Tagged "back to school"


5.11 Years: Back to School - A Letter from Mom

Posted by Casey Roy on

A tradition that I began years ago was to write a 'back to school' letter to each of my children on the eve of their first day of school. My kiddos look forward to it every year.

Here is what I wrote to Annabelle a few weeks ago...

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4.10 & 4.11 Years: Helping other Down Syndrome parents

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

4 Years 10 Months

Greetings from Lanie and Belle!

Belle has thoroughly enjoyed her summer with trips to her grandma's house, county fairs, baseball games, two big new cities, and a vacation in the mountains. While her routine has been anything but routine, her mind has certainly been busy with some new experiences to chat about. 

While talking with a fellow mom who had a few questions about TalkTools, I put Belle on the phone for a quick hello at the end of our call. I told Belle to tell our new friend what she was doing today and she said, "watching the Royals and I am going to marry Eric Hosmer." Hosmer is one of Belle's favorite players on the KC Royals team, and her statement reinforces the fact that she has watched slightly too much baseball this summer!!!

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Here is a quick video we did on lip isolation using a tongue depressor:

4 Years 11 Months

Belle is back to school! She is attending a new preschool this year and is in the Pre-K program. She will start kindergarten in one year, the fall of 2018 (this is hard to believe.) Belle is in a class with 14 other students, all typical kiddos, and two teachers. So far, she is loving it! She loves attending the same school as her older siblings and enjoys snack time and the monkey bars at recess. ;)

Here is a video update showing how Belle is doing in eating and drinking (she uses straw #6 from TalkTools straw hierarchy).

About once a week, I have the privilege of hearing from a parent who has watched Belle's videos and has questions about TalkTools, Belle's development, etc. I truly enjoy helping as much as I can and sharing our experience. I remember when Belle was born, I really found a great deal of comfort in talking with and learning from parents who were just a little ahead of us in this journey. It helped me to know that I was not alone and that success stories are absolutely achievable.

I am sharing this because people ask me quite frequently about what I do to support Belle's speech and overall development. And as most of you know there are SO many programs, vitamins, protocols, therapies, educational curriculums, physical practices, etc. to choose from. It was actually quite overwhelming for me, especially when Belle was a baby, but I have tried many of them over the years. When parents ask me what I think has made the biggest difference for Belle, I say "her siblings, an active lifestyle with lots of input, and TalkTools."

I believe that Belle's siblings are her greatest teachers. Our life is full of activities, sporting events, family gatherings, school, etc., and I believe that this provides lots of fresh input for her brain. And lastly, I believe that TalkTools has allowed Belle to develop her oral motor coordination so she can communicate with others. And for that, I am forever grateful.

TalkTools | Annabelle 4.11 Years TalkTools | Annabelle 4.11 Years TalkTools | Annabelle 4.11 Years

-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.

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3 Years 10&11 Months: Getting back-to-school after Disney World magic

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

3 Years 10 Months

Summer continues in our household! This month, Belle has enjoyed swimming lessons (and lots of pool time), a slip'n slide party, BBQs, fairs, a trip to the lake, and a full week at Walt Disney World! While our hearts may be full, our routine is not. :) However... Belle continues to do well, even though we have not devoted an adequate amount of time to our oral motor exercises. Her vocabulary is increasing steadily and so is her usage of full sentences. I used to keep a list of the words she uses, but I gave that up months ago. I would estimate that she has a voluntary verbal vocabulary of 600-800 words. Today at lunch she said, "Papa, can I have the honey please?" Other recent examples of sentences include statements such as "I am taller. I am a big kid now." and "I am Annabelle Kate. I am three and my birthday is September 13th. I live in Chillicothe, Missouri. My mom is Lanie and my dad is Brad."

A highlight of our month was getting to meet up with Monica Purdy, a TalkTools speech therapist and instructor, while we were in Disney World. Talk about fabulous service! Monica braved the crowds, heat, and her tight schedule to come work with us at Hollywood Studios. Although this was her first time meeting Monica, Belle worked hard and had a lot of fun too. We discovered some areas that we really need to focus on as we get back into our routine next month.

I am thrilled with Belle's development.  Thank you TalkTools for helping Belle find her voice! We love exploring life with her!

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And here is a playful conversation with Belle as she was heading to bed a few weeks ago, before we went to Disney World. (Sneak peek: "What do you want to do when you grow up? -This tall!" )

3 Years 11 Months

I will start with the good news! The good news is that Belle's older siblings are back in school so we are settling back into a routine with our oral motor exercises. My goal is to complete our TalkTools program four times per week. I am not sure if this will be 100% sufficient, but I do know that seven days per week is an unrealistic goal for us. Being back on track feels oh so good.

The bad news is that I don't think Belle's speech clarity has improved much this month. She is continuing to verbalize consistently throughout the day and is even coming up with some new clever thoughts and observations. However, I believe her articulation in phrases and short sentences is at a stand still. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. I will get to the obvious one first and that is our crazy, inconsistent summer schedule that messed up our oral motor exercise routine. I take full responsibility for this. The second reason is that Belle has been fighting a cold for this entire month and is completely congested. She is mouth breathing, slobbering a bit, and is feeling under the weather. I am hopeful that she gets cleared up soon.

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Here is our video this month of Belle working on her numbers to 20 with a puzzle as a visual aid for counting.

Cheers to back to school! Have a great weekend,

-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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