Saturday, July 31, 2010

speechtails.com

So several weeks ago, I was contacted by a gentleman who offered a LIVE conference call with a Speech Language Pathologist!

Now, somebody pinch me, because this is rockin' cool!

We talked back and forth, sent emails, planned a date for the conference, then I had to cancel the date and reschedule.

For those of you who follow my blog posts, keep your eyes and ears open as the conference call will be taking place in the next several weeks!
I think it would be best to not fight against pre-planned vacations and summer school and take advantage of the time after the Labor Day holiday when children are back in school and you Moms and Dads could actually spare 30 minutes or so on a phone call, minus a child or two in the home.

In the meantime, check out their site! They really have a lot to offer and you can take a FREE online assessment of your child's verbal skills, too!

You can get to know Amy here as well as her credentials. She's a pretty cool lady with a ton of spirit and knowledge!

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Friday, July 30, 2010

A Wish List

I saw this wishlist on one of the about.com sites and thought of all of my special needs parent peeps!
What else would you like to add to this list?

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Prognosis


Prognosis: the likelihood or prediction of the probable course and outcome.

This is something that I always wondered for my daughter and her struggles with apraxia.
How much longer will we be in speech therapy?
Will she become intelligible to the general public or random stranger walking past her?
How much longer will I be translating for her to others?
Because of the fact that I started speech therapy for her at the age of 18 months and we increased the intensity up to four times per week of private therapy for one year at one point, I have high hopes that she will succeed.

Do you ever wonder how your child will progress?
What are your fears?
Here is a great article that may be able to answer some of your questions.

"But we've got, high hopes, we've got, high hopes....."

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bite Blocks


So this is the latest thing that we are working on: bite blocks.

What. The. Heck. Are. These. Things????

My question exactly.
I am really not sure, but Kaitlyn's new SLP Miss M asked me to order some for Kate's therapy session.
And I did.
Because what Miss M says, I do.

According to the website, "The highly-functional Jaw Grading Bite Blocks promote symmetrical jaw strength, jaw stability, and work on jaw grading through varying jaw heights. The kit can also be used to teach jaw position and muscle memory for standard speech sound production. Excellent for use with apraxic/dyspraxic clients."

Hmmm.

She also suggested the "Sensory Friendly" version.
So I got those...and they come in purple!

Miss M also told me that after a month or so of using this product during therapy (and I suppose at home, too!) that we should be seeing a change in the phonology and prosody of Kaitlyn's words.

Hmmm.

If anyone is interested (or confused) about this product, you can go to TalkTools.net and see them for yourself. The sensory friendly bite blocks are here.

I'll keep you posted as to how these work and what they do.
For now, I don't have the foggiest idea.
To be continued next week......

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten


10. Today is the last day of EI Speech for Andrew! YIPPEE!

9. Kaitlyn "mastering" the back float in swim lessons! You go, girl!

8. The increased number of words coming from both children!

7. Andrew's mimicking of the priest in Church this week. Given all that I have on my plate, I think God will let this one slide!

6. Kaitlyn's love (and mine!) for her new SLP Miss M!

5. Hearing my kids' voices on the phone when I am at work.

4. Understanding what they are saying: priceless!

3. Counting down to the last day of ESY: 2 more days!

2. A wonderful "Safety Town" experience for Kaitlyn.

1. I love my kids!

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Quitting


I am not a quitter.

I never have been.

I never will be.


Um, until now.

Today.

We are quitting EI for Andrew.

This is the last week, and tomorrow is the last day.


Why, you ask?

Basically, my kid can't stand the student SLP that our EI SLP brings twice a week.

He won't talk to her.

He won't perform for her.

So for one hour, I have to listen to this novice chick say "Annnn-drew", and "Sit down, Andrew" and "Where's Andrew today?"


Chick, take a hint and get a clue!

My boy doesn't want anything to do with you.

And I think what aggravates me the most is that the EI SLP doesn't get it, either!

I have told them both to their faces that Andrew is not one to be tag-teamed.

I have emailed the EI SLP and told her that I am not a fan of having two people work with him at one time.


The elevator is not going to the top floor, folks.


So, once these two gals leave today, I will be calling my awesome EI Coordinator.

To cease and desist services after tomorrow's session.


