2 Years 2 Months

Belle is doing well and has really been enjoying being 2 ūüôā She was a clown for Halloween and loved everything about that holiday. She even let me paint her face! Another picture shows her having fun at an outdoor lighting display, and the last is of Belle watching television while chomping on a TalkTools tool that she has graduated from. I try to keep her old tools on hand for long car trips as well. This allows her to get a few more jaw exercises in.

Earlier this month, I noticed that her verbal skills had leveled off a little. She was verbalizing less and had failed to add any new words that I could recognize.¬†During this time, she also was fighting a little stomach bug that seemed to take her just a¬†little bit longer than the rest of us to recover from. I am excited to report that she is feeling much better and talking a lot more again. Her new¬†word this week¬†is turtle! She is also starting to call out colors, especially blue and¬†pink.¬†We¬†have moved her to a “big girl” bed and she LOVES to chat while in bed, when she is supposed to sleeping, of course ūüôā

Here’s two recent videos of Belle. One is of her chewing gum by herself and the other is of her looking through a picture book and saying some family names.


2 Years 3 Months

Attached is a video of Belle doing her “kisses” exercises for her TalkTools oral motor therapy. Belle changes her mind quite frequently on which exercises she likes and which ones she doesn’t, but the kisses have been high on her list for the past few days. Although Belle has been quite chatty lately, I don’t know if we’ve made tons of progress this month in regards to new “words” or clearer speech.¬†I will admit, however, that with the holidays, traveling, and various events, I have been pressed for time and haven’t been able to give Belle very much focused individual time. Once the school year gets back underway, I know we will get back on track.

Earlier this month, we were able to meet with Whitney in person and update our current plan. Although Skype calls are helpful, in person is way better!!! I am still trying to get the hang of transitioning from just “exercises” to using the exercises to create a desired vocal expression. I will need continued help with this ūüôā Our updated plan has several new tactics including new straws with thicker liquids, longer duration with horns, and continued gum chewing progression. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I am confident that we are taking the right steps to get there.

Belle continues to be happy, overall healthy, and remains very curious. She is independent, playful, and adds so much joy to those around her. I am so proud of this little gal. People often mention how lucky Belle is to be born into our family. I usually just nod and say thank you, but the truth is that we are the lucky ones. She is my greatest teacher and has changed my life in so many positive ways.


Have a wonderful week!

-Lanie Beetsma

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.

p.s.: We have been posting deferred updates of Annabelle, but now we are aiming to catch up with reality.

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