Thursday, September 8, 2011

Speech Therapy

While Vada and I was in Saint Louis I met with the doctor who is the head of Neurology for the Children's Hospital. We discussed a great deal of things but one particular question that he asked me made me realize how wrong my thinking was. He asked me what kinds of therapy Vada was currently getting. I said physical therapy and that was all. He asked why she wasn't getting anything else and I said that I was under the impression that she didn't need it if she was doing as well as she was. Vada had regressed while she was on the ACTH but bounced right back shortly after coming off of it and since then she has done nothing but move forward. He agreed that her social skills were amazing (his words), especially with all that she has gone through but her progress now should not determine the help she receives (not his words). He said that she should be getting all of the therapy that is available to her and that there were two reasons behind his thoughts. The first being that if she were to continue to have seizures or if they got worse and she did regress then the therapies would already be in place and we wouldnt be put on a waiting list. His second reason is what made me question my own throught process. He said that we know because she has Down syndrome that there are and will be delays and by getting her all of the help available we can help her progress more fully and that's all I want for her, a better chance at life. I want her to reach her potential. I want to watch her thrive and succeed and I am so grateful that the doctor gave his opinion. Once we returned from Saint Louis I talked with Kim (Vada's PT) and told her what the doctor recommended.

Yesterday was Vada's first session in speech. Next month she will begin developmental therapy. Speech therapy was one of the most interesting things to watch and be a part of. I learned so much and Miss Vada was incredibly interested in what Sara was teaching her. She lasted a whole forty minutes and for a baby as mobile as Vada that's pretty impressive!

Sara worked on different sounds and where those sounds can be felt. A great example is the "P" sounds. When saying words that have the "puh" sound you push air out from your mouth. Sara tore a piece of paper and placed it on her hand and then on Vada's and made the sound. When she enunciated the "puh" in "pig" she  blew the paper off of their hands. By doing this it helps Vada asscoiate the word with the sound with the action. Make sense? Im not a therapist so putting it into words is not particularly easy for me to do and I may be explaining it incorrectly. I did however take a lot of notes and as I learn more i'll share it.

Another good example of what I am trying to explain with how the sounds can be "felt" was when Sara brought out the bubbles. She enunciated the "buh" in the word while tapping her index under her bottom lip. "Buh, buh, buh..., bubbles.
Other words/sounds that I was impressed with the "S" sound, like Oscar. Sarah pronounced it as "Awh-sssss-ker" while making the "sss" sound she took her index finger and slid it on Vada forearm like a snake would move or slither.

The "K" sound was also interesting. With the word "cookie" Sarah enunciated the "k" sound while touching her throat. "Kuh, kuh, kuh..., cookie."

"O" as in "open" was pronounced with the "O" being the main sound. "Oh, oh, oh..., open" and while saying it Sara took her index finger and circled her mouth.

Im excited for whats to come. I know that sounds odd but I learn from these therapy sessions as well and then I can help Vada in between the sessions. Im really grateful to have these resources available to us/to Vada.


Muttering Mama said...

Yay for speech therapy! :)

We were of the "All The Therapy You Can Get" mindset with Lucy. She has always done well developmentally, but because I know she has a developmental disability, I guess I wanted to stockpile all the good stuff while I good. I figured if we capitalized on what she was doing well all by herself, we could reduce that gap between her and her typically developing peers as she gets older. We started PT and Special Instruction when she was six weeks old, Speech at 5 months, Occupational Therapy at a year, and a developmental playgroup at 15 months. She was a busy girl, but I feel it has paid off so much!

If it's available to you, I say take it!

EN said...

Go Vada! We're trying to focus on speech with Josie now, too. It's fun!