3 Years 2 Months

Hi everyone!

We are now in full swing with our new updated oral motor program that was revamped by Whitney last month. We also were able to meet this month so we could ensure that I am implementing the exercises correctly for Belle. We have progressed to some higher level activities which are fun for both Belle and I. We enjoy working on new goals! Belle continues to strive towards having more independence in many areas of her life. This also carries over to all her TalkTools work. She wants to hold the tools without my help and do the work on her timeline, not mine. Oh, the joys of toddlerhood!

I do want to note that Belle’s doctor has recommended that we take all dairy and gluten products out of her diet completely. This is in response to a recent thorough lab workup. We are hopeful that this will help clear up her constant drainage. We were pretty skeptical at first, as change is always hard, but have already witnessed improvements in the past 10 days!

Below are a two quick videos of Miss Belle. The first includes a new TalkTools tool that we have been using for the past month: the Tongue Tip Lateralization & Elevation Tools. We have progressed from biting down and finding the ball to biting down and moving the ball from front to back. It is a work in progress  The other video is just for fun. It shows Belle saying some of the sounds that various letters of the alphabet make.

3 Years 3 Months

Belle thoroughly enjoyed all the excitement this Christmas season*. She LOVED Santa Claus and retold the story of how she got to sit on “Ho Ho’s” lap several times. Her favorite gifts included a Frozen robe, lunchbox, and new dance clothes. Although her month turned out well overall, it began with strep throat and croup. After nearly three weeks of fighting those germs, I think she is finally feeling better. Even though her nose has been congested all month, we are continuing with her gluten and dairy free diet as I do believe this was helping prior to her illnesses.

In regards to her speech, Belle is continuing to say new words daily. For the past few years, I have known that her receptive language is strong. Now, she has the ability and skills to attempt to say many of those words that she has known for so long. Even though her articulation is not perfect, it’s great to hear her increase her vocabulary. I lost track a long time ago (around the 200 word mark), but I know that she has well over 300 words that she uses on a regular basis. In addition to her increase in word usage, she is also doing MUCH better at putting the ending sounds on words ie. hammock, cat, house, Burke, elf, etc etc. I will admit that we have slacked off on our oral motor exercises a bit through the holidays and look forward to getting back on track next week!

Below are 3 videos of Belle doing some of her oral motor exercises. I like these videos this month because they show the “real” work that goes into working toward the goal of clearer speech. It’s not glamorous, and it’s not always easy. We get sidetracked, we get interrupted, and we get frustrated at times. But, it’s all worth it. I truly mean it. This is a process that gets us closer to Belle being able to fully express her thoughts, feelings and needs. She has so many great things to share, and I am so thankful to TalkTools for helping us to better communicate with our sweet big girl, Belle!

-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.

* This update was written last Winter. 

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