Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘Speech Therapy

Pinteresting

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I think I joined Pinterest when it first started, then immediately decided that I didn’t have time for it.  Last week, I was drawn back in, though I can’t say I wasn’t warned about what would happen:

@spectrummymummy you have now completed the “time suck” trifecta (fb, twitter and Pinterest)

Yay, time suck trifecta!  Well, I’m still not working yet, so at least it is only my time I’m wasting.  

Like Facebook and Twitter, I restrict my time on there to when I’m not needed.  Usually for me that is when I’m waiting for the kids to go to sleep in the evening- the prefect time to get pinning.  If you are interested, you can find me here: http://pinterest.com/spectrummymummy/

Just another piece of the internets that I’ve sprayed on, like a tom cat.  Sorry.  

Still, it isn’t all a complete waste of time.  I found this pin that I adapted into a game for my kids.  And they played. Like, together.  Taking turns and everything.  It was living the dream.  The only reason I didn’t disturb them to take photos was because I knew that would turn into a nightmare.  

Mosey over to the original poster:  Juggling With Kids to see how she created this game using a car to “park” in the spaces labeled with the sight words he is learning for school.

Image

We made our parking lot (which in my case looked more like a ouija board) using just the alphabet, and then we played a variety of games, like phonics (which letter makes the “vuh” sound?), spelling, (how do you spell cat?), and sequencing (what comes before “T”?).

The alphabet is very familiar to both kids, but they don’t always apply their knowledge so well.  This game also had them practice their listening skills, and taking turns.  Pudding used a doll to go and jump on the letters, while Cubby parked his ice cream van.

We got to work on the -an and -at words that Pudding is learning in her speech therapy, and Cubby got to practice his articulation that he works on in his speech therapy.  I think the big factor in our success was each child having their own toy to play with- a great way of bringing special interests into learning.  It definitely helped my two impulsive children to focus on letting each other take a turn.

It could, of course, be adapted for any child, and a variety of skill levels.  Just off the top of my head, I’m thinking of a toy rocket that could fly to the planets, or a plane that flew to different countries.  You could use colors or stickers to create your board, or maybe even use some PECS images if you are using that method with your child.  And how about using a straw to blow a ping-pong or cotton wool ball on to the letter to get in a little oral-motor therapy?

You could do a much better version, I’m sure.  Now that I know my kids like playing, I might make a more interesting version one of these days.  This one I deliberately kept as simple as possible, as I didn’t want to waste time.  After all, I do enough of that on Pinterest!

Dummy

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“When you know better, you do better.” – Maya Angelou.

Not me, wise Maya.  Not me.  But I do make new mistakes in different ways.  And I do believe entirely in making mistakes.

When I was that insanely annoying woman who thought she knew best about parenting (before actual motherhood taught me all I needed to learn) I knew I wouldn’t let Pudding have a dummy (pacifier). Then more information came out about how dummies actually helped reduce the risk of S.I.D.S and I quickly changed my stance.  We would have pacifiers, but would give them up before long.

I admit to being a bit of a dummy back then.  I never picked up on how soothing a pacifier was to Pudding.  Oh, I knew that it could help stop the screaming when I couldn’t figure out what caused the screaming, but I didn’t see her intense need for oral-motor stimulation.

I stopped Pudding having her dummy at just after 18 months old.  Pudding gave up the pacifier without any difficulty, and I’m sure I congratulated myself well for it at the time.  I certainly didn’t respect how much more difficult it would make things for a child with intense needs and difficulty communicating.

 She began looking for other things to put in her mouth: crayons, play dough, anything she could find really. Pudding had pica, a disorder causing her to eat non-edible items.  We were lucky that she never did herself any serious harm, though I made more phone calls to poison control than I’d have liked.  That oral-motor sensory-seeking continues to this day, though more often than not she can be persuaded to bite on chewelry.

So the second time around, when I knew better, I did better.  I would avoid the dangers of pica and compulsively mouthing non-food items by allowing Cubby his pacifier as long as he needed it.  And he needed it.  Unlike Pudding, whose sensory system was under-responsive in her early years, Cubby was born sensitive and anxious.

He lived with a pacifier in his mouth.  I struggled to persuade him to use it just for sleeping, and from a very early age, he would hide them around the house.  Pudding took it upon herself as a sisterly duty to ensure that there was a dummy in his mouth at all times.  In fairness, his crying distressed her greatly, so consoling him would be soothing for her too.

Cubby has never experienced the pragmatic language delays that impair Pudding’s verbal communication, but as time has passed, I’ve noticed that it is increasingly difficult for others to understand him.  During OT we’d work on his oral-motor strength with blowing and sucking activities, but his low muscle tone seemed as pronounced as ever.

On to his third birthday party, where he didn’t have the strength to blow out his own birthday candles.  I made an appointment for a Speech and Language Assessment.  Now, only part of his articulation difficulties are directly caused by the pacifier, but using the dummy has certainly contributed.  With tongue thrust, swallowing difficulties and weakness of the orofacial muscles, it became clear that intensive efforts would be needed to help with his articulation.  The dummy had to go- immediately, and speech therapy sessions twice a week are the order of the day.

Cubby didn’t give it up quite so easily as his big sister, but he hasn’t made mention of his dummy in a few days.  I’m confident throwing them all out once and for all.  It is interesting sitting through another set of speech therapy sessions with another child, and working on completely different problems.

