Tagged "chewing skills"


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.

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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.

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10 Months: Level 3 Baby Food, Puffs & Yogurt Melts

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Belle is continuing right along beautifully with her therapy. We have introduced Level 3 baby food to Belle, and she seems to be doing fine with the little chunks of food in it. She enjoys the comradery at our house at meal time with her big brother and sister. She also enjoys making a mess, but that’s a typical part of raising children. She appears to be chewing on the little chunks of food like she is supposed to, just like we taught her with the TalkTools Finger Cuff. And she really loves her Gerber Cheeto puffs. We ran out of the Gerber puffs so we videoed her eating the baby yogurt melts, which are a bit smaller. She is doing really well with chomping her snacks. I alternated placing the melts in the back right and left sides of her mouth on her molars, and she immediately would start eating away. It is such a joy watching her develop and grow.

We also introduced the TalkTools Straw #1 to Belle this month. The first day she tried it she did great and took several drinks. It is not always that easy, however. Sometimes she refuses to have anything to do with the straw whatsoever. It’s a day by day kind of thing. We try all different types of liquid in the straw including milk, juice, and water. I don’t let myself get too discouraged on days that we don’t make progress. She has done such an amazing job so far in her therapy. Even her mouth posture has good and bad days. I continually work to keep her nose suctioned out so she’ll avoid mouth breathing. And on her bad days, her mouth is open but her tongue typically stays in, which is great. We have a lot to work on, but I know that we have already come a long way!

IMG_3080-10months

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9 Months: Learning To Chomp, Chew & Swallow

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

As Belle gets to be 9 months old, we are seeing progress in her therapy. She is getting more accustomed to her Oral Placement Therapy (OPT) and has even tried to help during the chomping exercises. She still fights me just a little, but we get right back on track and continue right along. She is growing up so fast and we can see the progress she is making. Plus she continues to smile and laugh, which tells me that she loves her therapy too.

The progress that Belle is showing during her feedings is very heartwarming. She loves the fruit we introduced this month and begs for more. I had to keep up with her eating. Feeding her a little quicker helps her learn to swallow her food faster instead of holding it in her mouth. This makes her Dad and I very happy to see how well she is eating and swallowing. She is enjoying eating and is getting better by the day.  And because she has been showing such great progress, we introduced puffs this month. We can tell she wasn’t exactly sure what to do with the puffs. I placed it to the back of her jaw on her molars to show her she is supposed to chomp them just like she does with the many tools, such as the Toothette, Finger Cuff and Yellow Chewy Tube, we use during her therapy. I think she was getting the hang of it. I was a little unsure if that was the right thing to do. But after some feedback from our TalkTools Therapist, Whitney, we learned that Belle is doing exactly with what we want her to do. The next step is to introduce veggie sticks or strips of waffles and pancakes for me to hold while she does her chomping, chewing and swallowing.

-Lanie Beetsma

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