Tagged "Gum chewing"


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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2 Years 2&3 Months: Becoming Chatty

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

2 Years 2 Months

Belle is doing well and has really been enjoying being 2 :) She was a clown for Halloween and loved everything about that holiday. She even let me paint her face! Another picture shows her having fun at an outdoor lighting display, and the last is of Belle watching television while chomping on a TalkTools tool that she has graduated from. I try to keep her old tools on hand for long car trips as well. This allows her to get a few more jaw exercises in.

2 years 2 months a square TalkTools | Annabelle 2.2 & 2.3 months 2 years 2 months c square

Earlier this month, I noticed that her verbal skills had leveled off a little. She was verbalizing less and had failed to add any new words that I could recognize. During this time, she also was fighting a little stomach bug that seemed to take her just a little bit longer than the rest of us to recover from. I am excited to report that she is feeling much better and talking a lot more again. Her new word this week is turtle! She is also starting to call out colors, especially blue and pink. We have moved her to a "big girl" bed and she LOVES to chat while in bed, when she is supposed to sleeping, of course :)

Here's two recent videos of Belle. One is of her chewing gum by herself and the other is of her looking through a picture book and saying some family names.

2 Years 3 Months

Attached is a video of Belle doing her "kisses" exercises for her TalkTools oral motor therapy. Belle changes her mind quite frequently on which exercises she likes and which ones she doesn't, but the kisses have been high on her list for the past few days. Although Belle has been quite chatty lately, I don't know if we've made tons of progress this month in regards to new "words" or clearer speech. I will admit, however, that with the holidays, traveling, and various events, I have been pressed for time and haven't been able to give Belle very much focused individual time. Once the school year gets back underway, I know we will get back on track.

Earlier this month, we were able to meet with Whitney in person and update our current plan. Although Skype calls are helpful, in person is way better!!! I am still trying to get the hang of transitioning from just "exercises" to using the exercises to create a desired vocal expression. I will need continued help with this :) Our updated plan has several new tactics including new straws with thicker liquids, longer duration with horns, and continued gum chewing progression. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I am confident that we are taking the right steps to get there.

Belle continues to be happy, overall healthy, and remains very curious. She is independent, playful, and adds so much joy to those around her. I am so proud of this little gal. People often mention how lucky Belle is to be born into our family. I usually just nod and say thank you, but the truth is that we are the lucky ones. She is my greatest teacher and has changed my life in so many positive ways.

2 years 3 months a square TalkTools | Annabelle 2.3 years 2 years 3 months c square 2 years 3 months d square

Have a wonderful week!

-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.

p.s.: We have been posting deferred updates of Annabelle, but now we are aiming to catch up with reality.

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