4.4 Years: Making Up Her Own Silly Phrases

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Happy New Year! Belle's year is off to a solid start! I am happy to report that we have been pretty consistent with our TalkTools oral motor program, created by Monica Purdy. We have been staying on track except for the 4 days that Belle stayed with her siblings and grandparents while we got away for a little mini-vacation without kids. She did well, as I expected, and didn't miss me at all, as I also expected. She is always thrilled to go new places and do new things.

TalkTools | Annabelle 4.4 years TalkTools | Annabelle 4.4 years

Belle has always had a good sense of humor, and enjoys the typically preschool banter like "miss me, miss me, now you have to kiss me" and "you are the craziest woman in the world" (which she tells me often), etc. Her six year old brother also enjoys serving as a catalyst in her orneriness. Within the past few months, however, Belle has begun making up her own silly phrases and 'one-liners.' Last week, an older child who is a close family friend, was getting out of our car and Belle rolled down her window and said, "check you out turkey butt." I am not sure why I am sharing this, since to most parents this wouldn't be a newsworthy occurrence and probably even something to discourage. Of course, I am not encouraging naughty words, but man oh man I do love the creativity! And I do value the fact that she can come up with some non-concrete ideas on her own. It's the small things, right?

Here is a video of Belle doing many of her alphabet sounds.

Cheers!

-Lanie Beetsma

Annabelle has Down Syndrome and has been using TalkTools Therapy since she was born. Her story is a great inspiration for parents seeking help for a child with Down Syndrome. Follow Miss Annabelle’s journey from the beginning here.

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4 Years 2&3 Months: Communication grants Belle the independence she desires

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

4 Years 2 Months

Belle is doing well despite our crazy busy schedule and lack of consistency with her oral motor exercises.  She is not regressing in any way, but I can’t say that I have seen significant gains in her speech clarity this month.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint, right?  Her congestion has returned in full force this month and she struggles to get any relief in this area.  I feel like we have tried everything over the years.  On a positive note, Belle is a rock star at blowing her nose so that does make it a lot easier on her (and me).

In other news, we had Belle’s first ever parent-teacher conferences last week and despite some drawing and painting in undesignated areas, she seems to be keeping up with her peers quite well. Her teacher said that she is very social and is an active participant in all activities. Music to my ears!

In the pics this month, Belle enjoyed Halloween as a nice witch, and is still loving dance class and can’t wait for Tuesday nights!

TalkTools | Annabelle 4.2 months TalkTools | Annabelle 4.2 months TalkTools | Annabelle 4.2 months

In this month’s video you will notice that Belle has now taken over my job of introducing her (no, I didn’t prompt her to do this) and is also convinced there are 3 Sundays in every week. Watch how well she chews and keeps the food on the side with her tongue!

4 Years 3 Months

December was a great month! I got my Christmas shopping done early and that allowed me some extra time to do more festive activities with my kiddos this month. Annabelle has had a great month as well. She adores Santa and asked for a Barbie Dream House for Christmas, she fully participated on stage in her preschool’s program, and she even got invited to her very first sleepover (with cousin’s who are around her age).

The sleepover struck me as significant for many reasons. First of all, Belle’s cousins love to play with her just like she loves to play with them. That makes my heart very happy. Secondly, Belle had absolutely no reservations in staying overnight in a new place with no immediate family members present. And lastly, she is able to go and do things she enjoys because she is able to communicate!! This is a gift like no other. Communication grants Belle the independence she desires, and I couldn’t be happier for her.

TalkTools | Annabelle 4.3 months TalkTools | Annabelle 4.3 months TalkTools | Annabelle 4.3 months TalkTools | Annabelle 4.3 months

And here is Belle working on gum exercises:

Merry Christmas and cheers to a wonderful New Year!

-Lanie Beetsma

Annabelle has Down Syndrome and has been using TalkTools Therapy since she was born. Her story is a great inspiration for parents seeking help for a child with Down Syndrome. Follow Miss Annabelle’s journey from the beginning here.

