Monday, May 10, 2010

TalkTools And Opposition From Therapists

Karien left a comment on the this post. I thought I would reply to her with another post, in case others would find it of interest.

"I just love updates on "O's speech. My son Kallen is at a very similar stage- leaving out certain letters at the beginning and very often on at the end of words, but most of the time he can say those sounds individually. He struggles with the"k" and "g" but we pronounce the "g" , I think like you would say it in the word "aaaarg". I suppose the bite blocks are from talk tools? I just love your detailed descriptions- there is so much different opinions around here, and many therapists ( all we know) doesn't really buy into the talk tools thing- therefore we struggle to have assess to it and learn how to use it!
He does get the "k" right if we press his tongue down and he is more aware of that now, but still pronounce it as a "T""

Yes, the bite blocks we use are from TalkTools.

I know many therapists, even here in the states, do not agree with TalkTools and Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson's techniques. And it is very unfortunate. In my opinion, it's also a very closed mind and ignoring what should be an obvious fact & truth.

Why should it be so obvious? When you look at the whole picture of children with Down syndrome one of the "characteristics" of the syndrome is hypotonia, or low muscle tone. That low muscle tone is everywhere. Why do so many do PT? To help facilitate proper muscle tone. How about OT? To help facilitate proper use of fine motor skills because of the challenges low muscle tone can cause. All the therapies are also to help the child's general development and brain development by challenging the body to work more than what it may want to do.

The low muscle tone doesn't stop at the jaw line. There are muscles all over the face (duh!). If those muscles have low tone, which can easily be seen, then why would you only work on making the child say the sound? If the child's tone is so low, how could you expect him to say a sound? By doing superficial therapies? Therapies that superficially help the child say a sound, but in reality the child's mouth muscles aren't up to where they should be to truly say that sound?

You can see the low tone in that a lot of children with DS hold their mouths slightly open and their tongue slightly out. Why is that? Not because their tongue is too big, but because their muscles aren't strong enough to keep their jaw together and their tongue retracted.

I've seen therapists who just do the superficial therapies. Like making the child lay down on the floor, so that their tongue automatically falls back in their mouth/throat. Then they make the child say a certain sound, particularly the "K" (hard C) and "G" (Guh) sound. Those sounds are produced at the back of the throat/back of the tongue and then the child might be able to say those sounds since their tongue has just "fallen into place" by gravity. I know some therapists may use this to just show the child where the sound is coming from, if they can't figure out where to make that sound come from. If that is the case, I guess it's not as bad. I suppose it might be helpful for some children.

I've seen oral motor (placement) therapy work for Osiyyah. I've seen progress. His jaw went from not being able to bite a single bite block to now being able to hold #4 for 20 seconds per side per time. His speech has improved because of this. No one's gonna tell me oral motor/placement therapy doesn't work.

If you read the books, they make so much sense. Especially if you read the books and have a child with slow speech in your life. When you see your child (or sibling ;)) fit almost everything you read, the lightbulb really turns on.

Karien and any others who's therapists are skeptical about TalkTools, I'd suggest buying them the books or a DVD set and giving it to them and having them watch/read them. Or putting on a presentation with other families or a DSA. TalkTools & the therapists who did the DVD sets and wrote the books give tons of information and explanations as to why and how OPT works.

I did a blog post a few months ago on what resources I'd recommend from TalkTools. But, to keep things simple, the DVD set I'd recommend is Lori Overland's Down Syndrome Population DVD series. And the two books I'd recommend are Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson's Oral Placement Therapy book and her Jaw book.Of course, anyone who's been reading this blog for any length of time, knows how highly I recommend the Jaw book. It has been *key* to Osiyyah's speech and language progress.

I will try to get one of my sisters or mom to take pictures when I do Osiyyah's speech therapy with him next. That way you can see some of the PROMPT commands we do for some of those hard sounds (like K & G).



Karien Prinlsoo said...

Thank you very much for your time spend in answering my question.Talk tools are quite expensive to order from South Africa and many people are unfamiliar with it. I want to start using it with Kallen- at home, and then when they see the difference, I can explain about Talk Tools. We also have a typical cousin, 4 months younger that Kallen and she struggles even more with the "k", she also struggle to chew meat. So hearing THAT, it made it vary clear to me that oral motor exercises is the answer. I'll be looking into it - I must just figure out a place from where t order it.
I just love the way you explain step by step, what you do, and the results of it. It is your previous post- the one where you explained what you use from Talk Tools that got me thinking. In the meantime, I'm going to use what we have and see what the result is.

Qadoshyah said...

You're welcome! I'm glad to be any help I can :).

Far Above Rubies said...

Thank you so much for this information. I'll talk to my SpT regarding the Bite Blocks and Jaw Book.

Also, I wanted to ask how is your brother doing with the supplement Nutrivine D (sp?) You did a blog post about it some time ago and I wanted to know his continued progress.

Would you mind emailing me at I'm comtemplating getting the supplement, but my daughter's Early Intervention Dietician is hesitant about it. Says the supplement is aggressive. I will have to make an appointment with my MD to clarify.

My Speech and Physical Therapists believe I should give it a try.

Thank you for your time. I specifically would like to know if it has continued to help increase and strengthen muscle tone.

Windmills and Tulips

Rebecca Talley said...

Interesting. I've never heard of this.

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