Tagged "Belle"

20 Months: Eating Gummies & Using a Cup

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

TalkTools Blog | Annabelle 20 months old

Belle is now 20 months old and is continuing to do well. She has started walking so she has been focusing a lot on mastering that skill. Her talking has slowed down a little bit but she has picked a few new signs and words this month. I am pleased with the tone that I see around her mouth. I am even starting to see some dimples appear!

You can see Belle drinking out of her purple Recessed Lid Cup from TalkTools above. She absolutely loves this cup. She thinks she is a really big kid when she gets to use it as she sees other kids get to drink out of their cups on their own.

There is also a picture of Belle sleeping. Even though she has open mouth posture during some of her day, she typically sleeps with her mouth closed and breaths out her nose. She absolutely hates breathing out of her mouth at night time. I know this is a good thing!  

Belle Using Her Purple Cup & Chewing Very Chewy Fruit Snacks

Belle Working with Her Horn Before Bed Time

We haven't made it to 25 blows on Horn #1, which is our goal, but she is consistently getting more than 10 so we are getting there!

-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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5 Months: First Honey Bear Therapy Session

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

After Belle’s initial evaluation with Whitney Pimentel, TalkTools Oral Placement Speech and Feeding Therapist, we knew right away that this was the partnership we had been looking for in effort to provide our daughter with the best opportunity for success. We are so excited to have found a partner in this new journey! Having a daughter with Down Syndrome does require some extra time and effort, so we wanted to make sure that we were working smarter, and not just harder. After the initial meeting, Whitney put together a detailed plan of Belle's program, and we quickly placed our first order for the supplies and the tools we needed in order to assist with feeding and drinking. We have committed to the TalkTools program to provide the best opportunity for Belle to maximize her oral motor abilities, feeding and drinking skills, and speaking capabilities in the future.

I do also want to mention that the exercises and tools are easy to use. We have two other young children in our family so we do not have hours of extra time to devote to an additional therapy regime. Luckily, we don't have to worry about that. Instead, we have a compact program that we incorporate into our daily routine.

One of the first steps in helping our daughter was to introduce the Honey Bear. One important thing to note is that all of the TalkTools kits and programs come with detailed instructions that are easily understood.  The Honey Bear encouraged Belle to learn to drink out of a straw and allowed me the ability to control the flow of liquid into her mouth. I was so nervous about squirting too much into her mouth, but it was so easy and she did GREAT!! (You may even notice Belle's cheering squad in the background. AKA... her 5 year old sister.) To begin, I showed her that milk was going to come out of the straw and how that was going to feel. And the second time we tried it, she drank the milk out of the straw all by herself! We were so excited. I even called Whitney to share our good news. Belle repeatedly sucked through the straw several more times and didn’t even make too much of a mess. She swallowed like she was supposed to. We were so proud of our daughter on her first attempt at drinking out of a straw!

We know we have a long way to go yet, but just seeing Belle taking the first step in learning to drink through a straw is so rewarding, and we know we made the right choice in her therapy. We are so proud of her and look forward to continuing on this path of success with TalkTools.

-Lanie Beetsma

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Introduction to Annabelle and Lanie

Posted by Admin TalkTools on

I am not going to lie… I cried a lot during my pregnancy. A LOT! I was scared, and wondered why my daughter was the one who had Down’s syndrome while people all around me were having these adorable, perfect, and healthy little babies. I can honestly say that having Annabelle is 1,000 times better than being pregnant with her. My tears have dried up. They have been replaced with a commitment to love her, teach her, and grow with her. I always knew that I would love her, but after she was born, I was reminded of how unconditional it would be. I am truly looking forward to my future with her. I can’t wait to watch her grow and thrive.

So far, life isn't any different having a baby with Down syndrome. We have had a few extra doctor appointments, since Annabelle does have two holes in her heart that will need repair, but other than that, nothing has changed much. Our life is good, and happiness is still a choice, just like it was before she was born.

For the past few days, I have looked into her precious eyes and know that she needs me. She needs me for comfort, for food, and for love. And honestly, I need her too. She brings me joy. Her smile melts my heart and fills that empty place in my soul that was so terrified that my life would never be the same. Today I am thankful for all three of my wonderful children. They keep me grounded. They give my life purpose.

–Lanie, mom to Annabelle


(The above introductory is an excerpt taken from Dr. Julia Kinder Blog written by Lanie, mom of Annabelle and Dr. Julia Kinder.)

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