Read more →

23 Months: Assistance from SLP

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

TalkTools Blog | Annabelle 23 months old TalkTools Blog | Annabelle 23 months old

Belle is doing well and consistently adds to the lively chatter in our home :) She has approximately 35 words that she says regularly, although someone from outside our family may only understand about half of those without an interpretation.

Belle has been working with Whitney, our Speech Language Pathologist with TalkTools, for about 18 months now. We get to see Whitney in person about twice a year, we email regularly, and have video conferences as needed. This month, however, we decided that it was time to start scheduling therapy sessions for Belle via Skype 2-4 times per month.

Belle has reached a point in her development that I need additional assistance with her oral motor placement exercises. She is striving for more independence and understands that speaking is a way for her to be heard and quickly get her needs met.

Working with Whitney this month has allowed me to better understand how each exercise is used to encourage a particular mouth posture, sound, etc. She has helped me to revamp our current TalkTools program to minimize frustration on many levels.

In a matter of a few days, Belle no longer needs the straw to blow bubbles through the wand. She can do it all by herself!  I am so thankful for these additional therapy sessions, and Belle is making great strides!

Here are three quick videos that highlight Belle's progress in month 23.

Belle Blowing Bubbles with No Straw!

 

Belle Practicing with TalkTools' Apraxia Shapes

 

Belle Chomping on Her Red & Yellow Chewy Tubes

 

-Lanie Beetsma

Annabelle has Down Syndrome and has been using TalkTools Therapy since she was born. Her story is a great inspiration for parents seeking help for a child with Down Syndrome. Follow Miss Annabelle’s journey from the beginning here.

Read more →

22 Months: Family Time & Horn Progress

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

We have some fun pictures in this update including one of Belle with her extremely loving brother and sister. You can also see Belle enjoying her veggie straws at therapy (notice her food placement on her side molars) and having fun with some Play-Doh.  

TalkTools | Annabelle 22 months     TalkTools Blog | Annabelle 22 months old  

Our family's schedule has been quite busy lately, so I try my best to get in one full session of oral motor therapy in each day. We will be able to pick back up another session as our daily routine gets back to normal next month. Belle continues to drink very well from her straws and purple Recessed Lid Talk Tools cup.

Thankfully, Belle really enjoys being vocal. She now says 27 words voluntarily that I am able to understand. And within the last week, she even put two words/signs together including "more drink" and "eat please." We are thrilled!

Belle Working with Horn #2

We started this horn last week, and she really likes it. Although we have not reached our goal of 25 sounds yet, she consistently produces around 10 each day so she is well on her way!

-Lanie Beetsma

Annabelle has Down Syndrome and has been using TalkTools Therapy since she was born. Her story is a great inspiration for parents seeking help for a child with Down Syndrome. Follow Miss Annabelle’s journey from the beginning here.

Read more →

21 Months: Repeating Words

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

TalkTools | Annabelle 21 months

Belle is continuing to progress month after month. She has become more vocal, and she has officially mastered walking. Belle is confident in her ability to walk anywhere she wants to go. She consistently says 23+ words and is trying to say several more but may leave the beginning or ending sounds off. For example, in the video of her speaking below, Belle pronounces the work "yuck" as a very strong "ck" sound.

She enjoys talking and being a part of all social interactions. In some settings, she even likes to "show off" a little with her signs and words :)

I just started using the TalkTools Apraxia Tactile Tubes. Belle thinks these are pretty fun! She is also doing great with her Horn #1 and has mastered her 25 breaths/sounds through it. I think we are ready to start the second horn soon. We have settled into a good summer routine and consistently do her exercises each morning and night. Belle likes this one on one time with her Mommy too!    

Belle Speaking

Belle Practicing with her TalkTools Tactile Tubes

-Lanie Beetsma

Annabelle has Down Syndrome and has been using TalkTools Therapy since she was born. Her story is a great inspiration for parents seeking help for a child with Down Syndrome. Follow Miss Annabelle’s journey from the beginning here.

Read more →