Tagged "TalkTools Therapy"


Success Story | Cora Rose

Posted by Admin TalkTools on

Miss Cora Rose, a TalkTools® client since an infant, will be featured in a 60-second Super Bowl commercial tomorrow night!

She has been modeling for a shoe company called Livie and Luca under the "Changing the Face of Beauty" movement (pictures below) ... And now is featured in a SunTrust commercial "Hold Your Breath" (video below), kicking off a movement to help millions of Americans move from financial stress to financial confidence. It's a huge win for people with special needs.

Cora, her family and her TalkTools® therapist Heather (Peterson) Vukelich are part of an organization called the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area. Heather works inside the doors of the organization, and Cora and her family are members. The organization's mission is "to empower, inspire and support people with Down syndrome, their families and the community that serves them, while fostering awareness and acceptance in all areas of life".

TalkTools | Cora Rose  TalkTools | Cora Rose TalkTools | Cora Rose

Photo credit: Livie & Luca's Spring 2016 Catalog shoot

Read her story in her mom and therapist's words:

"I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of Cora’s ride :)   She and her mother Kerri are truly a blessing to me, and have taught me SO much.  That’s the best part of a job as a therapist… You start out thinking you are helping others, when in reality it’s the children and families that teach us the most about ourselves and life :)

Cora is a 4 year old little girl who is constantly breaking the mold and diving deep into the hearts of the people around her.  Cora started TalkTools® when she was an infant with the support of her mother, Kerri.  It’s Kerri’s consistency and tenacity that has made all the difference for Cora and her speech and facial development through the years.  Starting TalkTools® at such a young age not only has helped to facilitate more normalized speech and feeding development, but it’s also ensured that million dollar smile of hers!  Both Cora and Kerri have worked hard to achieve all of the sounds in her repertoire and her oral movements to support those sounds.  The most beautiful reward of all is hearing Cora’s little voice and the funny phrases she likes to use to amuse the people around her. Some of Cora’s favorite phrases these days are “Hi Honey!” (thanks to grandma), “ Have a good day!,” “Not a good idea!,” and “Oh boys!"

Cora is an absolute blessing to those around her and is unexpectedly broadening her reach to SO many with the incredible opportunities that have been sharing her with the world through the “Changing the Face of Beauty” movement, the Livie and Luca shoe company,  and now Suntrust Bank.   As with all people with differing abilities, Cora continues to teach us joy, acceptance, the benefits of hard work, and of course what life is really about: LOVE!"

   - Heather (Peterson) Vukelich, MS SLP-CCC (Danville, CA)

"Two years ago, Cora was part of a promotional campaign for Easter Seals of the Bay Area (she was receiving early intervention services through them at the time). The photographer commented that she was a natural with the camera and suggested I look into modeling. My main motivation for pursuing this with her was to hopefully change common misconceptions about what it looks like to have Down syndrome. I feel like the more exposure people have to individuals of all abilities, the more accepting they will be. Some companies have committed to be more inclusive in their advertising as shown by Cora's catalog work for the children's shoe company Livie & Luca. Not only have they included children of all abilities but they have supported organizations that assist children with special needs.

As far as the Super Bowl commercial, Cora went on an audition through her modeling agency and won them over!  On set, the crew was enamored with her and impressed at how quickly they got the shot.  She has a very agreeable nature, seems to enjoy having her picture taken, and follows directions really well.  She has a natural ability to connect with people. Her joy is contagious! I applaud SunTrust for the inclusive nature of their ad and for recognizing the beauty and value of every individual."

   - Kerri Slocum

And ... Here's the commercial:

TalkTools | Cora Rose TalkTools | Cora Rose

Photo credit: SunTrust 2016

Hopefully, Cora's story will inspire other parents to advocate for their child the way Kerri does, and companies to keep including individuals with special needs.

 


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Success Story: Maddox

Posted by Admin TalkTools on

By: Dr. Jamie McClintic Maddox Timeline

Maddox Before & After TalkTools® Oral Placement Therapy (OPT)

After our daughter Maddox was born, one of the first things her teacher said to us was, “Be sure that she can talk.”  Not just any kind of talk, but it was critical that Maddox learn to speak clearly.  As Miss Marie put it, “Intelligibility is what gives credibility.” She went on to say that kids with Down Syndrome are taken much more seriously when they are understood.

Along the same lines of language clarity, society also bases first impressions on what is visually appealing to them. As unfortunate as it seems, these statements are true.

Fortunately, the Down Syndrome Community has Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson and TalkTools® to thank for creating a program that gives our children a chance, a real fighting chance at their life.

TalkTools' simple Oral Placement Therapy (OPT) programs can have a very significant impacts on your child’s entire future.  Their techniques aim to improve the muscle strength and coordination of the mouth, which in turn produces increased feeding abilities, clearer articulation and consequently more visually appealing facial structures.

Think about it, we use physical therapy to strengthen muscles and improve coordination for walking and crawling.  We use occupational therapy to strengthen muscles and coordination for writing and hand use.  Why would we not use speech therapy to strengthen muscles and improve coordination for speech?!

Let me explain how the program worked for us. An initial evaluation with a certified TalkTools Therapist allows them to identify your child's oral weaknesses, and create a treatment plan for targeting and strengthening those muscles.  After our initial evaluation with Sara, we received a packet of information in the mail. The most valuable contents being the home exercise program for us to follow with Maddox. It is was several pages long and extremely overwhelming initially. We did not want to be responsible for making a single mistake!  It took my husband and I two weeks and many read throughs before we finally had the courage to sit down and implement the first (and only the first) exercise.

It’s kind of like taking that leap.  Once you start, there is no turning back.  We quickly realized that this was not as hard as we imagined, and that Maddox was actually having fun!

I’d like to share with you a little about what worked for our family.  First, we purchased all the corresponding tools that were recommended in the evaluation and homework.  I dug an old cosmetics organizing bag with handles out of the closet.  We put the cheat sheet of exercise instructions in the bag along with all the tools and hung it on the corner of Maddox’s high chair.

This bag was a constant reminder to anyone who fed Maddox that there were exercises that needed to precede her meal. If two of us were home, one of us would sit and implement her program while the other would make the meal. If only one of us were home, we’d implement her program, then give her give her a few fun toys to play with as a reward during the meal prep.

Maddox’s nanny was also trained to implement the program.  In addition, she received speech therapy two times a week, and her protocol was also administered during those sessions by her speech therapist.

We functioned like this from the time she was 20 months old until she was 40 months old. On a given day, Maddox would receive anywhere from four to six exposures of her program and absolutely never less than three times.  When we started at 20 months, Maddox went from using 150 signs and having few sound imitations to speaking in two to three word sentences at 40 months of age.

It was also extremely important to us during that time to supplement general language with pictures, gestures, and/or sign language while Maddox was developing the muscle strength and coordination to speak.  This way, when the two parts collided, (language development and oral development), we’d have a talker!

And that is exactly what happened!

By 48 months, Maddox was learning to put ‘ing’ and plural sounds on the ends of words.  She was attending head start and used not one single sign! The photos above are before and after comparison photos of Maddox from 20 months of age to 40 months of age.  And then for fun, there is a recent photo! I've also shared some videos of Maddox practicing her speech at home and in therapy to show just how great she is doing! We are so proud of her, and hope that other families will find the same success that we did for their children.


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