Because this is the last week of ESY for Kaitlyn as well.

Which means that we have three weeks of summer vacation to enjoy!

Which means look out beaches, zoos and museums.

Watch out Arboretum, water parks, and road trips!


It's summer vacation for us as of 11:00am on July 27, 2010!

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

What Did He Say?!

Why is it that my son misbehaves in Church?
Why?
We were sitting in the pew when Mass started and he wanted to crawl on the bench and skip around.
I looked at my husband and said "Let's go!"
No, we didn't leave Church.
We demoted ourselves to the "Quiet Room" of the Church.
The bad thing about this room is that kids think they can misbehave and be as loud as they want...mine included!
But my son decided that he wanted to mock the priest.
Because during the homily, the priest said "Jesus" and my son took off with that one!

"Geez-Louise!" He said, over and over.
Add a few giggles here and there.
"Geez-Louise!"
No, Andrew, he said "Jesus" honey.
But Andrew was tickled pink.
Then, a little boy in the front row of the quiet room joined in.
Great.
That Mom is not thrilled with me right now.
Then, he heard the word "Amen".
Amen.
Aaaaa-men!
AAAAAAA-MENNNNNNNN!
Yep, even 5:00pm mass can be a speech opportunity, right?
And no, I didn't tell him to stop.
I tried to encourage him to use his "Church voice".
Seeing that he has a speech issue, too, why would I want to send him mixed signals and tell him not to talk?

Geez-Louise, people! Why would I do that?
Jesus understands my rationale, right?

Amen!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Teach Me To Talk, Help Me To Learn

Teach Me to Talk Help Me To Learn
by Donna Williams, SLP

Please be patient with me.
Sometimes I need to speak slowly so people can understand me.
Please don't finish sentences for me.
I know what I want to say.
It just may take me a while.
Don't answer for me when others speak to me.
I want the chance to say it myself.
Please look at me when I am talking.
It makes me feel encouraged to keep talking.
Sometimes I know what I want, but I forget the word.
Offer me a choice or a clue.
When I hear it, it helps me remember.
If you don't understand me, don't pretend like you do.
Let me know so I can make you understand.
I can show you, use gestures, answer questions, draw a picture.
I want to be successful.
Do not put pressure on me to make me talk when I am uncomfortable.
It makes it hard to get the words out.
Don't correct my speech loudly in front of my friends.
It embarrasses me.
We can talk about it later.
I love music, but sometimes singing is too fast for me.
If we slow it down a little, then I can sing too.
The tune can help me remember the right words to say.
I can feel happy, sad, mad, lazy, excited, etc.
I have the right to feel these ways.
Help me label the feeling.
Do not make me correct everything I say.
If you rephrase it and say it back to me, it helps me learn.
Be interested in what I say.
I love to take turns with you.
I know when you're not really listening.
Recognize when I need a break.
I can't always tell you "It's hard" or "I'm tired".
Help me to come back to it later.
Speak to me like I am my age even though I don't talk that way.
I am not a baby.
Treat me with respect.
I am working hard to learn to do something that is easy for you.
Praise me and encourage me and keep talking to me.

Reprinted with Permission from the author




[© Donna Williams, 2000 . Donna Williams is a Speech/Language Support Teacher-Troy Area School District, Troy, Pa for 17 years. She is a graduate of Bloomsburg State College and Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA. Donna has gained experience in a small rural school district with small populations of specific speech/language disorders, such as apraxia, autism, cerebral palsy, and cleft palate. She is the mother of three, two teenage sons (Jason, 19, Matt 16) and a teenage daughter (Stefanie 13)]



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Friday, July 23, 2010

Safety and The Special Needs Child

For two days this week, Kaitlyn was enrolled in a "Safety Town" class. Sponsored by the WDSRA, this class was specifically geared towards the special needs population. Class size was small.
There was basic explanation.
And a whole lot of fun!
She learned about fire safety, Stranger Danger, calling 911, animal safety, street safety, what to do if she got lost, poisons, and so on.
All in a simple way for her to understand.
Here is what she learned:

Sit quietly and listen.

Someone asked her a question: "Kaitlyn, what is hot in your house that you are not supposed to touch?" She looked up and said in a mousy voice "Fire." Good girl!

