Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Practice . . . I mean, Repetition . . . Makes Perfect

I thought I would give a progress update on Osiyyah's speech. If you've been following our blog for any amount of time, you probably know that one of Osiyyah's biggest struggles is with speech. We've been working hard on it for awhile. Longvida Curcumin has helped him tremendously as well . . . and it's almost been a year since we've been giving that . . . more on that in another post hopefully :).

With Osiyyah, constant repetition in having him say certain sounds & words helps him tremendously. Along with constant repetition in working on his oral muscles, especially his jaw. We've made progress in both areas, praise the Lord.

Osiyyah was on bite block #5 for a couple months. It took him some time to get it down, realize he needed to actually bite on it and hold it for me while I gently and very lightly pulled the bite block. He was doing very well with that and was up to 20-25 seconds per time for 8-12 times per side. So a couple weeks ago I decided to try bite block #4 and he did that beautifully. He can hold bite block #4 SO well for a good 25 seconds. I'm doing 6 times at the moment (25 seconds per time). We try to do it every day, but sometimes its every other day. 

The strength I can feel in his jaw is amazing. The progress we've made on that is absolutely wonderful. His jaw was so weak 8 months ago. I was in tears when we first tried the bite blocks. He wasn't getting anywhere and his jaw was so weak he couldn't hold it for a second. Praise the Lord for the tremendous progress Osiyyah has made.

We also work on lip rounding with the Button Pull activity from TalkTools. He does that very well too and his lips are quite strong too!

We're also working with Horn #2 still for lip closure. But, I think it's time to bump him up to Horn #3. We also use Horn #9 a little bit to encourage long breath. #9 is an airplane that gets louder the longer and harder you blow it. So, it's great motivation for him to get a good long breath, instead of just real short, shallow breathes.

Since Osiyyah's ST is trained in PROMPT she's been using that with him a lot. And therefore we've been using it with him a lot  . . . what she teaches us. He responds to PROMPT so, so well. It makes a huge difference in how he can say a sound. It's really amazing.

Which leads me to reconsider Apraxia. I thought he may have it over a year ago. The therapist we were seeing at the time, wanted to wait a year to reevaluate him. We've since changed therapists though.

I mentioned it to his current therapist a couple months ago and she didn't discount it at all. She said it could be a possibility. I think I will bring it up again in May when we see her, because I *really* think we are dealing with it. Just the way that he responds to PROMPT and cued speech so well confirms it all the more, in my opinion.

When I read up on Apraxia 15 months ago, it described Osiyyah exactly. But, then some things changed after we started giving him Longvida. His speech and language changed and improved so much, that I kind of disregarded the Apraxia issue. Maybe Longvida helped him so that he doesn't have it as severe, but it may still be there some. We'll see.

Osiyyah has a very hard time getting the ending consonant on a lot of words. And some times he'll have a hard time getting the beginning consonant on words. Like when he says "Bum", he only says "Bu", even though he can say the "m" sound and puts it on the end of other words, like "mom." It's very strange why he would be able to say some complete words with the ending sound, but then not be able to say other words that have the same ending (again, makes me think Apraxia). We're trying to teach him the "m" ending like "Bum", but with the word "Gum", since he doesn't really say that word much. We're making slow progress on both "Bum" and "Gum", but it'll be a lot more repetition before he can get that down. I was really close to getting him to say "Bum" this morning, but it's not quite there yet.

The "mmm" sound seems to be a very hard sound for him to combine into other words. For "me", he says "dee." We can break it down and have him say "mmmm" and then "eeee." But, trying to combine them, just doesn't work.

But, Osiyyah made a huge step in saying words this week. A couple days ago my mom was working with him on saying different words and sounds. She worked on his name "O-see-ya." Which are all sounds he can say. But, whenever someone asks him his name he says "Dee." So, after a good 20+ minutes of breaking down his name and having him say the sounds over and over again in a slow pace, she got him to say "Osiyyah." What a joy to hear!

