Friday, December 11, 2009

M-O-M . . . A Speech Journey

Speech can be a long hard road for some children. Osiyyah's one of the kids who's weak area is speech. It always has been. He's excelled in almost every other area, but the speech is just slow in coming.

When he was a year or so old, we got some of Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson's material and tools to try to implement some of her work. We did what we could, but it wasn't easy to figure out exactly what Osiyyah needed. We started the straw hiearchy and the horn hiearchy, but more complex things like jaw instability . . . yeah, that took me a couple years to figure out.

Earlier this year, I set out on a quest to study as much as I could (we had 3 books from TalkTools, so I just needed to READ them!) and try to implement whatever oral placement therapy techniques we could.

I read through Sara's books, but the one book that solidifed everything in my mind and made me realize where we needed to start with Osiyyah's speech was the Jaw book. That book was the most valuable resource I read on speech ever. Everything was starting to make sense and it didn't seem like I had such a huge cloud of "what to do's?" hanging over me anymore.

Since reading Sara's books and emailing back & forth with Renee Hill, one of Sara's collegues, I feel we've been able to adequately start to address Osiyyah's jaw instability & weak oral muscles.

So, around February-April of this year we really started to work hard on Osiyyah's speech therapy here at home. On a typical day, I do 30-40 minutes of oral motor & speech therapy with Osiyyah. We do see a speech therapist once a month and she gives us ideas on what more we can do for Osiyyah.

We work on blowing bubbles, blowing horn #2, holding a popsicle stick (with a penny on each end) between his lips, using the chewy tube (15 chews per side), bite blocks and a few other excercises that correspond with all of those.

The consistency of working with Osiyyah on his oral motor & speech has started to pay off. It's taken a few months. There have been times of frustration, tears, triumph & joy.

Frustation & tears when I realized *how much* work he needed. He couldn't even bite & hold for a second on the bite block. It felt, for a moment, that it would take forever! But, thankfully, with much persistence & consistency, just a few weeks later he was doing bite & hold on the bite block for several seconds per side. Triumph & joy then! To see before my eyes, what I had read in the Jaw book, actually happen, was simply exciting.

Besides Osiyyah's jaw instability, he leaves off the ending consonant of most words, whether it's a sound he can say or not. Over the months we've worked hard on this also. One key word that I will use as an example here is "Mom." He always and only called Mom "Ma" because he could not get the ending sound on that word. A couple months ago, he started getting that final "M" sound at the end. And shortly thereafter, started using it in his everyday life & conversations.

"M-O-M." The full word. With every sound said correctly. And perfectly clear. Everytime I hear him say "MOM", I am so thankful. God used our diligence in oral motor therapy, speech therapy & Longvida Curcumin to help Osiyyah talk. Praise the Lord!

I never knew if we would hear Osiyyah say the full word "Mom." I was happy with him saying "Ma" everytime he called for mom. But, to hear him say "Mom" all day long is amazing.


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