Learning the proper way to approach a dog. They taught them to ask the owner first if they could pet the dog, then learned to hold their hands out for the dog to "sniff" the child. Just for the record, Kate snuck a kiss at the dog!

Look both ways when use cross the street and walk in the crosswalk.

Hold hands with a partner when you cross the street.

Here, she is holding a pair of hand cuffs. After a moment, she yelled out "These are HEAVY!"

Getting way too comfy in the back of a squad car!

Standing in line to take a crack at the fire hose. She was so excited!

And now it was finally her turn to spray the hose! This was the highlight of the day!

Hanging out with her best friend from school.

Checking out the attire of a fire fighter.

And my girl in her fire-fighter hat at the end of class.
This class truly left an impression on my girl.
And that was exactly what I wanted it to do!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blogging With Privacy


To me, this isn't happening.
You can't be 100% private....and blog.
Either you blog, or you are private.
Simple as that.
Many blogs that I follow change their children's names or the location that they live.
But eventually, they slip and a name leaks out.

Privacy = out the window.

I, on the other hand, choose to use our names.
It's just what I do.
I can't play games and think of creative names for my children because I am too busy juggling other aspects of our lives.
Um, remember yesterday?
I forgot that Kate's therapy session was supposed to be at 1:00pm and I thought it was at 2:00pm?
I even tried to correct the lady at the clinic when she reminded me that we were currently 15 minutes late.
"Yes, we have therapy at 2:00."
"No, you are scheduled for 1:00."
"No, 2:00."
"No, dear. Miss M has someone else's child at 2:00. You are at 1:00."
"Let me look at my calender.....OMG! You are right! 1:00! What was I thinking? I wasn't thinking, was I?!"

OK, I make mistakes, too.

But back to the blogging and privacy issue.
I use my kids' names.
I use my name.
I don't use the names of our therapists or clinics.
I do use the names of our hospitals and physicians/specialists.
I put things out there.
I pour out my heart and bare my soul.
I choose to do this.
I choose to blog and throw a lot of privacy out the window.
And I am fine with that decision.

I can't sit here and type, pretending to be someone else or pretending that my kids are someone else.
I am not that creative.
Like I said, I am too busy tossing one crazy salad and all its ingredients.
Thanks for listening.
I needed to get that one off my chest.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Breath Support and Prosody

It's amazing what I learn every week with Miss M.
Granted, she is my daughter's SLP, but she sure is teaching me a thing or two.
And I just L-O-V-E to pass along her good karma to you all!

Sooooooo, this week we are working on breath support.
Basically, Kaitlyn's sucks.
Big time.
That is why she seems to be taking quick breaths while talking just as fast.
Essentially, she is working too hard to coordinate breathing and speaking.

So now we work on actual breath support, while Kate thinks we are working on speech stuff and having fun.
A lot of this can be done in the car, while walking in the store, or while playing at the park.
  • Blowing: need to get her to pucker her lips outward by saying "ooooo".
  • Providing slight jaw support when needed.
  • Pinwheel: Cheap therapy toy. Try for nice, L-O-N-G blow to keep the pinwheel rotating.
  • Bubbles: use the words "slow and easy". This way, my child will understand that fast and quick blows make teeny tiny bubbles while slow and easy blows make for bigger bubbles!
  • Whistles: helps focus on lip protrusion and duration.
  • Each of these should be done ten times.
  • Remove whistle from mouth each time.
  • Sit tall with feet flat on the floor.
  • No biting on whistles.



Prosody.


She doesnt' have much of it.

The way I take it, prosody is the patterns of stress and intonation in a language.
Quiet vs. loud.
Talking vs. singing.
And prosody and breath support go hand-in-hand with my daughter as well.
So now we are talking words, singing words, we are quiet with words and we are loud with words.

So this is what it sounded like in my car going home this afternoon:

"Kaitlyn, pick a word."
"Mommy!"
"OK, Mommy. Ready? Deep breath in....."
"Momm-yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy".

Exhale.

Except Kaitlyn exhaled after the 7th or 8th /y/ in that sentence.
I kept going.
She can't hold that note for long at all.
That's not good.
And it's not good for speech at all.
We've got some big time work to do!

