3 Years 6 Months
This month I decided to include videos of Belle doing her oral motor exercises. They are not super exciting videos, but that's what "work" looks like sometimes. I know we have to put in the time to see the results. And as I have said so many times previously, it's absolutely worth it! At times her progress with certain exercises may seem slow, but then I will refer back to old videos and can't believe how far she has come! For example, in the videos you will see her use the green tool (the Tongue Tip Lateralization Tool). It has a small metal ball that slides on a wire. When we first started using this, she was asked just to bite down and find the ball with the tip of her tongue. Our next progression was to bite down and move the ball from the front to the back. Now, she is working to move the ball from the front to the back and then stop it in the middle. I think it's pretty cool that she can do it! It takes some concentration for sure. You can also see her work with Bite Blocks.
Belle is continuing to express herself in all areas. She recently had her first dance recital where she got to perform "I'm a little teapot" with approximately 30 other preschoolers. We also just returned from a family vacation to the beach. Belle absolutely loves the beach.
3 Years 7 Months
I have enjoyed witnessing Belle’s ornery personality take center stage this month. There has been numerous times where her quick wit has surprised me. “You have chocolate? Me love chocolate.” It’s not always this sweet though. She also has some goofy names to call people, with the worst being “you a bo bo face ghost.” When she calls you that, you know it’s bad J. Actually, she says it to be playful and then she wants you to chase her.
Her vocalizations have not slowed down in any way. She is full of things to say constantly, unless she gets in trouble and then, it’s pure silence until she comes around to say “sorry.”
In regards to our oral motor therapy program, we have started working with Liz Smithson at TalkTools. We are excited for this partnership and look forward to many great things ahead. We have made a few modifications to our exercises and are going to work on perfecting some of Belle’s basic sounds. Since our ultimate goal is clear speech, we have to make sure the basic fundamentals are in place before we can go on to the more challenging sounds. Even though it’s not always fun to take a step back or sideways, I do know it’s for the best. Annabelle’s speech has gotten away from her in a way. She talks quickly and goes on and on and on. So, we need to slow her down and take a good look at the building blocks of it all.
In the video this month, I have included Belle working on some speech worksheets. You may understand some or most of what she is saying in the video but now we are breaking it down to make sure all the pieces of the puzzle are in place… the lips, the jaw, the posture, the tongue, etc.
In other news, Belle gets her palatal expander out next month! Hopefully this will mean less slobber and better articulation!!!
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.