We've continued to ask him his name multiple times a day and have others ask him his name (even the gals at the dentist office yesterday ;)) to get him to continue saying it. And of course we always say "good job, woohoo!" after he says it.

So, now I can ask my little man, "What is your name?" and will get a response of "Osiyyah", as clear as a little boy can be, and as cute as can be with his little "O" shaped lips all pukered out for that first sound :). Such a blessing, praise the Lord!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Osiyyah The Chef . . . Smartie Pants

A couple days ago I had Osiyyah in the house with me. I was doing some stuff on the computer and he was sitting on the couch looking through a Desserts cook book. Looking at all the neat pictures and asking us if the recipes had "no wheat" and "no cow" in them. In other words, gluten free and cow milk free :).

He finished looking through the book, got up and said he was going to make some food in the kitchen. I said, okay that's fine. I thought he would do what he has done before, just pretend play. No, he was serious this time :)!

About 5 minutes or so after Osiyyah went into the kitchen, mom came in and said,

"What's he doing? Who's watching him?"

I replied with,

"I'm watching him, he said he was going to make some food."

She says, "Well, he is making food."

I went into the kitchen and sure enough, he had a stool at the counter (at the stove actually). He had gotten a pan out of the cabinet, put it on the stove top, poured milk into it (about a cup's worth), poured some vinegar in it (he had gotten it out of the cabinet, poured it and put it away), got sugar out of the cabinet, put about a cup's worth in the pan, and had poured some seasonings into his mix.

All that in a matter of 5 minutes or so. Never asked for help or anything, he did it all by himself. We were all in hysterics and quite surprised at how he did it all!! Thankfully he can't reach the knobs on the stove to turn it out, so no danger there.

But, wow, he definitely surprised us all. And now, we know next time he says he's going to make some "pood" (how he says "food"), that we'll make sure someone is in the kitchen with him, haha!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Life has been busy since the last time I posted. A road trip to Dallas one weekend and then a road trip to NYC area/NJ last weekend. And then regular life in between. Yeah, crazy.

I just got done writing an article for our local Down syndrome association monthly newsletter. The article is titled "A Mission of Hope, Truth & Acceptance" and is about our book, Connecting The Rainbow and the orphanages and institutions in European countries. I'll post it here once it is proof-read and good to go :).

We're also getting together an entry for Osiyyah to be in the 2011 calendar that our DSA puts out. That should be fun.

I'll try to post something a bit more interesting and good research sometime soon here. I do have some stuff I can post up.

Oh and since I mentioned our book, the company it is printed through is offering a code for free shipping. The code is FREEMAIL305 and is good until May 1st. Again the book can be ordered through

Until next time,


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life On The Ranch: Green Is Coming!

orry, the blogging has slacked for the last week and a half. Life has been busy . . . as usual ;).

Spring is here. Everything is slowly turning green. The bunnies feel the warmth of spring. Babies are filling the nestboxes (23 babies to be exact). The fresh smell of green grass & flowers is in the air. The frogs & bugs are starting to come out. And the sounds of summer are slowly coming.

Today Osiyyah, Ezriyah (my 19 y/o sister) and me went on a walk around our property (it's a square mile, which is a nice walk).

Here are a few pictures from our walk today.

...The goats (does) all waiting to go out to pasture...

...the bucks & their guardian dog following us out...

...and at the end of the walk, the kids stopped to throw rocks in the pond, as usual :)...

We are truly blessed to live out here! It's so much nicer than California . . . in so many ways!

Osiyyah continues to not have any reflux problems since cutting out all gluten. Which is such a blessing! We successfully made gluten-free strawberry shortcake today for lunch. And it didn't really taste "gluten-free." Baking with gluten-free flours can be a bit tricky. But, if you have the right recipe for a "gluten-free flour mix" things can go pretty smoothly.

That's about it for today!


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