"OK, let's sing it now"
"Mommy, Mommy, Mommy"
"OK, let's sing it with a really low, deep voice like a man."
"Mommy, Mommy, Mommy."
"OK, let's sing it really, really LOUD!"
"MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY!"
"OK, let's say it quietly."
"Mommy."

Breath support.
Whew!
I need oxygen!

Hopefully, the combo of singing, loud voice, soft voice, L-O-N-G voice, whistles, pinwheels, bubbles and the such will help with all this breath support and prosody.

I love speech therapy!
Breath support.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten


10. Counting down the days until EI Speech Therapy is done. Have I mentioned lately that Andrew is "done" with his therapists? Thought so.

9. Counting down the days for Kaitlyn's ESY summer program to be done. We will miss school for three weeks for sure!

8. Andrew pooping in the pool. Nasty boy!

7. The great oral motor exercises that we are getting weekly from Miss M.

6. Patching Kaitlyn's right eye three hours per day. Hard to do when the little chick is in the pool all day!

5. Blogging is soooooo therapeutic for me!

4. Meeting some great new friends on my Apraxia Mom Facebook Fan Page! Thanks for clicking "like"!

3. Finding out that Aetna is covering Miss M at 100% in-network! Yeah, baby!

2. Planning for the Chicagoland Apraxia Walk in October.

1. Loving the language bursts from both of my kids. Keep up the great work!

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Not My Child Monday


Guess what?!
We don't have a NMCM entry about a little boy acting up in Church this week.
Um, that's because we didn't go to Church this week.

Sorry. Bad Catholics, I know.

But this week, I have a pretty nasty NMCM post.
About my son, of course.

Because my son is not in love with the pool.
And I have not done everything in my power to make him unafraid of the pool.
So we go swimming everyday.
Yes. Every. Day.
And my son does not flirt with the lifeguards, both male and female.
And my son does not try to jump in all the time, all while holding my hand.
And my son does not give up food, just to swim.
And my son does not ignore everything and everyone, just to swim.

And I did not notice him standing on the edge of the pool on Friday, just staring into the water.
And I did not watch him oh so closely, wondering what he was doing.
And I did not see him make that face.
You know the face I am talking about.
The poop face.
Because my son is still not afraid to poop in the potty.
And I did not try to run through the water as quickly as I could.
(You know how hard it is to run through water....great cardio work out, though!)
And he and I did not make eye contact at the very last moment.
And he did not say to me "poops!" as I was ten feet away from him.

And he did not proceed to jump into the pool.
After pooping.
And I did not scoop him up, wrap him in a towel, and head to the locker room with a crying big sister in tow who didn't understand why we were going home.
And I did not thank my guardian angels above that I purchased Huggies Little Swimmers and plastic pants for the small boy.
Because they contained the entire "code brown".

No, my son did not poop in the pool.

Mortifying Mom Moment #59.

What has not been going on in your house this week?

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Be Careful!

My little dare-devil, Andrew, is now Mr. Careful.

"Be careful", he tells me whenever we are out and about.
And he has truly become extremely careful.

At the park.
By the street.
Near the stove.
Walking down the stairs.

"Be careful!"

We'll see how long this one lasts.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Verbally Abusive!

Yesterday was Andrew's appointment with the ENT for his hoarse voice.
I was wise to bring reinforcements with me: Uncle John.
Andrew loves Uncle John (my brother) and I thought that it could work to my benefit if the doctor wanted to scope Andrew to view his vocal folds.
So Andrew was tickled pink to see him.
Once in the exam room, the doctor inquired about his symptoms.
He is hoarse.
Everyday.
When he cries or has a tantrum about something, the hoarseness is worse.
He has actually lost his voice on occasion.
He is just plain loud: talks loud, cries loud, yells loud, laughs loud.
His hearing is fine.
Luckily, the doctor was able to diagnose him without the use of a papoose and scope: vocal polyps.
He is straining his vocal folds by being so loud.
The treatment: use an "inside voice".

Except Andrew doesn't know what that is!

The only time that the boy is quiet is when he sleeps!

So the plan is to wait.
Hopefully, he will grow out of it and not feel the need to yell all the time.
His current speech therapy plan won't change, but they can continue to encourage a quieter voice.

