Tagged "Tongue Retraction"


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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13 Months: First Try At The Horn Hierarchy

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

At 13 months Belle has grown into having quite the personality. She finds it funny that we keep videoing her. She laughs and tries to follow the camera. We really have to keep up with her while feeding her pureed foods and puffs because she thinks this “camera thing” is quite the novelty.  While she is looking for the camera that her Daddy is holding, I try to get her to stay still long enough to eat. We don’t have any problems with her eating the pureed foods or chomping on her puffs. Annabelle definitely has gotten the hang of it and loves to eat.

As Belle is getting older and progressing in her therapy, we have moved on to the TalkTools Horn Hierarchy. With the horns we are teaching her how to properly form her mouth around the horn and blow air through Horn #1 and make noise. You know how kids love to make noise. She does really well with getting the air to go through Horn #1, and every now and again a noise will come out. We are supposed to hold the Horns for her, but I do let her hold it herself from time to time and she thinks she has really gotten a hold of something great.. It’s a learning process for the both of us and the goal is for Belle to “exercise” the muscles required to produce sounds and to assist with lip closure and tongue retraction. Belle is getting used to it, and it is only a matter of time before she will start making a lot of noise with these horns.

-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 →

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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7 Months: Oral Placement Therapy (OPT) Starts

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

At 7 months, Belle continued to be doing well. She was eating from her flattened spoon really consistently. She’s done fine with the Honey Bear but hasn’t advanced much, which happens to be mostly my fault. I typically was only getting a chance to work with her 5 times a week or so. Her tongue retraction was really good, but she kept having an open mouth posture a lot of the time. This might sound a little discouraging, but we don’t see it that way. Her Dad and I are still so proud of her and her progress, and we will keep moving along.

Moving right along with Belle’s therapy, we started on her Oral Placement Therapy (OPT). Before every feeding and therapy session, I wake up and tone the muscles around her mouth with touch. I start with a soft blanket and massage her jaws and play with her to get her relaxed and interested. She loves when I start massaging her with my fingers. Her laugh and smile are amazing to watch when she gets going. I work through a list of tools to help stimulate her muscles. I start with a toothette to massage the inside of her mouth on both sides, then go to my pinkie finger and do the same thing. I’m not sure which of those she likes better, but her smile tells me she is enjoying it.  Next, I move onto the TalkTools’ Finger Cuff and the Yellow Chewy Tube to get Belle to chomp on my finger. She does a great job chomping down on the tools on both sides of her mouth. My finger can tell you that. I’m so happy to see her getting the hang of her therapy and progressing like she is. I know we are making progress and have a ways to go, but it makes my heart melt just seeing her smile and laugh while we are working with her.

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-Lanie Beetsma

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