I’ve chastised myself for my leniency with the pacifier this time, just as I berated myself for the strictness that contributed to Pudding’s pica and sensory seeking.  But really, even the wisdom of Ms. Angelou wouldn’t help here.

When it comes to raising kids with different needs, when you know different, you do different.  Whether the outcome is the same or completely different, trying doesn’t make you a dummy, which is good, because we don’t need any more of those in our house.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

April 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm

A Good Day

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On a good day, Cubby gets to wake up refreshed from his all-night slumber.  He isn’t pulled into consciousness by the clamour of his sister waking up.  On a good day he gets pulled into bed for cuddles with me and Daddy, who is not at work or getting ready for work.  On a good day, all his fingers are in tact, and not bleeding profusely.  Yesterday, then, was a good day.  I can’t remember the last time Cubby woke before Pudding.  If we needed the Early Intervention evaluation to take place on a good day, this was perfect.  My boy was at his very best.

His very best means that he will be very unhappy with strangers entering his home, but give him 20 minutes and he’ll be all smiles.  He’ll willingly perform the tasks required of him, but more importantly, keep trying at the ones he can’t do.  In that way you’ll get a very accurate assessment of what he can and can’t do.  I’d say that is pretty perfect for what you’d want from an evaluation.

As previously noted, Cubby is ahead with his language.  It is atypical though.  He labels things, including me.  His pattern of acquiring language is so startlingly similar to his sister’s that we feel we’re just watching the same process unravel.  There is one difference, however.  I sat in on most of  Pudding’s speech therapy sessions with her excellent therapists.  I acquired some of the tricks for getting kids to use their words, and he has the benefit of that.  His social communication is emerging.  He is not delayed or even atypical enough to warrant speech therapy services, but there are watchful eyes on him, and that soothes my mind.

The cognitive skills that were so problematic in the screening?  Not such a big deal today.  In fact, he is again ahead a few months developmentally.  On a good day, of course.

The services he will receive will be coming from an occupational therapist.  He does indeed have fine and gross motor skills delays.  He has low muscle tone, and some major problems with self-regulation, and some sensory issues.  They got to see that even on a good day.

I’m very, very pleased with the outcome.  I’m glad they got to see my boy at the peak of his potential.  I’m happy he is going to receive the services that he needs.  I was right to make the call.  But part of me is glad that on the day of his screening, he had a bad day, because I’m not sure we would have qualified based solely on today’s performance.  I’m astounded by the vast difference between a good day and a bad day.  I’m sorry to say that he has more bad days than good days.  Still, when we get the OT, and my boy gets what he needs, I know that we’ll start having more and more good days.  I can’t wait.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 7, 2010 at 5:17 am

Taking a break

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Today I’m taking another break from the essential.  I did it yesterday, and I’m doing it again today.  Yesterday Pudding didn’t go to her weekly speech therapy session.  Over the weekend she’d had a nasty allergic reaction, and then another reaction to the Benadryl.  She’d had a bad night and though I sent her to her half-day of school, I called in sick to the therapy session.  I think it was the right move, by afternoon she was fading fast.  She was content while drawing on her Aquadoodle mat, but anything else was beyond her.  Her body was out of sorts, and she needed the day off.

In less than an hour I’m supposed to be at a class with Cubby.  It is a toddler group through the local park and community recreation service that we’ve attended twice so far.  It is great in theory: developmentally appropriate play with his peers.  It is exactly what he needs.  The problem is that is starts at 11, and Cubby is ready for a nap by 10.30.  Today he went down for a nap at 9.30, last night was another bad night.  I can, and have kept him awake for the duration of it.  I’ve watched him refuse to follow the play of the leader, refuse to interact with the other children, and throw a temper tantrum when he couldn’t do what he wanted.  I’ve watched that every week, and I know I’ll watch it every other week until we stop going.  I suspect, though I don’t know for sure, that he would do a lot better if this class took place at 9 or 10.  Normally I make him go anyway, because he needs to spend time with typically developing kids.  Normally I make him go anyway because paying for this for him means that we can’t afford the adapted gymnastics class for his sister.  I weighed up both of their needs, and put him first for once.  Normally, I don’t want to admit that I made a mistake, so I make us go anyway.  And all the other mothers tell me he’ll get better, and he’ll grow out of it, and normally I just nod and smile weakly.

Normally.  You see, Pudding and Cubby having bad nights is pretty normal around these parts.  We still do what needs to be done, go to therapy, go to playgroups.  This week though, we need a break.  Tomorrow we have Cubby’s full evaluation by Early Intervention.  This week Spectrummy Daddy has to go to Afghanistan for a few days.  This week Grandma is coming to visit.  Soon, but probably not this week, we’ll hear about where we might spend the next 2 or 3 years of our lives.  All of these things are throwing our routine out of sync, all of these things need to be prepared for in different ways.  This week is no normal one, even for us, so I’m cutting everyone some slack.  Most of all myself.  Pudding won’t stop speaking because she misses a session of speech therapy.  Cubby won’t become more autistic because he isn’t in a room with other toddlers.  I’m taking control of what I can, and taking a break.

I’ve had a couple of emails lately from readers who are new to this.  Who are feeling overwhelmed by all they have to do, all they will have to do.  I get it.  I’ve been there.  Occasionally I’m still there.  I’d love to say that feeling goes away, and perhaps one day it will.  I don’t know for sure though.  So I respond to them what I tell myself too: give yourself a break.  “Normal” service will resume in good time.  You can do this, just give yourself a break.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 5, 2010 at 10:33 am