Friday, July 30, 2010

PROMPT: The "T" Command

This PROMPT command is for the "T" sound. This is a PROMPT we use quite often with Osiyyah. He can say the "T" sound quite well, but has a hard time (and forgets at times) to put the sound at the end of certain words or in particular words. Like "table." When you slow him down and PROMPT the whole word out with him, he can say it perfectly!

To do this command:
Place your middle finger right under the front of the jaw. Right at the little indentation at the very front of the mouth/jaw. Lightly push your finger up while you say the sound. Have the child say the sound at the same time as well. Support may be necessary for the child's head to keep the child in a proper position.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PROMPT: The "B" Command

Again, here are the said PROMPT posts!

This PROMPT command is for the "B" sound. We've used this a little bit with Osiyyah. Most of the time he has no trouble saying the "B" sound, but there are certain words that it is helpful with.

To do this command:
Place your two fingers around the child's lips, as seen in the first picture. Then move your hand away from the mouth in a forward motion. Say the "B" sound  while you are doing this command. Have the child say the sound at the same time as well. Support may be necessary for the child's head to keep the child in a proper position.


Monday, July 26, 2010

A New Study Showing 2 Genes Linked to Brain Impairment

A new study has recently been done in Down Syndrome mice that was to try to find which extra genes are responsible for the brain defects in people with DS (and in particular DS Mice in this study).

There are so many genes responsible for all the delays, impairments, etc that are present in Down syndrome. The puzzle is so large and complex scientists do not know the full spectrum of which genes, what gene overdoses, overexpressions, protein overexpressions, gene or protein deficiences are responsible for the syndrome. There have been quite a few studies done showing where the problems stem from in DS, but it hasn't unraveled the whole syndrome, which should be obvious.

While there is nothing known to counter the bad caused by Olig1 & Olig2 (the two genes studied in this new study) at this time, it is promising that the researches concluded the study that these genes may be "biomarkers for the rational development of early interventional therapies of the cognitive impairments in DS."

2 Genes Linked to Embryonic Brain Impairment in Down's Syndrome
Researchers pin down two genes that may be responsible for abnormal neural development in Down's mice embryos. The findings may help identify possible therapeutic strategies to treat cognitive defects in human patients
In the new study led by Tarik Haydar, then at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., the scientists sought to determine which of the extra genes in the DS mice are responsible for brain defects. (Haydar is currently a professor of anatomy and neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine.) Their results were published online July 18 in Nature Neuroscience (Scientific American is a part of Nature Publishing Group).

First, the scientists found abnormal proportions of excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the brains of the embryonic DS mice, with a much higher quantity of the inhibitory cells. Then they looked over the list of extra genes present in the DS mice and homed in on Olig1 and Olig2, which are known from previous studies to program the developing brain to produce inhibitory neurons. They then engineered a generation of DS mice to have the normal genetic dosage of these genes. They found that simply eliminating the superfluous copies of Olig1 and Olig2 prevented the brain defects and restored normal communication among the neurons.

"This is an extremely elegant set of experiments, which are very difficult to do," says Roger Reeves, professor of physiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who studies mechanisms of gene action in Down's syndrome and was not involved in the study. The results "very much expand our understanding of just how these imbalances come to be in the first place, and demonstrates the specific role of [these genes] in this imbalance," Reeves says. He adds that the findings have important implications for several different drugs designed to ameliorate cognitive deficits in DS that are currently making their way to clinical trials.

The next step will be to determine whether the adult mice behave differently or perform better on learning and memory tests. Reeves points out that scientists have questioned the validity of such tests in recent years, but says that altogether the team's data "strongly imply" that the modified mice would perform better in functional tests.

Although it is too soon to say how these findings may relate to humans with DS, Haydar points out that humans also have Olig1 and Olig2, and the proteins derived from these genes perform similar functions in mice and humans. The researchers conclude in their paper that these genes may be useful as "biomarkers for the rational development of early interventional therapies of the cognitive impairments in DS."

