Happy New Year! Since we moved from the East coast a few years ago and since my family is still living in the East Coast, we were able to celebrate an early New Year which was very nice! We watched as the ball dropped in New York Times Square as we counted down to 2020. Over the holidays, Anna also had her first movie experience at the theaters-Frozen II. The loud sounds caused her to put her hands over her ears, saying, “it’s too loud”, and I felt bad thinking maybe she wasn’t ready yet. However, literally after several minutes, she actually became accustomed to it, relaxed her arms down and ended up completely enjoying the movie. Her favorite character- Olaf, of course!
I would say in regards to her speech- the highlight of the holiday season was when my brother came over and commented on her speech. Because of the distance, we are not able to see each other often and on spending time with her this holiday season, he was amazed at how well she spoke and how he actually understood everything that she was saying. He admittedly said, given her diagnosis, he wasn’t sure whether he was going to be able to understand her, but he was able to understand everything! When he informed me, this nearly brought tears to my eyes-all the hard work with speech therapy and the near daily TalkTools therapy I do with her felt like it paid off. I know this brought Anna such joy as she was able to enjoy a meaningful conversation with her grandpa and uncle.
One of the gifts this Christmas from their uncle was “Alexa Echo Show” for Anna’s siblings. As her brother and sister talked with “Alexa” getting her to answer their questions, play songs, tell stories, turning on and off the light, for example, Anna began to copy exactly what her siblings were doing and saying. I realized the harsh reality that “Alexa” could not quite completely understand everything that Anna was saying. I found myself getting Anna to repeat what she was asking “Alexa” over and over to see if “Alexa” would eventually understand her. To my surprise, “Alexa” finally did recognize her a few times- only once or twice on the “light”, but a few more times on, “play Caillou’s song”. Anna is still working hard to get the “l” sound as we repeatedly, with her TalkTools therapist, try to get her tip of tongue to “spot”- the place right behind the two front upper teeth. That is one of our goals now and something we have been working on for quite some time. We also have a new tool from TalkTools- A versatile tool called Sensi. See the video attached to see the tool being used with Anna!