Funny, but the doctor cracked a joke about Andrew being "verbally abusive".
Translation = he abuses his vocal cords.
Yep, I agree with that!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How "Special Needs Parents" Come To Be

The Special Mother

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit. This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of special children who need more care than most. Did you ever wonder how these mothers are chosen? Somehow I see God hovering over the Earth selecting his instruments for procreation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to make notes in a giant ledger:
" Armstrong, Beth. Son Patron saint,Matthew.
Forest, Margorie. Daughter Patron saint Cecilia Rutledge, Carrie. Twins Patron saint? give her Gerard, Hes used to profanity "

Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles " Give her a special child"
The angel is curious. "Why this one Lord? Shes so happy"
"Exactly"smiles God, "could I give this child to someone who doesn't know laughter? That would be cruel"
"But does she have patience?" asks the angel "I don't want her to have too much or she will drown in a sea of self pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off she will handle it okay"

I watched her today. She has that sense of self independence that are so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child that I am going to give her has his own world. She has to make it live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

" But Lord, what if she doesn't believe in you?" asks the angel.

God smiles "NO matter I can fix that. This one is perfect,she has enough selfishness"
The angel gasps"selfishness? Is that a virtue"
God nods, " If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a women whom I will bless with a child that will be a little less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet but she is to be envied"

She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says mommy for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. When she describes a tree or a sunset to her child she will see it as few ever see my creations."

I will permit her to see clearly the things I see-ignorance, cruelty, prejudice, and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone, I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work, as surely as she is here by my side"

"And what about her patron saint, my Lord" asks the angel his pen poised in midair.

God smiles " A mirror will suffice"

by Erma Bombeck


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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Clapping And Singing!

No, there isn't a party going on in the apraxia house!
Just commenting on some of the newest techniques that we are trying with Kaitlyn, thanks in part to our new SLP Miss M!

The clapping technique is something that we have done before.
As you can probably figure out, you "clap" each syllable of a word as you say it.
For example, the word "good-bye" would get two claps (one while saying the word "good" and one while saying the word "bye").
This helps some of those children with apraxia s-l-o-w down their speech.
My little girl is guilty of fast speech!
Her little mouth moves quicker than her brain can get the words out.
This leads to frustration for both the speaker (Kaitlyn) and the listener (anyone she is speaking to).
We did this before with Kaitlyn, but either she was too young to understand or she just couldn't get it.
Now, she's got it!

And who would have thought that the act of singing could help with speech therapy?
Of course, kids with apraxia have a hard time singing.
But we aren't singing songs here.
We are singing words!
Its amazing how a child can't say the word, but add a tune to it and they can say it!
Kaitlyn struggled with the word "elephant".
But add a few octaves to it, and she was "singing" it perfectly!
Eventually, you can remove the tunes and they master the word as spoken language.

See what I mean?
Lots of singing and clapping in this house lately!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten


10. Kaitlyn sleeping through the numerous thunderstorms we have had around here lately.

9. Andrew is just not liking his EI SLPs. *sigh*

8. Andrew refusing to "perform" for said EI SLPs. Yet again, big *sigh*

7. Kaitlyn's funky stomach bug last week. Summary = gross.

6. Learning how to sing and clap for great speech sounds!

5. Oral-motor exercises with simple household items like cotton balls and straws.

4. The fact that ESY is almost halfway over. Sad.

3. Planning our summer getaway...it just can't get here soon enough.

2. Prepping for our LIVE Conference Call with a host SLP! Details to follow soon!

1. Medicating Andrew with expired meds. OOPS! He is fine...WHEW!

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Not Me Monday


Seeing that it is that day of the week again, we might as well not talk about how my son behaved in Church this week.

Then again, I guess I will not take 100% of the blame for his behavior.

He did not wake up from his nap at 4:00pm with a mega-rash on his face, armpits and groin area.
And I did not freak out!
And after a quick sponge bath and some baby powder, I did not frantically call my next door neighbor for some Benadryl.
Because I am a good nurse and I always have adequate medication supplies in my arsenal.

But I didn't this time.

So I did not sprint barefoot to my neighbors house, grab the Benadryl bottle, and bolt back to my house.
And I did read the label: "Under age 6, ask a doctor".

