Saturday, May 10, 2008

therapy is moving right along

Update 5/7/08: We had Lydia's third therapy session today. It wasn't all just singing and games today... we worked on lots of cognitive stuff, too. M (therapist) brought over the DAYC (that was the original tool they used to see where she was at, developmentally) today to see if Lydia has gained any new skills that she could mark on that. M asked us if she gets upset when we leave her, or if she prefers one of us, but she's never done either of those.

Lydia can point to several of her body parts, although she needs to be in the right mood. M wants us to work on throwing with her. (!!!) Good thing we have a small stash of soft balls, lol. M also wants us to work on having Lydia actually say what she wants, instead of just pointing and hollering, lol. Like if she's thirsty, keep the cup just out of reach and encourage her to say "cup." (Lydia CAN say cup, but it comes out "Guh!" lol) Today we also worked on having her do stuff with our help (like squeezing one particular bear's tummy to make it sing the ABCs), and then when she couldn't do the same thing by herself, to give the toy to us to have us do it. She gave her bears stuff to pretend eat and drink. And then this afternoon just now, Lydia had a pretend egg, and I pretended to eat it... then she pretended to eat it. That was a first b/c usually she wants everyone else to eat it. :p We also tried to get her to drink from an open cup, but she mostly just lets it dribble down her shirt. M wants us to work on that some more too.

Updates from 5/8/08: (I posted this exchange on a public message board, asking for help for if I'm doing it right. The replies (in the colored boxes) are from someone who has been on both sides, both as a therapist and as a parent w/ a child who is in therapy. I have posted her replied with her permission.)

Well Lydia and I are both frustrated. See, she knows what to expect when I say yogurt, or cheerios, or cup. If I say cup, she even looks around and tries to find it, and she'll get it and take a drink or give it to me or just hold it or something. But now that I'm trying to encourage words with her by keeping things out of her immediate reach, it's frustrating us both.

Like the cup, for instance. I can tell she's getting thirsty, and I'll get her cup and hold it so she can see it but not touch it. I'll ask her if she wants her cup, cup, cup, cup, cup? She reaches for it and hollers instead of trying to say cup. Same thing with the yogurt this morning. I fixed up her yogurt and tried to get her to say either bite or yogurt, and she wouldn't. She just looked at the spoon and bowl and hollered and cried. I can just see her thought process... "Mom, I KNOW that's yogurt, and I KNOW that's my cup! Why aren't you giving it to me? You don't have to tell me what it is, just feed me/let me have a drink!" I don't know if she's maybe just not used to the "change" yet. But I'm so sad for her.

I "give in" and let her have the cup or food or whatever after only a minute or so, but I don't know if there's something better or something else I should be doing to try to encourage her to verbalize what she wants. She hasn't had to ask for anything her whole life b/c I've always been right there to anticipate her needs, and now that I WANT her to try to learn how to ask for something, at the same time, I don't want to teach her that "enough hollering and Mom will give in anyway" ya know? But on the other hand, if I just sit and wait for her to say words... we'll be sitting and waiting a year from now, I'm sure. lol.

Awww mama, don't be discouraged. This is very normal. Most parents have a hard time with-holding things from their child. I worked in EI doing the therapy and knew exactly what I needed to do to help my son's speech delay and STILL had trouble doing it. I will tell you what I had to tell myself, hubby, and many other parents along the way. You need to do what's best for her even though it will sometimes be frustrating, hard, and sometimes heartbreaking for both of you. We had really good luck with my son using signs. Maybe you could ask M how she thinks that would work for Lydia..... It helped my son learn he had to do something to get something and he was using words in no time. I have seen it work for many many children. Please PM me if you need someone to talk to or ask questions about all this EI stuff. I know it can be tough bc I have been there as a mommy and a therapist!

My reply to her:

That's the thing though... I'm having trouble deciding what the "best thing" is for her... is it for her needs being met and her knowing that I'll take care of her, or is it that she NEEDS to learn to talk? Should I be withholding for longer than a minute? I don't want to hurt her or make her not trust me. I mean, I NEED to feed/water her so obviously I can't withhold stuff for days at a time until she finally says something.

I'll start trying signs again. She did them here and there a few months ago, but stopped when I stopped. She seemed to know what they meant (although she mostly just signed "more" for everything... like I'd lay her down for a diaper change and she'd be laying there signing "more" lol). I want to do something proactive that's not going to end up causing us both to cry several times a day.

I understand the dilemma mama! I do really. When I was going through it I decided it was best to stick it out and with-hold until an attempt was made. I don't think some crying is going to make her not trust you. The way I did it and suggested to other parents to do it to try to get her to repeat the word. ANY ATTEMPT calls for rewarding her with what she is wanting. At this age the words often aren't going to be clear. Articulation normally isn't something to worry about until 3. I would definitely go for longer than a minute. She will learn the point you will give in and push you to that point. What I did was try to get my son to say it and if he didn't even attempt after a few tries then I would put it up and try again after a few minutes. I also always suggested to parents to leave things the child really likes in sight but out of reach. They are more likely to attempt to use words for these highly desirable items.
Just remember that it is going to be hard. I am not going to lie about that. After she gets used to having to verbally communicate to get something, it will be easier. She has to learn that to move forward though.
Children often have to have to do things that are upsetting b/c it is best for them. I can't imagine how hard it is for parents to watch their children get PT or feeding therapy which can be really invasive but must be done bc it is best for them. I have seen mommies cry right along with the child through feeding clinics. They had just made the decision that it was best for their child to get the therapy they need.
Just remember that if you stick it out, you should see improvement and it will get easier. It is something new to her and she just needs to get use to it. Change is always hard. Let me know how it goes mama!

My reply again:

Hm, I just tried it again. I set her up with some peas and cheese just out of reach, and she first tried to reach them, but when I said peas or cheese, she said cheese (or something like cheese, anyway, lol). She LOVES cheese so I figured if she'd talk for anything, it would be for that. lol. Then I took her cup and set it up, and she hollered and reached for it. I said "cup" while doing the sign for it, and she did the sign and said cup! Then I brought out the cheerios again, though, and she tried to revert to her old ways, but did say it after minimal hollering.

Usually when I talk to her, I'm "asking" her if she wants something, so my sentence has that upward tilt in pitch at the end b/c of the question, and DD has picked up on this b/c all of her "words" sound like questions, lol. And her little voice can get SO high and cute, and sometimes it's hard to tell if she's singing a song or if she's trying to talk. I'll have to take a video after a while and share it.


Ok here's a couple of videos. First one is just her having fun, where you can hear how high her voice gets.

Second one is where I'm trying to get her to talk. You can see her sign "more" and "eat" in the video, and just after I turned off the camera, she signed "all done." She had only had 3 bites, but I went ahead and removed the sandwich from her sight, and she just went off to play. (If I had removed it and she really still wanted some more rather than being all done, she would have hollered, lol).

Wow, that is really good! If you keep doing things the way you are, you will see improvement. Seems like there already is some improvement! IMO, progress is already being made! Keep up the good work!
And BTW, I love reading your postings about this! Since I staying home now, I miss it. You and Lydia seem so great to work with. Y'all are one of the families we would have fought over. Everyone always wants the good families. Lol.

So that's the latest update on that from me.

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