Tagged "straw drinking"


5.9 Years: Summer Setback is Totally Okay!

Posted by Casey Roy on

Well, it's been quite the month for Annabelle with dance recitals, T-ball games, horseback riding lessons, summer school and being dragged to all of her siblings' sporting events. I am prefacing this post with that blurb about how "busy we've been" to make up for my lacking behind with our oral motor exercises. I am ashamed to admit that we have barely done them at all this month. I am even going to admit that I can tell Annabelle's speech has been slipping a bit because of it.

 

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19 Months: 18 Words & 18 Signs

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Smiling Annabelle | TalkTools Blog

Belle is starting to imitate words more which I am excited about. To date, she has approximately 18 words and 18 signs. She is very animated and quite dramatic at times :) Annabelle continues to eat well and is doing great with her new Straw #4. She has improved tremendously with her "chomping" exercises in the past few months. I can tell that her jaw has gotten a lot stronger. When it comes to our horn exercises, however, it's a power struggle of who gets to hold the horn. Her pouty face typically wins or at least initiates a compromise. She has no problem making a noise with it, but we have a long way to go until we can track 25 breaths through it in a row. Overall, I think Belle is making great progress. I am really proud of that joyful little gal!

Above is Annabelle doing her "chomping" exercises right before bed. I know that her sitting on my bed isn't the ideal place to practice these but it is a part of her bedtime routine and she is really used to it. It's also our little time to hang out together and giggle a little bit too. Her jaw strength has really improved over the past few months. Prior to this time, it was a struggle for her to "chomp" even one or two times, and as you can see in the video, she has come a long way.

This video is of the very first day Belle tried to blow bubbles. She did great! This is one of her favorite activities (and one of her brother's too as you will hear in the background). I am amazed by all the things that she can do. She is capable of so much at 19 months!

-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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15 Months: Annabelle's Christmas Update!

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

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Annabelle has seen incredible improvement over the past couple of months. Since her last update, Annabelle is continuing to eat table foods and drink from her Straw Cup using the Straw #2 in the Straw Hierarchy. As many of you know, her progress and work with the Straw Hierarchy is right on track. Using the hierarchy appropriately will teach her proper tongue retraction, controlled tongue movement, and grading. Watch the clip below to see her in action.

This next (adorable) clip shows Belle's impressive work with thicker, tougher foods. In the video, you can see that she is using proper bolus control to keep the food in between her teeth, while also keeping an upright posture and chewing with her mouth closed. Chewing solid table foods at this stage shows her therapy efforts with TalkTools have increased her muscle strength and control.

You might have to turn up your speakers to hear everything in the next clip, but it is an excellent example of Bell's drinking progress with the hierarchy discussed above.

With every new post we see amazing work from Annabelle and her Mother. We are nothing but proud of her accomplishments and  can't wait for her next update. 

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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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12 Months: She Loves Her Straws

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

We have come a long way in the past several months, particularly since we teamed up with TalkTools to help provide therapy for our daughter Annabelle, who has Down syndrome. We love the progress our daughter has made in the past 12 months. She is so happy and lively, and frankly, we are too. She continues to eat the pureed food with little chunks with no problems. The oral placement therapy exercises have really paid off with teaching her to chomp and chew her food. And she loves her straws. She drinks out of them at every meal. Belle is even getting much better at feeding herself her little snacks.

We plan to continue with all the therapy tips and tricks that we learned so far from TalkTools and our wonderful therapist, Whitney Pimentel. Annabelle seems to be growing and developing so quickly but will continue to need our help and guidance in her eating and drinking. As her parents, we have enjoyed all the extra time needed to help our daughter. Unconditional love from her Dad and I is a big part of her therapy too.  Just seeing her so happy and smiling and laughing truly shows that we are doing something right. We know we have a long way to go, but with everything we have learned over the past several months with Belle’s oral motor therapy, we know we have the means and tools to help her. Belle’s progress so far says it all.

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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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