Hmmm.
I did not play doctor/pharmacist by myself.
I would never do that!
(Disclaimer: I had to give him Benadryl before about 18 months ago when he broke out in quarter-sized welts from an allergic reaction to Augmentin, so I remembered the dose that our pediatrician gave me! WHEW!)

And as I recapped the bottle, I did not look at the expiration date.
After. I. Gave. Him. The. Benadryl.

And I did not see that it said "Exp: 09/2009"

Gulp.

I. Did. Not. Give. My. Child. Expired. Medication.

Yes I did.

And I did not give the expired meds back to my neighbor, thanking her graciously for coming to my rescue once again and giggling that it was expired.
And we did not laugh about this together!
OK, we did.
And we did not load the kids into the car as we were already late for Church.
And my son did not look like he was drugged in the back seat.
And he did not sit quietly for all of 10 minutes in Church.

And he did NOT become possessed and wild child all of a sudden!

And as my husband carried a kicking and screaming child to the "Quiet Room" did I recall that Benadryl has the opposite effect on my son.
Translation: wild, caged animal!
And for the record, that "Quiet Room" needs better sound-proofing, as my son was not too quiet.

OOPS!

Bad Mom, I know.
But, hey! The rash is gone!
And he slept sooooooo well that night!

And thank you as I graciously and humbly accept the "Britney Spears Bad Parenting Award".





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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blow!

How easy is this to get your child to do oral-motor exercises and have fun at the same time!

A simple bendie straw.
A silly straw.
A cotton ball.
And....BLOW!

Strengthening the mouth muscles.
Working on mouth puckering and "oooo" sounds.

The bendie straw is easy to puff through; the silly straw offers more of a challenge.

And make sure that they don't bite the straw...that defeats the purpose of the therapy. Instead, have them pucker like a kiss, then put the straw between their lips.
Viola! Instant oral-motor exercise!
You can even do this in a restaurant while waiting for your kid's meal.
You might get some strange looks, but who cares?!

Love finding new ways to make speech therapy fun and not plain ole boring therapy!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

If I Need a Reminder....

...Of how intense speech therapy helps kids with apraxia, I just need to look at this kid!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Me: From A to Z

A: assertive, accepting, apraxia- slayer
B: bold
C: curious, caring
D: determined
E: empathetic, eager, extroverted
F: fun, feisty, flips out easily
G: go-get 'em
H: happy
I: intense, insurance carrier
J: joker
K: kind
L: loving
M: Mom
N: no-nosense, Nurse
O: open-minded, stand-in OT, OCD (I diagnosed myself!)
P: persistent, protective, proactive
Q: question everything, quasi-S LP
R: reasonable
S: sympathetic, serious
T: try-just-about-anything, therapy mogul
U: understanding
V: vicarious
W. Warm:
X: high X-pectations (couldn't think. of anything else for "X")
Y: young-at-heart
Z: zest for life!

That's me, at least when it comes to my kids.

How would you describe yourself, from A-to-Z, that is?

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

His Voice

OK, so I have been "bugged" with something lately: Andrew's voice.
Not his actual voice, per se.
But the raspiness and hoarseness as of late.
I think it started before the whole strep throat drama in May.
I am not sure.
Bad Mom, I know.
But he just sounds hoarse at times.
Granted, the kid is loud.
No, seriously...he is megaphone-loud!
He talks loudly.
He yells.
He screams.
He cries loudly.
He is just plain loud.
I know that he can hear me just fine, so I don't think it is a hearing issue.
But I wonder if it has something to do with his vocal folds.
So ask my brother, the SLP.
He concurs that this could warrant a visit to the ENT.
That means an OAE, a Booth Test, and...oh dear....a scope of the vocal cords!

Andrew is going to be mad!

Not at the OAE or Booth Test; its the scope that is going to transform him into a WWF Wrestler!
The kid's got strength!

So after consulting with the office nurse of our beloved ENT, we have decided that it would be most beneficial to do a quick office exam, throw in the OAE and Booth Test while Andrew is still in a good mood, then sneak up on him for the scope.
It's an evil plan, but the only way that they are going to get a decent hearing exam is to do the scope last.

I hear they will "papoose" him.

Oh my...did I mention that my son is strong?

This whole attack plan is set for next week Thursday.
Until then, my son will love me.
I can't begin to think what the rest of my life is going to be like after next week Thursday: the kid can hold a grudge!

