Tagged "TalkTools"


5.3 Years: The Coolest Speech Therapist

Posted by Casey Roy on

You know how there are some people who you just click with? That's how it is for Belle and Monica Mitchell, TalkTools speech therapist. Belle adores her. Not only does Monica have the absolute coolest toys, she is also super patient and fun. Our two hours together this month flew by, and Belle was sad to leave. However, we left our meeting with a refreshed program and new approaches to tackle errors in Belle's 's' and 'th' sounds. This month's videos show a few highlights. ... (read more)
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3 Years & 3 Years 1 Month: Happy Birthday, Little Fire Cracker!

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

3 Years

She is 3! Happy birthday to this little fire cracker.

3 years b 3 years a 3 years c 3 years d

Belle has MANY nicknames around our house including Beezy, Boppy, B-Belle, Belldozer, and Bops. She is very used to her nicknames and answers to all of them graciously . The nickname that I have been calling her lately, however, is Chatty Cathy. Three years ago I would have never believed that I would be calling her this. I did not believe that "chatty" would be ever be on my list of words to describe her. I will add a disclaimer to this by stating that she is not easily understood, especially if she breaks into long drawn out stories which can be minutes in length. If I have an idea of the subject matter, I can kind of follow along, but if not, I am lost. I remind her to slow down quite often as well as ask her a question about what she is talking about so I can try to catch on.

Although Belle's longer stories are harder to understand, many of her single words are improving in articulation. During our last session with Whitney from TalkTools, Belle was resistant to working on a particular speech app. Whitney suggested moving her into the next difficulty level and that has helped tremendously. It is more interesting to her and she is doing much better. In addition, Belle has improved dramatically with her current horn level. See for yourself:

I do want to add that Belle had a dental appliance called a "quad helix" attached less than a week ago. It is attached to her molars and we go back to the dentist's office every four weeks for adjustment. The goal of the appliance is to widen her upper jaw to eliminate her under bite. She has done really well with it, and it hasn't slowed down her speech in any way.

Cheers to a fabulous three years! I can't wait to see what is in store for this little gal!

3 Years 1 Month

Attached are some recent pictures including Belle playing with some neighbor cats, finishing up her first ever dance class, and having fun with Whitney Pimentel, our TalkTools guru

TalkTools | Annabelle 3 Years 3 years 1 month b 3 years 1 month c

Our month started out on a great note as we were able to meet Whitney Pimentel, our TalkTools Speech-Language Pathologist, for a full evaluation. Whitney allowed us lots of time to cover all the areas of Belle's oral motor abilities, concerns, and areas where improvement is needed. Belle had a fun time too! We were able to update her complete program and learn about new tools and tactile cues to encourage appropriate sound expression.

When Belle slows down, her articulation is improving. When she talks quickly, she seems to lack in skills that isolate her jaw, lips, and tongue muscles effectively.

Belle's dental appliance is still in place so we have some additional drool, as well as a chronic runny nose that doesn't help her breathing ability either. Even with these challenging factors, her progress remains steady. We will get there! It is definitely a journey. Belle's spirit and tenacity for better articulation remains strong. She loves to talk and has so much to say. She has lots of energy and wants to chit chat all the time. She keeps me on my toes!

-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 10&11 Months: Five Word Phrases!

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

2 Years 10 Months

Summer has gotten the best of us, in a good way. We have been busy with family reunions, lake trips, and a long road trip to a beach vacation. Belle enjoyed each of these adventures immensely, but I have to admit that we have not been consistent with our oral motor exercises this month. With that being said, Belle continues to be very chatty and has some new favorite words and phrases including "boat, beach, snack, dinner ready," and "my turn"!

In addition to our adventures, we have also been potty training. I thought Belle would slow down in her speech since I have been pushing this pretty hard but she hasn't. We have been working on day training for one month now and she is doing really well. "Potty, pee pee, and poopy" are, of course, frequent words in her vocabulary as well (as is "no no Mommy!").

Here are some recent pictures of Miss Belle, and pictures that include Annabelle's big sister Lyla doing their "mean, sad, and excited" faces.

2 years 10 months a square 2 years 10 months b square 2 years 10 months c square 2 years 10 months d square 2 years 10 months e square 2 years 10 months f square

And here is Belle chatting, singing and counting with me one evening before bed.

2 Years 11 Months

 

How is it possible that Miss Belle will be turning 3 next month? I think she has made great strides during her second year of life. Her vocalizations have really come on strong, which is probably her biggest accomplishment (in my opinion ;)). Although we are still striving for better articulation, Belle continues to have more and more to say each day. Belle is frequently using 2-3-4 word phrases but I am starting to get some five word phrases every day including, "Look at my shirt, Mommy" and "Burke back home, eat lunch."

My motivation for doing the TalkTools program is that I want to help Belle develop her ability to better communicate with others. We know that she has many thoughts she wants to share, her own perspective on events, and lots of insight into her daily world. She loves people and enjoys building relationships, which is founded upon communication. I am grateful for the skills she has developed thus far and look forward to the year ahead. Thank you Whitney and all of the staff at TalkTools for making this possible!

Below are a few recent pictures of Belle enjoying our state fair.

2 years 11 months b 2 years 11 months a cropped

And here is a video of Belle saying some of her common phrases, while "doing" her hair in front of the mirror. She is just too busy these days :D.

Have a great day!

-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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18 Months: Chewing With Her New Teeth

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

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Annabelle is continuing to do well with her straws and eating. Several of her teeth are coming in all at the same time so she is getting to eat a bigger variety of foods, which she enjoys. We continue to do her OPT exercises twice a day. She doesn't love them, but I try to make it somewhat enjoyable by singing songs and being goofy with her.

Annabelle playing

Belle loves to brush her teeth like her older brother and sister. Her other favorite thing is to read books. If I haven't heard from her in a little while, I always know that I can find her in her room looking through all her books! She has learned 10 words now and lots of signs. She is cruising on everything and will hopefully be walking soon!

TalkTools | Annabelle 18 Months

Here is a video of Belle eating a very chewy chocolate chip granola bar. It was her first day to eat one of these, and I thought she did well. Isn’t her progress amazing?

Here she is working with her horn. Her last blow really shows her improvements with her exercises.

-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 →

17 Months: Attending a Course and Improving Her Exercises

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

I recently attended the “Three-Part Treatment Plan for Oral Placement Therapy” and it was great. Monica was the presenter and I really learned a lot. It helped to show me what exercises and goals we will continue to progress towards. I know that Belle has a long way to go, but being in a routine of daily exercises for the past 13 months has been a great way to improve.

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Belle is doing well and loves to feed herself, as you will notice in the video. She eats all kinds of foods but still has open mouth posture most of the time. We have gotten better with our exercises and her tongue continues to stay in her mouth 99% of the time while feeding. I know I need to continue to work on strengthening her jaw which is what our oral placement exercises target each day.

-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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