Tagged "straw hierarchy"


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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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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11 Months: Doing a wonderful job at drinking & eating

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

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We are so proud! Annabelle is 11 months old and is doing a wonderful job. We really have no cause for concerns because she has taken so well to her therapy. She is typically quite happy when we do the exercises with her. I am continuing to do her oral motor exercises 2-3 times a day. But Belle is still a little stubborn when it comes to the TalkTools Straw #1. When she cooperates, she does really well. I’ll start her on the TalkTools Straw #2 soon. Also, she loves her Infa Trainer Cup with yellow lid.

Belle is continuing to do an excellent job with chomping and eating. We really have no concerns with her eating either. She continues to love her Gerber Cheeto puffs. We cannot feed her fast enough with those things. Actually she loves to chew on whatever she can. Her eating is going great. She gets a little hyper while eating at times, especially when her brother and sister are around as her audience. We love her spirit and are excited that she doesn’t get annoyed with her modified eating tactics. It’s really all she knows so it makes it easier. Her mouth posture is typically still pretty good. Her mouth is still open a lot of time, but she is keeping her tongue inside about 99% of the time. We are so proud of our daughter and cannot believe how far we have come in the last 5 months. She is getting so big and growing into a happy little girl. Her smiles and laughter are contagious.

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