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Speechpalooza!


It's like the "Wizard Of Oz" around here lately.
You know the infamous tornado scene when the house was being tossed around and then "THUMP" lands and all is still?
And then Dorothy opens the door and all is bright and rainbows?

Well, that is how things have been for Kaitlyn lately, minus the munchkins singing!

With the new relationship which we have with our "rainbow" SLP, Miss M, we have also added another SLP (also named Ms. M.!).
Both of these ladies have a good grasp on Kaitlyn's needs at this point.

And then we have her weekly swim lessons.
I was pleased as punch last week when we met the swim coach, only to find out that she is also a Special Education teacher in a nearby school district.
Bonus!
How cool is that!
Unfortunately, our excitement was quickly dampered this week when we found out that Ms. Laura was no longer teaching swim.
Nor was she an employee of the swim school, either.
Nor was she even an employee. Period.
Gone.
Bummer.
So this week we have a new swim coach: Ms. Jennifer.
My first impression: not good.
I introduce myself to her and introduce Kaitlyn.
Then, in typical Mom fashion, I explain that Kaitlyn has some speech issues, some cognitive issues, needs some boundaries set, and so on.
The first thing out of this young swim teacher's mouth?
"Does she have problems with her R's? I had problems with my R's when I was younger and had to go for speech therapy....."

I stopped her.

Then I picked my jaw up off of the pool-side floor.

"No, she has more than just problems with her R's. She has apraxia. Do you know what that is?"
Young swim coach just nods her head and smiles.
Maybe she heard me.
Maybe she just nodded and smiled because the noise level of the swim area was so high that we really couldn't talk or hear one another and she was just pacifying me.
Whatever the case may be, I combed down the hairs that were now standing on the back of my neck and flexed my Mama Bear claws, indicating to her that I was going to be sitting in that chair right over there and watching.
Watching young swim coach.
Picture Robert DiNero doing the "I'm watching you!" finger gesture by pointing at his eyes and then the other person's eyes.
Yep, that was me!
But as I sat there, watching, I noticed that she was doing very well with Kaitlyn.
And Kaitlyn was just chit-chatting away with her!

Once swim lessons were over, young coach swam to the edge of the pool to talk with Mama Bear.
"She is awesome to work with!" she said.
Kaitlyn was all smiles!
I thought that now was the best time to explain Kaitlyn a bit more.
I started my speech out as I usually do: "Kaitlyn has a speech problem know as apraxia. Have you heard of that before?"
Just then, young swim coach lights up like a Christmas tree!
"Oh, I totally know all about that! I am a Speech major in college right now!"

Mom just exhaled for the first time in 30 minutes.

"Really? So I don't have to explain this to you?"
"No, but thanks for telling me. I'll work on some basic swim words with her, if that's OK with you."

Can I just hug young swim girl right now?
Would that be awkward?
Probably.

So, we have a "Speechpalooza" going on every Monday.
It's like a "buy-one-get-one" speech therapy session on Mondays.
I guess you can get speech therapy sessions just about anywhere, can't you?

And in the end, the mosh pit resembles a belly flop in the deep end of the pool!

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten


10. Meeting our "rainbow" SLP, Ms. M.

9. A decent day at work on Wednesday...its 'bout time!

8. A successful second week of ESY.

7. Andrew's attitude towards his EI SLPs. Trust me, little man, I feel your pain.

6. Swimming, swimming, swimming!

5. Kaitlyn's anticipation of seeing the fireworks on my Dad's boat Friday night. Note to self: she's VERY sensory and is a little liar.

4. Kaitlyn hiding under a blanket in 80 degree weather during the fireworks display, crying the entire time! Who knew a little girl her age could get wet armpits?!

