3 Years 4 Months


Here are Miss Belle at 3 years 4 months. I think her dental appliance is making her smile change a bit. The cape that she is wearing has been a daily staple in her wardrobe for the past few weeks.

During our TalkTools session last week with Whitney, I told her I was running out of ideas for videos for the blog and ask if there is anything she would like to see me include. She mentioned that it would be good if I could show Belle eating. Eating? Okay. That’s easy enough.

A few days after my conversation with Whitney, I was fortunate to be around a fabulous small group of young kiddos with Down syndrome. We all had lunch together. It was then that it made sense to me why Whitney had asked me to take a video of Belle eating. I had forgotten what a challenge this can be for some people. Thank you Whitney and thank you TalkTools!!!!! I am confident that Belle would not have her current level of eating skills without this program.

Eating properly isn’t something I think of much anymore and certainly take for granted the fact that Belle eats well and correctly, for the most part. Eating has been, however, a HUGE part of our TalkTools program for three years. As our program has evolved, we have progressed through other exercises and don’t focus on the direct feeding elements quite as much. As a parent, I am thankful that Belle has achieved a level of eating technique that is appropriate. Of course, she has room for improvement, but I know we are on the right track. See for yourself:

3 Years 5 Months

Belle is now “just shy” of the 3 and a half year mark. It’s hard to believe that we started with TalkTools 3 years ago. Time flies when you are having fun, right?

Belle is doing very well. She still loves to talk. She is saying new phrases or short 4-5 word sentences on a daily basis. Looking back on today, some of her new thoughts included: “Mommy, me big girl fork!,” “Daddy washed me. Thanks Daddy,” and “Ooww, you scraped my leg, right there.” I also overheard her tell her dolls: “Go Costa Rica, eat broccoli, cauliflower, and chicken and rice.”

At times, Belle does get frustrated if I don’t understand what she is trying to tell me. I will shake my head and appear to agree with her, but she reads right through me. She totally knows if I am comprehending her stories, thoughts, and requests.

In regards to her medical status, Belle continues to have lots of nasal drainage and congestion. She was on a round of antibiotics this month which helped for a little while, but all of her drainage is back again now. She also still has her palatal expander in place, but hopefully we will be getting that out in the next few months. The palatal expander has helped to correct her cross bite (a.k.a. under bite). However, this will not be the end of her dental needs. Most likely, she will need another expander again in future years, but it should help encourage better jaw alignment in the short term.

-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.

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