons.


MS: Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, MD, 2001
BA with Highest Honors: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 1999
Certification: ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence, 2001
Certification: Hanen Certified Clinician, 2006

Professional Organizations


Making a Difference Award Nominee. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. 2016.

Professional of the Year. Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati, December 2012.

Selected Writings

Bekins, J. (2016). Communication Milestones. In Jacob, J. and Sikora, M. The Parent’s Guide to Down Syndrome. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 108, 126, 149, 151.

Bekins, J, and Magaña, A. (2014). Point Counterpoint: Oral Motor Therapy. Down Syndrome World, 1 (1), 13 – 14.

Bekins, J. (2011). Dreams realized: the gift of Down syndrome. Down Syndrome Pregnancy

Bekins, J. (2009). Your child’s therapy: Weighing the options. Down Syndrome News, 2009; 32 (4): 60-61.

None of the advice given herein is a substitute for evaluation and treatment by a certified speech-language pathologist. Any ideas taken from Talk-DS should be discussed with your child’s treating therapist to ensure proper use. Due to licensing and privacy regulations I am unable to provide patient-specific advice.

The views expressed on this blog are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer. The Content on this blog is protected under copyright and intellectual property laws. No content or images herein may be redistributed without written permission. © 2017

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11 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi my son Luke has DS and just turned 3yrs old he loves his bottle but will not chew and will not swallow any food that has texture he loves yogurt and Apple sauce swallows them just fine? If you have any suggestions that can help me it would be very appreciated thank you. Laurie

    1. Hi Laurie! Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately I’m unable to provide advice outside of my clinical practice because of licensing regulations. I can recommend looking for a speech pathologist or occupational therapist in your area with a specialty in feeding. If you connect with a provider who recommends going cold-turkey off the bottle, find a different therapist. They don’t have to be an expert in Down syndrome but should have a solid background in bottle to cup and puree to solid transitions. Thanks! Jennifer

  2. Hi Jennifer,
    I am struggled with changing the second stage to third stage food, for my son Raphael, And he doesnt like food too much,He loves his botlle, and he almost 2yrs.

  3. Hi Jennifer- Nice to meet you and welcome to the blogosphere. Missy passed along your blog as a resource to our Babycenter Down syndrome group. I have a 14 month old who currently gets SLP and her oral-motor therapy from our OT who was an awesome resource to us in learning to nurse. Abby is getting evaluated next thursday by Sara Rosenfeld Johnson as well. She has a weak suck, weak latch, moderate dysphagia and we just discovered duodenal stenosis and will be getting surgery for that in a few weeks as well. We’re hoping when that is healed up we’ll move a little easier with oral-motor issues.
    I look forward to reading your blog for suggestions!

  4. Jennifer,

    My name is Kim and I am also a SLP who happens to have a baby diagnosed following her birth with DS. I do not work with children anymore and have never worked with babies of any dx. Joy is enrolled in ECI and is receiving services from PT and a dietitian, with a referral for SLP eval….but there is a waiting list.
    Could you email me some resources regarding oral-motor exercises I could start doing with her? Would you be willing to guide me in the right direction?

    Thank you,
    Kim Lindsey

    1. Kim,
      Thank you for your interest – and congratualtions!

      I would be happy to send along some resources. How old is Joy and what stage food is she on? Has she started cup drinking?

      Please feel free to contact me via email: jennifer.bekins@cchmc.org

      All the best,

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