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Small Steps to Speech

Life has been a whirlwind for the last year. We were pregnant, trying to sell our home, running The Glory Days and a million other things I won’t bore you with. With my pregnancy came sickness and being crazy uncomfortable. I did my best to keep up with therapy through it all, but as we got to the end and now that Wyatt is here I have been severely slacking in that area.

I’m trying to give myself grace, but it's hard. Mostly because time isn’t stopping and Rory is progressing or not progressing over this time of family transition. A pain point that's screaming for attention is speech. Getting Rory on her feet took a lot of work, two years of daily therapy that I didn’t miss once. So when she really took off it felt like we had met a finish line and could rest. It’s time to pick back up and press on toward the next goal. 

Rory is trying and wanting so badly to be understood. She is in constant conversation with us. Her chatter is very entertaining, but means nothing in terms of clear speech. The moment she realizes we don’t understand her is when things go south. Girl gets mad. Really mad, then she’s sad, it just breaks my heart. We have entered a season filled with screaming and tears. 

We have gone through three speech therapists since summer.  Thankfully, Rory has finally made friends with our most recent one, which is a win! The last two she would cry at the sight of them. She is very much aware they are here to make her work on something she finds frustrating. After one particularly hard night I took to Instagram. 

As always, the mommas online came out in droves filling my inbox with great advice. I’m sure there are others like me who don’t know where to start, needing some clear action steps to take. I complied all the advice I was given below. I will document our experience implementing what was shared. Let me know what you do for speech support with your kiddos and be sure to check back to see if we find something to help Miss Rorys frustration.  

Fist off, I constantly share Sarah's account ( @LearningwithHazel ) She's amazing and my #goals for what I wish I had the focus to achieve with Rory educationally . 

Sarah pointed me in the direction of The Down Syndrome Education International website, a resource I knew nothing about. The site offers courses to parents and caregivers on an endless amount of topics. They also have support tools you can purchase to help you implement what you learn. It’s research based advice, which is never a bad idea to take. 

Sarah shared they used speech therapy and music therapy to help Hazel from ages 2.5-3. Focusing on a lot of repetition and teaching Hazel how to shape her mouth properly when speaking. 

She suggested using pictures or objects to cue Rory to use her words. I have been meaning to pull together chatbooks of our family and daily activities. I want to fill the books with photos of Rory carrying out her daily actions. Another momma suggested I place specific books in each room, having Rory point to the image prior to the activity. Doing so would be a small step into using AAC - Assistive augmentative Communication.

I have carried the misconception that using supports would hinder Rorys speech from developing. That she might lean to much on sign, a device or pictures not using her words.  This was a mistake on my part. Providing her with other means to communicate will lesson her frustrations around speech, which have been causing her to shut down. We have been trying to incorporate more sign into our daily activities. Sharon over on @signislove is a great resources for everyday signing. 

Emily, from @togetherweebloom reminded me to keep it simple, having one goal a week. We can get so lost in the big goal we forget all the tiny steps it takes to get there. For some reason this concept was easy for me to wrap my mind around with gross and fine motor skills. There were so many small milestone Rory had to master before walking was ever possible. With speech I've had to constantly remind myself of those building blocks. Take it one day, one skill at a time. 

She also pointed out ----> Hearing. Hearing isn’t cut and dry. Your child could be hearing muffled sounds, parts of words or be unable to hear certain pitches and tones. This all can hinder speech. Rory will have a Sedated ABR test the week of Thanksgiving and possibly be receiving tubes. Rory also has a lip tie we'll be having revised to aid in her speech development. Emily is a SLP, check her out! She has been offering me so much great advice. 

A few moms recommended these two programs: 

It takes two to talk -The Hanen 

See and Learn Programs 

I have bought both. I will let you know how they work in the coming weeks and months. 


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