Tagged "Monica Purdy"


6 Years 1 Month: No Sugar Coating Here!

Posted by Casey Roy on

Annabelle just wrapped up her 1st quarter of kindergarten!

Although she asks me daily if she "has the day off," I know that somewhere deep down she really loves school. She is always happy when I pick her up and has many stories to share.
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5 & 5.1 Years: Getting Easier To Understand

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

5 Years

How in the world is this little gal 5 years old? Seriously. It has hit me pretty hard that I don't have any little ones at home anymore. We are on to the next stage in life.

As I look back on the past 5 years, I am grateful for how Belle has progressed and grown in many ways. However, I also have the full realization that we still have a lot of work to do. Sometimes all the stuff left on our "to do plate" feels overwhelming, and I question whether or not it will ever be completed. One day at a time, right? I guess we are all truly a work in progress.

On days when it seems like we are sitting idle, It helps me to think about how far we've come. Five years ago I spent my time thinking about if Belle would ever be able to communicate with me, and now I shush her multiple times a day because she won't stop talking (especially when her siblings are trying to talk). And when I came home in the middle of a pretty bad thunderstorm a few days ago, Belle greeted me at the door, saying "me woke up from my nap and me freakin' out mom!" This is progress 😊.

Happy 5th birthday to this little light of mine!

TalkTools | Annabelle 5 years TalkTools | Annabelle 5 years TalkTools | Annabelle 5 years TalkTools | Annabelle 5 years

5 Years 1 Month

There are some months that I sit down to write our monthly recap and think 'what in the world even happened this month?' This was one of those months.

As I look back through our calendar, I do see that we managed to have some fun. 😊 To kick off the month, Annabelle's Army (comprised of our awesome team of supporters) participated in Kansas City's Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk for the 5th time. We always have a great time at that event.

Belle was selected to be in a photo shoot for Target, so if that ever goes to print, we will post pics. The photo shoot was in Minneapolis so we drove 6.5 hours to be there. It was a memorable experience for sure.

We met with Monica Mitchell this month to update our TalkTools plan. She is such an amazing supporter and therapist and got us back on track with our oral motor program. 

We had parent/teacher conferences this month for Belle's PreK class. The teacher began the meeting by asking me what kind of expectations she should have for Belle, since she has Down syndrome. She has never had a child in her class with Down syndrome before, and Belle is the only child in the class with a "disability" (if you want to call it that). I responded to her question by saying that at this point, we intend for her to have the exact same expectations for Belle as she does for everyone other student in the class. Luckily, we were on the same page because her 1st quarter progress report was based on those exact standards. Belle is doing well. She scores the highest in the cognitive/academic area which includes ABCs, colors, numbers, shapes, etc. She needs the most work in the fine motor skills, especially with cutting. Belle's teacher said her speech is getting easier to understand, especially when she slows down. Of course, we will continue to work on this so she can develop relationships with peers and can continue to express what she knows.

TalkTools | Annabelle 5.1 years TalkTools | Annabelle 5.1 years TalkTools | Annabelle 5.1 years

More videos are available on TalkTools YouTube channel.

Happy Fall!

Much love, 

-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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4.9 Years: Full Summer Mode!

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

We are in full summer mode here! Belle has been enjoying some horseback riding lessons, swimming, cheering on her siblings at baseball games, and finishing up a great dancing year with a big dance recital. The recital took up a substantial part of the beginning of our summer, so that's where all our pictures came from this month.

TalkTools | Annabelle 4.9 years TalkTools | Annabelle 4.9 years TalkTools | Annabelle 4.9 years

Belle is continuing to grow her vocabulary daily. I love hearing her use intangible words like "exhausted, probably, beautiful, tomorrow, etc." In regards to her oral motor exercises, I am most impressed by her progress with Horn #6 this month. Her duration and breath/volume behind it is great! Monica moved us up to horn #6 last month because it coincides with the tongue retraction we are striving for in this part of Belle's speech development.

I love how TalkTools has developed so many tools and exercises that meet the needs of where people are in their journey. When Belle has a new speech challenge that arises (that really stresses me out), Monica Mitchell remains calm, cool, and collected. She has seen it all! And there is no issue that is too big in her eyes. I love that reassurance.

-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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4.8 Years: Working on Tongue Placement

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Here is Belle working on her spoon slurp exercises:

And here working on proper tongue placement for sounds /t, d, n, l/ with the help of bite blocks.

Belle had a fabulous time at our in-depth session with Monica Mitchell, our TalkTools speech therapist, this month. We worked through our entire oral motor program and assessed Belle's progress as well as her needs at this time. Belle is doing well in many articulation areas but does not have consistent tongue retraction that allows for proper /s, t, d, and n/ sounds. We are working with these sounds in isolation as well as at the single word level.

TalkTools | Annabelle 4.8 years TalkTools | Annabelle 4.8 years

TalkTools | Annabelle 4.8 years TalkTools | Annabelle 4.8 years

Belle continues to verbally communicate non-stop. She is even becoming impatient when she feels she is not getting to talk as much as someone else. "Excuse me, stop talking. It's my turn to talk," is a request I hear from her on a daily basis. Belle finished up her first year of preschool this year and will begin Pre-K in the fall. Cheers to a great summer! Belle is looking forward to horseback riding lessons, swimming, and playing outside. 

-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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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 →
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