Tagged "articulation"


How Music Therapy Became Our Next Best Step

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

For those who have been following our story on this site, you know that Elizabeth has struggled with speech and language throughout her life due to her disorders of Dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder.

And because of this, we have had some form of speech therapy throughout most of her life. I say a form of therapy because early on we did a great deal of oral-motor work. Later in life, we worked on articulation for her words to be well understood.

When I remember hearing her say no words and now I hear her saying so many words, I know how far she has come. There are still misarticulations but these are habits now, not words she cannot say. And because of her disorders, sometimes volume control is an issue. Even taking complete full breaths needs to be worked on. I always say “we are a work in progress.” But truly, we all are.

The thing is, she is 19 years old. So traditional speech classes are not necessarily the best fit for Elizabeth due to her age and maturity. So for us, we needed to find the next best step. So when a former therapist steered us to the area of Music Therapy, we took a good serious look.

The look led to a meeting, then to a class, then to several classes and now we have officially welcomed this therapist to the ever growing and ever changing “Team Elizabeth.” The best thing is seeing how excited Elizabeth is to go to the class. She loves the therapist, she loves music and asks to sing every night (we get homework each week) and it could not be a better fit.

I, myself, did not know as much about music therapy when it was first mentioned. But with some research prior to going, I found out some really great things. So I wanted to share it with you. Please check out the American Music Therapy Association's website. There is so much information about what music therapy is and what a music therapist does.

I am so glad our therapist could take some time to answer a few questions. So here is the interview. I hope it helps someone who is looking for the next step or even to add something into their current speech schedule. I thought I would share them with you, in the words of our therapist herself.

Can you tell me a little about music therapy?

What is most important for me as a music therapist is the personal connection that I make with my clients. If there is not a feeling of trust and security between the therapist and the client, there is little hope for growth. I feel so fortunate to be able to use music as the tool in which I help people make change. Music is a motivator for so many people, which makes this form of therapy successful when other forms may not have been. It can be used with ultimately any population or any goal area as long as the person is motivated by music. Whether the goal is speech based, emotional, or range of motion, music therapy can be successful.

What kinds of speech or language difficulties does Music Therapy most likely help with?

The beauty of music therapy is that it can be incredibly versatile. Whatever the area of need may be for an individual, music can almost certainly be used to address these goals. Examples of how it may be utilized are pronunciation, by making words rhythmic, oral motor goals, by playing wind instruments or utilizing a preferred song to address difficult words. These are of course, not inclusive, as music therapy will look different for every client.

What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.

How would a person go about finding a music therapist?

On the American Music Therapy Association website, there is a directory to locate all certified music therapists.

-Michele Gianetti

 

Michele writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia. Follow her story since the beginning here.

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Elizabeth: Speech Goals

Posted by Deborah Grauzam on

Goals.

My wish list.

Two things that I have carried with me since Elizabeth was born. Actually, more like since the minute she was diagnosed.

Goals and my wish list.

I have carried these things around like two best friends. I checked in with them often, planned things around them, and happily checked things off of them when Elizabeth did something new.

They have never left me in all these years, and I feel, if I am being truthful, that they will probably always be with me for Elizabeth. But they have changed shape, that is for sure:

  • - I just hope she can say the last part of her words.
  • - I want her to get the chance and try to go into this class room.
  • - I hope she will talk to some kids on recess.
  • - I want to work with her on her writing.
  • - I want her to learn to text her friends.
  • - She needs to learn to sign her name in cursive.

Yes! It has changed, but the one thing on the list that continues to be there after each flip of the calendar year is her speech goals.

Speech is this inherent part of Elizabeth needs. Her dyspraxia is quite severe and as such we have fought long and hard for any and all gains in the speech realm. 

But with dyspraxia, those goals took extra work because those with dyspraxia form habits very quickly. Be they good habits, like saying a word correctly, or bad habits, like misarticulations. Well, these bad habits are SERIOUSLY hard to break.  It is like once they are formed, they become so strong!  So we learned to learn things correctly the first time. Perhaps we learned this a little late in the game but we learned it nonetheless.

Speech Goal #1

So back to the goals and wish list… right now in Elizabeth’s speech life, we are working on social speech. The kind of thing that requires, among other things:

  • - Thinking about what someone said.

  • - Answering on topic.

  • - Staying on topic.

  • - Allowing everyone a turn.

The dyspraxic mind typically has trouble with organization of thoughts and information, so these goals are kind of tough for Elizabeth when she is stressed or too much is going on in her life. Someone will ask her a question about X and she will answer about Y. I know why it is happening but the poor store clerk does not. So we talk to her a lot about focusing and staying on topic.

Speech Goal #2

Another fan favorite on the goals is for her to OPEN her mouth when she talks. For her, any anxiety shows itself in her talking as if her teeth are glued together. Try it now. It is very hard to be understood this way, and that is for those of us who do NOT have dyspraxia, so imagine how hard communication is for her. So she hears plenty of “Open your mouth, Elizabeth, breath and talk.”

Yes, I am sure she is having a ball with me on those days.

Speech Goal #3

Directly related to the above goal is the new addition of singing lessons for Elizabeth.  She loves, loves, loves music and loves to sing, so we contacted a wonderful lady to work with Elizabeth. It is not just singing, it includes:

  • - Muscle work for her jaw and mouth.

  • - Deep breathing exercises.

  • - Focusing.

  • - Projecting her voice.

  • - Even reading, as they read and sing current songs.

Here is something to know, for those of you with older children: it is so important in my opinion to keep things age appropriate. Something that boosts their self-esteem is huge!

Elizabeth loves this and there is follow-up work for us at home! So win-win!

It is odd to think about it but we don’t GO to speech therapy in a pure sense anymore, we work on goals each and every day. (If you ask Elizabeth, she would say every minute.) But we do not have regular speech classes. We check in with Mary often, readjust a goal or two but we do most of our work in social settings now. Because that is where we find the need.

And that brings me up to the last update for Elizabeth.   

Speech Goal #4

Find the need. Once you understand your child, their disorders or needs, then you can start to find ways to help them. And as their needs change, so does the therapy. In our case, these needs lead us out into the world now. Into the world to talk, to engage in proper conversation, to communicate thoughts and needs. Actually, it is a pretty big undertaking now but this is where we find ourselves.

Speaking of which, I can hear Elizabeth loudly complaining that her brother took the T.V. and it was not his turn. So, I will go now to referee an argument, an argument that likely would not have happened had we not done all we did. We will keep working and encouraging because she is worth it all.

-Michele Gianetti 

Michele writes for TalkTools Blog every month about her experience caring for Elizabeth, her daughter with Sensory Processing Disorder and Dyspraxia. Follow her story since the beginning here.

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