Haydar also hopes that his team can use the results to begin searching for molecules that influence the expression of Olig1 and Olig2 in order to prevent the brain defects in DS mice. Such experiments could lead to new human treatments for cognitive impairment in DS, which is often the most debilitating aspect of the disorder.

"It's been a very tough nut to crack," Haydar says. Progress toward understanding the genetic basis for the defects in DS has been discouraging partly because of the large number of genes potentially involved, and also because so many things are changed, he explains. "That these two genes just by themselves do major things was a big surprise," he adds. "It gives us hope to unravel this mystery."


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Life On The Ranch: Summer Time & Pigs

Well, I've been a slacker on the blog for the last week on the lack of posts. Seems like life has been busy and I haven't had any specific topics on mind to blog about. Although, I do have a bunch of PROMPT stuff to put up, that'll have to wait a couple more days. So, for now, I'll leave you with a few pictures from around here.

The summers here in NE Oklahoma can get quite humid at times. But, with the humidity and the frequent thunder storms, it makes for some beautiful scenery . . . lots of green! I'll deal with the humid heat in the summer, since we're so blessed to be out here!

Last week my brother built a new pen for a couple of his pigs and because it was such a beautiful evening we all went and watched the pig move.

The pond and some of the goats (and their llamas)

The boys bringing the pigs down

The twins helping nudge the pigs along :). Osiyyah was thrilled to poke the pigs with a stick. He's normally scared of the big hogs, but since we were all there he was okay with them. He would poke them and then run away, haha!

The move is complete . . . at the pen entrance!

And can't forget about the lawn mower rides the kids have all been getting from their big brothers :) ~



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Updated & Reorganized Website

After working on redesigning and updating the website we started a few years ago, it's finally done. You can see it at this link:

Let me know what you think of the look and ease of browsing the site!

I'm going to work on adding articles that I've written here on the blog to the site, so they can very easily be found.

Hopefully I can get more PROMPT commands up over the next week. I have to get one of my sisters or my mom to take pictures tomorrow when I do speech with Osiyyah :).

Have a great day!


Monday, July 19, 2010

The Castle

A few days ago I mentioned a story we have in our book that was written by Dave Hingsburger and I said I would post it up sometime here. So, here it is . . . Tissue warning on this :).

The Castle

He was born at the wrong time to the right woman. 67 years ago Richard was born with Down Syndrome, his mother was informed moments after his birth that he was a defective child and should be sent to the 'Castle'. She decided then and there that no child of her's would grow up in Lennox Castle, the hospital for disabled children in her area. Doctors, unnerved at her determination to keep her child, young Richard, informed her that because he had Down Syndrome he would die young that his 'fourth birthday' would be his last.

She loved that baby.

Loved him.

When his first birthday approached the family began to wonder about the celebrations. It was decided then and there that Richard's first birthday would go uncelebrated, there would be no party, no cards, no gifts. This was not a result of grief, of denial, of shame. Richard's mom decided that if he didn't have a first birthday - he could never have a last one. If he didn't turn one, then he wouldn't turn two, if he didn't turn two he wouldn't turn three, and if he didn't turn three then he'd not celebrate his last - the fourth. Instead, family celebrations intensified. Christmas and Easter and all the rest became huge family celebrations. More than ever before the family pulled together. Celebrated every life together.

Richard never knew a birthday party.

He never turned one.

His neices and nephews, his great neices and nephews, never even knew how old their uncle was. Richard was hospitalized only once in his life. His family filled his room, many stayed with him through the nights, through the days, caring for him in shifts. Nurses had to constantly ask people to move and give them room to work. Though very ill, Richard pulled through ... as if his family had lassooed his soul and pulled it back from heaven's shore.

It was then that one of the boys took a look at the plastic wristband the hospital had placed around Richard's wrist to see how old his uncle was, no one knew. Because he'd never had a first birthday.

Richard died three years ago. Calculations showed that he'd lived for 64 years. He lived loved. He lived part of a family that celebrated belonging to him. There were "Richard" traditions, at every family wedding, after the dance between bride and groom, Richard took the floor with the bride. With every new home or apartment, Richard was the first overnight guest.

