4.7 Years: More Intelligible That I Thought

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Hello!

Belle has been a little under the weather this month, and I have been a little concerned that her level of articulation has declined a bit as we have opted out of oral motor exercises so she can catch an afternoon nap or doctor's appointment, etc. Overall, I think she is starting to feel better as this month wraps up so we are starting to get back on track.

TalkTools | Annabelle 4.7 Years TalkTools | Annabelle 4.7 Years TalkTools | Annabelle 4.7 Years TalkTools | Annabelle 4.7 Years

One highlight from the month includes Belle's participation in our school district's preschool screening. I was worried that the test administrators would have a hard time understanding Belle so I asked to sit in on the language portion of the assessment, just in case I needed to translate something for them. I said very little but did get to enjoy Belle's funny responses to the questions like "what do you do if you walk in a dark room?" She responded... "scary! run away!" Although it wasn't quite the answer they were looking for, it was quite humorous. As she finished up this portion of the test and we headed out the room, the test administrator said to me, "see mom, you didn't need to be in here. I understood every word she said." I take that as a win. 

In this month's video, Belle is reading to you from her "Bibs" book. I hope you enjoy!

-Lanie Beetsma

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

Read more →

4.6 Years: Enjoying New Foods

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

March has been an exciting month for Belle! We traveled to the beach to visit family and enjoyed some fun in the sun. She enjoys the plane rides and new restaurants and new foods like calamari and key lime pie.

 TalkTools | Annabelle 4.6 years TalkTools | Annabelle 4.6 years TalkTools | Annabelle 4.6 years

In our video this month, Belle shows off her gum chewing skills. She has improved in her coordination with this exercise substantially over the years. Gum is pretty fun and the "big kids do it" so Belle is typically very eager for this portion of our oral motor program.

Monica Mitchell, our TalkTools speech therapist, is also beginning to have Belle work on some words that start with blended sounds like "bl" and "br." It's fun to start a new challenge!

Happy Spring to all!

-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 →

4.5 Years: "Near Perfect" Articulation

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Belle is doing well and has been enjoying some spring-like weather in February! She has managed to stay healthy this season (minus her chronic runny nose). Belle's good health has allowed her to go roller skating for the first time, participate in her preschool's Valentine's Day party, perform with her dance class on stage for 300+ people, and cheer on her older siblings at wrestling tournaments and basketball games.

TalkTools | Annabelle 4.5 years

I haven't noticed any big changes in her speech or language abilities lately, but she seems to be continuing her progression. Belle likes to make up stories about who she is going to marry and how she needs to go to the doctor/dentist because she hurt her arm, has a loose tooth, etc. etc. While watching her older sister's basketball practice last week, she hollered, "Come on girls; find your man!" Completely out of the blue. I enjoy her creativity. There is never a dull moment with Miss Belle.

Here is a quick video of Belle working on very short two word phrases. We are shooting for "near perfect" articulation here 😊.


-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 →

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.

Read more →

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 →