3. Andrew watching the fireworks...from under the table.

2. Two kids desperate for sleep after a long holiday weekend.

1. Planning our summer vacation getaway...please come soon...we need it!



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Monday, July 5, 2010

Not My Child Monday


In the spirit of the July 4th holiday, this week's post is not full of fireworks and what I did not do to my sensory kids.
We did not take them to my parent's boat on Friday night for the annual fireworks show at the marina.
No, my kids (especially my daughter) do not have sensory issues with fireworks and loud noises.
And once it started to get dark, my daughter did not change her personality from happy and bubbly to quiet and somnolent.
Nope, my daughter was not anticipating the noise and terror.
And once the first "boom!" went off, she did not jump under the covers and quiver.
And cry.
No, I prepared her better than that.
And she not hide under that Chicago Bears Snuggie (yes, I said "snuggie") in the 85 degree evening for 20 minutes between two adults.
And did not emerge with sweaty hair.
And the biggest armpit sweat rings on her cute gray Gap favorite T-shirt.
Who knew a six year old could have armpit sweat that nasty?!
Not me!
And she did not ask to "watch fireworks!" when they were all finished: as in the photos on my sister's iPhone.
And Andrew did not sit on the boat nicely.
Watching the fireworks.
From under the table!
Nope, my son was not slightly freaked out at the colorful noisy rainbows in the night sky.
Why, oh why, would I do this to my two somewhat sensory children?

I. Don't. Know. What. I. Was. Thinking.

So what has not been going on in your house this week?

Sunday, July 4, 2010


O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy 4th of July holiday!
See you back here tomorrow with another round of "Not My Child Monday" and some updates from the weekend!

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Technology and the Special Needs Child: Necessity or Option?


I will admit it: I am a technology addict.
Gotta have voicemail.
Love to be able to send a text message.
Would be lost without email.
Marvel at the ability to have both my calendar and contacts at the touch of a button.
Luckily, I can have it all with my Blackberry.

I. Am. Addicted. To. My. Blackberry.

But given the cards that I have been dealt and the schedule we keep, I would argue that a "smart phone" is more of a necessity rather than an option for me.
My SUV is my mobile office, and I have found that I am quite proficient (and efficient) with my time at stoplights.
I get a lot accomplished in therapy waiting rooms with this puppy.
I have cancelled therapy appointments only to make doctor appointments for sick kids while in the car pool lane at school.
I have whipped out IEP goals from saved files.
I have gotten that urgent email without having to be dependent on my laptop at home.
I have sent the occasional urgent email as I am driving home from school after my daughter informs me that she visited the school curse that day.
Texting a therapist who is waiting in front of your house with your ETA because you thought you would have time to fly through the drive-thru for that extra jolt of coffee.

Yes, I am addicted to my Blackberry.

But this addiction actually keeps me sane.
I have two busy kids.
With two equally busy schedules.
Can't just schedule a mammogram when one has speech therapy and the other has an ENT appointment, can you?
Can't just squeeze in a quick haircut and color when this one needs to be in one place for school and that one needs to see the dentist with her favorite hygenist, can I?
See what I mean?
Between school, therapies, swim lessons, IEP meetings, doctor appointments, and gymnastics, this device is my lifeline.
And let's not forget the Facebook and Twitter updates!

So, yes, my Blackberry is a necessity for me.
Someday, I will have a boring phone.
Maybe even no phone at all.
But until then...I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!

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Friday, July 2, 2010

This Sums It Up....


Apraxia………

by Michelle Genser-Jones

The expressions in your face
Show the words you can not say
Not a fault, of yours nor I,
But of Apraxia,


Unknown to most….
It is not heard, nor seen,
But a Voice it takes


Scared parents…cry…worry
While surrounded by others…
Who just can’t understand


The fate, the destiny of their loved child
Seem unfounded through the endless wait…
With ears constantly ready for that first word
Joyful tears pour out when it’s finally heard


Words…movements… Sounds, may be found
Only to be lost once more,
And re-found at a later date
Dreams only to remain are those shared


Between child and parent
A bond always remains

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Let's Chat!


Now this is what I call exciting!

I have been contacted by a company who is interested in hosting a talk/chat/information session in the near future...

FOR YOU ALL!

A Speech-Language Pathologist will be available to answer all of your questions about apraxia, therapies, techniques, and so on.

How neat, huh?

This is still in the building phase, so it's not happening tomorrow. There are a lot of logistics that need to be worked out.
My plan is to start "advertising" approximately 7-10 days prior to the event.
So get the word out.
Pass this along to your family and friends.
Pass this along to anyone you know who may be confused about apraxia and other speech and language issues.

If you are interested in participating, please email me at apraxiamom@gmail.com

Think of some questions for our host SLP.

More info to come................

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