At his funeral, the whole family decided to walk behind the casket. They wanted not to be in cars hidden from view. They wanted to walk, publicly proclaiming their membership in Richard's family. This boy who was to be sent to the castle, lived his life a king. This boy who was to die at 4 had a mother that stole birthdays away and gave celebration to every day. This boy who was to be hidden died - and 5 generations of his family walked behind his coffin.


*** Story written by Dave Hingsburger.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

"No, No, No"

Another break-through in Osiyyah's speech came last week. Something we haven't directly worked on too much yet - the "N" sound used in a word. 

Osiyyah typically does not say anything with the sound "N" in it. It's just too hard for him to do. We weren't even working on that sound really because there are easier sounds that he is mastering well. But, of course some of the oral motor exercises we do with Osiyyah work on strengthening the tongue and jaw to be able to say those harder sounds.

Lots of kids learn how to say "No" early on. Osiyyah has never said that word (until last week). If he has a "No" answer to something he'd just shake his head or move his hand and gesture, while making a noise which was his way of saying "No." The word "Yeah" was one of his first words and he can say that word clear as day.

Well, last week, someone asked him a question and he plainly and clearly said "no, no, no." I overheard him say that and I asked him "What did you just say?" and he repeated it again, "no, no, no." Wow, what a delight to hear! Later that day (I think it was), I had him say that to his mom while we were doing speech therapy time. She was just as shocked too!

He will still go to use his gesturing at times or shaking his head, but we remind him and say "how do you say it?" and he'll remember to use the "no, no, no" phrase :). He's getting it down very well and I'm so thankful for yet another breakthrough in his speech. Even though this may seem small to some, this is HUGE for Osiyyah!

He doesn't say it singly as just "No", it's always "no, no, no." Why, I'm not totally sure. Has something to do with his motor planning difficulties, I'm sure.

His speech therapist did get him to say it once when she did a cue with him. But, he hasn't said it singly again, even with us doing the same cue. That's alright though, he can at least say the word!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Blog Giveaway Winners!

Thanks to those who entered in the drawing. I decided to choose two winners for the blog giveaway! So, with the help of, the winners are:

First winner - 

#3 ~ Annie H.
"Wesleybear said...
I would love to have a blog!! This would be a chance to start. Wesley is thriving and so happy, and I am sure the Longvida Curcumin has been the cause of his recent progress in his processing skills. The speech has yet to come but he is trying harder than ever!!

Thanks Country Girl!!! Annie"

Second winner - 

#5 ~ Dave Hingsburger
" Dave Hingsburger said...
Howdy, I'd love a blog redesign, I'm not good at that kind of thing. So please enter me in your draw."

Congratulations to the winners! I look forward to designing your blogs for you :). I'll be in contact with you via email today!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Drawing the Names

Yes, today is the 15th and it's time to draw the names to find out the winner of the blog giveaway. But, some things came up today and I haven't gotten to drawing the names. So, that'll be one of the first things I do on the computer tomorrow . . . stay tuned to see who wins!

I have some exciting info too on some more PROMPT commands . . . today was Osiyyah's speech therapy appointment, so I learned a few more PROMPT commands. Will work on getting those up too.

And to anyone who's left a comment or emailed me, I will get back to everyone tomorrow, Lord willing!



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blog Giveaway!

This post will stay at the top until July 14th. Scroll down for new posts!

We're taking a couple days off of our PROMPT command posts for a blog giveaway! This giveaway will run from today (7/8) through Wednesday, July 14th.

This giveaway is from my website, blog & graphic design business, Country Girl Designs.
 This giveaway is for a Custom Blog Design ($95 value!).

What's included in a Custom Blog Design? It's a fully personalized blog with a custom background, matching header, signature, custom fonts for the title of posts or side bar, custom font for your posts, a button for others to link back to your blog, custom post dividers, any other CSS/HTML goodies, and just about anything else that you would like personalized.

