I've heard that it's mainly the tubes placed in their mouths for extended periods of time (ventilator & oral-gastric feeding) that raise issues, like tongue thrust and texture aversions. Daniel wasn't on the vent for long (maybe 14 days total broken up?), and the nurses tried to keep his feeding tube in his nose (NG)for this reason I think. I'm not sure how much help I'll be, but here's some of our experience.
We had some difficulty transitioning to a sippy cup. I found one with a bottle-like soft tip and I put breastmilk in it. We tried 1-2 feedings in that a day until he was confortable with it. Then I switched to a hard-tip sippy cup and removede the valve so it was free flowing, eventually stepping down to keeping the valve in. Put something in there that she really likes (apple juice or whatever). I know it's weird, but try out the sippy cups to see if they're hard to get liquid out. I had a few that would make me blue in the face, and I thought, how could a baby do this?
Also - I know it's hard
- take your hands off the bottle when she's really hungry to encourage her to feed herself. Have you tried that? It was so hard for me... I was trying to get every calorie down his neck possible because of his early growth restriction, but I had to balance that with not doing things for him for developmental reasons. And if the feeding took too long he'd lose patience and shut down. Too much stress!
I remember Daniel preferred things of a smooth texture for awhile. I think that's kind of normal at first. You did say that she'll take crackers as long as someone feeds it to her. That's good! Because of that, I don't think you have a real texture aversion thing there. She'd be gagging and worse if it was that, in my non-medical opinion. Maybe she just has princess-in-the-pea syndrome and likes things done for her, lol! Can't blame her! Our therapist gave us a neat trick for developing the pincher grasp: putting cheerios or puffs in an ice tray. Each cube is only big enough for a few fingers.
Seriously, it's good that you have a therapist involved and they're watching over things. It's amazing how kids won't do something for so long and then one day - poof! - they flip the switch and then they're doing it all the time. You mentioned she put a spoon to her mouth this week. Maybe that's the beginning of the switch? Just keep giving her opportunities to do it again, and lots of praise when she does it. Daniel did better with a fork, and we made a game out of stabbing his food.
Also, Daniel was never a big finger-in-the-mouth guy either, but he'd put toys in his mouth. My therapist was satisfied with that. He was still taking in information about X object through his mouth. He was never a finger/thumb sucker either. It's normal for babies to start NOT putting things in their mouths around 12 months.
I worried about the spoon/fork thing for awhile because he wasn't really independent with it until after 2 years old. But there again, the light bulb went off and then he was eating his entire meal (same thing we eat) with a fork. Now he has better table manners and loses less food on the floor than my father-in-law.
Keep at it and don't be discouraged. She'll come around. Also remember to factor in her adjusted age, not her real age, until she's 2. Then that gap starts to close.