Tagged "Tongue Thrust"


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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10 Months: Level 3 Baby Food, Puffs & Yogurt Melts

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Belle is continuing right along beautifully with her therapy. We have introduced Level 3 baby food to Belle, and she seems to be doing fine with the little chunks of food in it. She enjoys the comradery at our house at meal time with her big brother and sister. She also enjoys making a mess, but that’s a typical part of raising children. She appears to be chewing on the little chunks of food like she is supposed to, just like we taught her with the TalkTools Finger Cuff. And she really loves her Gerber Cheeto puffs. We ran out of the Gerber puffs so we videoed her eating the baby yogurt melts, which are a bit smaller. She is doing really well with chomping her snacks. I alternated placing the melts in the back right and left sides of her mouth on her molars, and she immediately would start eating away. It is such a joy watching her develop and grow.

We also introduced the TalkTools Straw #1 to Belle this month. The first day she tried it she did great and took several drinks. It is not always that easy, however. Sometimes she refuses to have anything to do with the straw whatsoever. It’s a day by day kind of thing. We try all different types of liquid in the straw including milk, juice, and water. I don’t let myself get too discouraged on days that we don’t make progress. She has done such an amazing job so far in her therapy. Even her mouth posture has good and bad days. I continually work to keep her nose suctioned out so she’ll avoid mouth breathing. And on her bad days, her mouth is open but her tongue typically stays in, which is great. We have a lot to work on, but I know that we have already come a long way!

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9 Months: Learning To Chomp, Chew & Swallow

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

As Belle gets to be 9 months old, we are seeing progress in her therapy. She is getting more accustomed to her Oral Placement Therapy (OPT) and has even tried to help during the chomping exercises. She still fights me just a little, but we get right back on track and continue right along. She is growing up so fast and we can see the progress she is making. Plus she continues to smile and laugh, which tells me that she loves her therapy too.

The progress that Belle is showing during her feedings is very heartwarming. She loves the fruit we introduced this month and begs for more. I had to keep up with her eating. Feeding her a little quicker helps her learn to swallow her food faster instead of holding it in her mouth. This makes her Dad and I very happy to see how well she is eating and swallowing. She is enjoying eating and is getting better by the day.  And because she has been showing such great progress, we introduced puffs this month. We can tell she wasn’t exactly sure what to do with the puffs. I placed it to the back of her jaw on her molars to show her she is supposed to chomp them just like she does with the many tools, such as the Toothette, Finger Cuff and Yellow Chewy Tube, we use during her therapy. I think she was getting the hang of it. I was a little unsure if that was the right thing to do. But after some feedback from our TalkTools Therapist, Whitney, we learned that Belle is doing exactly with what we want her to do. The next step is to introduce veggie sticks or strips of waffles and pancakes for me to hold while she does her chomping, chewing and swallowing.

-Lanie Beetsma

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6 Months: Eating Pureed Foods

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

In continuation of her progress at 6 months, we introduced pureed foods to Belle. The trick was getting her used to a flattened spoon. We had her get the puree off the spoon and keep it in her mouth and then swallow. She did a good job. We are teaching Belle to chew and swallow and to not push her food back out of her mouth with her tongue. But she kept pushing her food out with her tongue. At this point, I took some of the puree in a little syringe and inserted the food into the back of her mouth on both sides of her jaw to teach her to chew and swallow. I think she really liked the carrots because this worked and she did a great job with this method.

As I mentioned earlier, children with Down syndrome have a tendency to carry their tongue in a forward position which presents as an enlarged tongue in the tonsil area. This is a common characteristic and causes problems with feeding and speech clarity. With the program plan we received from our TalkTools therapist, Whitney, we are learning to help Belle fight that instinct, so she can chew and swallow her food like normal. We are so proud of the progress she is making and enjoy seeing the continued progression. Unconditional love really has a whole new meaning when it comes to helping and learning with our daughter.

-Lanie Beetsma

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