Any style, patterns, colors, themes, etc for the design can be chosen by the winner!

To enter the giveaway leave a comment on this post. The winner will be drawn on Thursday, July 15th!

Enter the giveaway and feel free to pass this on to any others who would like a chance to win!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"I Don't Have Down Syndrome All The Time"

Dave Hingsburger is an advocate for those with disabilities and gives presentations on this topic fairly often. A story he wrote is featured in our book and I will post that story up in a couple days hopefully. But, in the meantime, someone posted a link to his blog and a story he had written about something he witnessed the other day. We all thought it was pretty funny and quite interesting. So, here it is:

We'd just sat down for lunch when we both heard that pronunciation of the word, 'Mother' that communicates so much. 'Muhhhhh-therrrrrr'. I glanced up and saw a frustrated and harried woman, carrying packages from the Bay and her son, a young man with Down Syndrome who was in his pre-teens.

Of course, I listened.


It seems that the mother wanted to go with him to get his food and then have him go with her to get her food, then they would eat together. Son, thought this was silly. Why doesn't she get hers, he get his, then they meet for lunch. She did an admirable job of keeping herself calm. I did an admirable job of just listening, not judging. Who knew what kind of experiences she'd had that led to this arrangement? They had been standing arguing and just before she moved again towards the court he said something that had a profound impact on me as a listener and she as a mother.

'Trouble is you think I have Down Syndrome all the time and I don't,' he said with real frustration.

She stopped again, 'What?'

'I only have Down Syndrome sometimes, when I'm learning something new or if the words are real hard. I don't have Down Syndrome the rest of the time when I'm doing what I know how to do.'

'And you don't have Down Syndrome now?' she asked.

'No, I know how to get my lunch, I buy my lunch at school all the time. I don't have someone with me all the time you know.' he was frustrated, he didn't even realize he'd said something of real importance, to me and to his mother.

'So,' she continued looking at him hard, 'you don't feel like you have Down Syndrome all the time.'

'No, most times I don't even think about it,' he said.

She said, her tiredness seemed to be gone, 'Go ahead, we'll find a table after we've got our food.'

They disappeared from view.

Joe and I looked at each other. I said to him, 'That kid should teach classes to parents of kids with Down Syndrome.'

Makes me wonder what goes on in Osiyyah's head sometimes. Since his speech is delayed, he doesn't always speak his mind, but he does so plenty of times. There are times though, that he'll look at someone with a look like, "Hello, I can do that!" And you know what, he can do a lot and he can do so much more than we realize sometimes. Like when he was in the kitchen one time with a cook book and trying to "make something", haha.

Have a good night!


Monday, July 12, 2010

PROMPT: The "G" and "K" Command

This PROMPT command is for the "G" or "K" sounds. We've used this to encourage Osiyyah to say that sound more, since he has a bit of trouble retracting his tongue in certain sounds.

To do this command: Place the tip of your middle finger at the very back of the child's throat, under their jaw. Gently, but firmly, press your finger upward so the child feels the pressure. Say the "G" sound, like "Guh" or "Grr" or whatever you want to try, while this command is being done. Or say the hard "K" sound like in "Cat" when you are doing this command. Have the child say the sound at the same time as well. Support may be necessary for the child's head to keep the child in a proper position.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Recipe 6: Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Fudge

Okay, so what fudge isn't gluten free? But, anyways, had to name it so that it was clear it's gluten free :).

This is one of our family staples around here :). Osiyyah *really* likes this fudge and calls it "F'duh". We were doing a lot of baking, cooking & canning in the kitchen on Friday, so he asked what he could do. I suggested we make some "F'duh" and he was thrilled to help! He had been asking for someone to make "F'duh" for days.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Fudge
Click here for a printer-friendly version of the recipe.

2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder (optional)

Put the sugar & milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stirring it to make sure it does not burn. Boil for 1 minute. If you are making this Chocolate-Peanut Butter Fudge, add the cocoa powder in with the sugar & milk.

After it boils for 1 minute, turn the heat off and add the peanut butter.

