Heather Vukelich, MS, CCC-SLP, TalkTools Level 4 therapist and owner of Happy Kids Therapy in Danville, CA specializes in treating speech and feeding issues in individuals with Down Syndrome. She started seeing her client Anna, who has Down syndrome, three months ago and already Anna has made progress. Here is what Heather writes about Anna:
"What does an OPT program look like?
This is beautiful Anna. She started her OPT (Oral Placement Therapy) program three months ago and has made incredible speech gains because of it. She is now starting to pucker her lips for /oo, oh/ sounds. She has increased her stability, strength and activation of her oral muscles greatly as seen when she speaks with much more oral movement. Her mother practices her routine 1x per day religiously and has paired it with the See and Learn app made by Down Syndrome Education Enterprises."
Anna using the Bite Tube Set independently (ensuring she keeps jaw alignment)
*Note from Heather: "It's important to note at TalkTools we teach adult directed tools only... however... sometimes to get the child’s cooperation I let them use and explore tools as long as they are using correctly and/or without harm to their goals."
Here Heather uses bite tube hierarchy with Anna. They use bilateral tubes because Anna is unable to keep her jaw alignment unilaterally.
Here Anna uses Horn #3 to increase abdominal grading for loudness and endurance for longer utterances of speech.
Here Anna practices bubble blowing with jaw support to maintain jaw alignment.
Tongue lateralization feeding task - food is placed at the canine (which is as far as her tongue will lateralize) and her head is held steady to ensure dissociation of tongue/jaw.
Congratulations on all of your progress, Anna! <3