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!!!
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.
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.
Belle is 4! It's crazy to believe that we just celebrated her 4th birthday. This little gal is full of life, and we are so proud of her. Belle also started preschool this month. She goes three mornings per week, and is in a class with 11 other students, all of whom are typical kiddos. She is off to a really good start to her school year. Belle is always excited to go when I drop her off, and then after school she can usually tell me about 3-4 things about her morning- "played on the playground outside at recess, had animal crackers for snack, sang songs, and read a book." Those are some common recaps that I get. I am hopeful that the rest of the year goes as smoothly as her first 3 weeks!
In addition to TalkTools, our local school district has also encouraged us to start speech therapy this year once a week for 30 minutes. This is really the first time that Belle has done "traditional" speech therapy. This experience has really opened my eyes and has served as a great reminder that TalkTools is amazing!! I am so glad that we have worked with this program for the past 4 years. I am confident that Belle would not be communicating at her current level if we would have solely followed the traditional therapy models. This is not to say that traditional speech therapy is not beneficial; I think that Belle will learn some things along the way for sure. However, the oral motor piece that TalkTools provides has been key for us. It has been the key to Belle's success. One of the areas that we are really focusing on in Belle's oral motor program with TalkTools is the need for proper tongue positioning for her N, D, T , and S sounds. Too often her tongue wants to stay pinned to the bottom of her mouth and come forward when she is making these sounds. It is a work in progress. In addition, Belle is working on verbalizing every word in her sentences. Many times she wants to skip over certain words because it is easier for her and she lacks some motor planning in certain areas. For example, she may say, "I call daddy," instead of "I want to call daddy." Overall, I feel like we are moving in the right direction with this, even though some days are better than others. Cheers to you Miss Belle for a great year ahead!
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.