An Ontario mother of three young boys with autism is appealing to the public to help find discontinued sippy cups for her eldest son.
Jessica Szucki, from Tecumseh, Ont., says that six-year-old Dryden has Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder — and he will only drink out of a specific sippy cup that has a silicone topper.
“It’s very important that I find these toppers, because without them he isn’t getting hydrated enough,” Szucki told Yahoo Canada. “It’s especially a concern now that the weather is so warm. If we don’t have his cup, he just keeps leading me to the fridge and crying when I can’t get him a drink. We don’t know how much he understands, receptively, but he doesn’t seem to understand this.”
The cups were made a number of years ago by Fisher Price, Baby King and Tootsie Baby, but have since been discontinued. Szucki spent the last few months searching online and calling wholesalers to see if they had the discontinued lids, but has had little success. Now she’s appealing to the public to look out for the cup toppers:
Szucki also recently teamed up with LittleBlueCup, a Facebook page that helps parents of children with autism and special needs through crowdsourcing products (i.e. a cup, bottle or any other small item that keeps the individual happy).
So far, that endeavour has been somewhat successful — she found Dryden’s current sippy-cup top through the project, but says she needs more to ensure Dryden doesn’t become dehydrated.
“I’ve been inundated with messages from people suggesting other cups, we’ve tried them all, and 3D printers — those don’t print silicone, so that’s a no-go at this point,” Szucki said.
“I find myself spending a lot of time answering (questions) that are suggesting different cups (we’ve tried) or therapy (for four years now). While I appreciate everyone’s advice, it’s kind of starting to detract from the actual search a bit,” she admitted.
“And there have been the negative people, too, those that suggest I should just let him get thirsty and he’ll give in and use another cup, or that I did something to cause his autism, because his brothers have it too … It’s been a whirlwind!”
The stay-at-home mom says that Dryden has been drinking from the same-style cup since he was a year old and has little interest drinking out of other tops. She’s also worked with Dryden in therapy to help him transition to uncovered cups, but it takes him much longer to consume liquid.
“He’s a gorgeous, smart, happy little boy, but he has some serious sensory issues and needs — this is one of them, just part of his puzzle.”