Beat with a hand-mixer (or a spoon) until thick.

Pour into a pan, making the fudge about 1/4-1/2 an inch thick and refrigerate. Once it's cooled and thickened some more, it's ready to eat!

I doubled the recipe. Normally it would make about one 9"x12" pan. With the recipe doubled it made a 10"x13" and an 8"x8".

And of course, you can't forget to lick the spatulas off :).



Saturday, July 10, 2010

Looking for a few pictures!

I am in the process of updating and redesigning our website. It's extremely outdated and I thought it would be a good time to get it updated. Hopefully with lots of new, exciting and well organized articles :).

So, I would like to put a small slideshow on the homepage with some pictures of kids with Down syndrome.  If anyone has any adorable pictures of their little one(s), and would like me to include them in a slideshow, send me an email - qf @ gotdownsyndrome . net (remove spaces).



Friday, July 9, 2010

PROMPT: The "E" Command

Here is another PROMPT command which we use every so often. We used this a lot when we were trying to teach Osiyyah how to say "Me" without a "D" sound in between the "M" and "E."

To do this command:  Take your thumb and index finger, place them at the edges of the child's mouth and push their lips out into the "E" position. Kind of like they are smiling. Say the "Eeeee" sound as you do this with your child and also have them say the sound at the same time if they can. Support may be necessary for the child's head to keep the child in a proper position.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

PROMPT: The "Ah" or "Uh" Command

Here is another PROMPT Command which we use a lot. This command is for the "Ahhh" or "Uhhh" sounds.

To do this command: Place your thumb on the child's chin below the bottom lip with your other fingers behind the child's jaw (as seen in the picture) and gently pull down as you say the sound. Preferably have the child say the sound with you as well (unless the child cannot say the sound). Support may be necessary for the child's head to keep the child in a proper position.


PROMPT: The "M" Command

As I said, I'd work on getting pictures of the PROMPT commands we use. I'll try to get one posted every day or every other day. The first one is the "M" ("mmmmmm") command.

To do this PROMPT command: Facing the child, place the back of index and middle finger on the child's lips. Say the sound "mmmmm" as you have your fingers on the child's lips and then pull the fingers away. Do this to help encourage the child to say the "m" sound. Say the sound when you are giving the PROMPT command and also as you move your fingers away. Some support may be necessary with your other hand for the child's head/mouth.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Recipe 5: Gluten-Free Buttermilk Cornmeal Pancakes

Here is another one of our family-favorite gluten-free recipes. It's a recipe we used to make years ago that got forgotten about and then revived since we've gone gluten-free. We have another Buttermilk Pancake recipe that makes the most delicious pancakes, but it uses flour. Since we don't always have lots of gluten-free flours on hand, this recipe is a great substitute, since it also is quite good. (Besides, we haven't tried the other recipe being GF yet!)

Buttermilk Cornmeal Pancakes
Click here for a printer friendly version of the recipe.

Makes 30 small pancakes (we quadruple this recipe when it's made for our family ;)!)

1 1/4 cups cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (or if you don't have buttermilk, just use milk, which is what we typically do)
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs

Mix together in a bowl: corn meal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Combine the buttermilk (or milk), oil and eggs. Stir into dry ingredients. Bake on hot, lightly greased pan or griddle.

Quite an easy recipe to make. Even when you have a breakfast scheduled for 30 people at 8 o'clock in the morning, as we did when my grandparents visited a couple months ago . . . and we all said our goodbyes on their last day here at a big, breakfast feast :).

Add some peanut butter (okay, or butter for some) and syrup to the pancakes and you're good to go!



Monday, July 5, 2010

Apraxia & Motor Planning Difficulties

I've been corresponding with a mom (His Steph, if you are reading this ;)) about her son's speech delays and concerns about Apraxia. The first email I wrote her was quite lengthy, since I covered a lot of subjects and I figured this may be of help to some others. So, with a bit of change to the email, I've put it here.

Starting with our background and where Osiyyah is at: Osiyyah can say quite a few words, and quite a few variations of words. A lot of people cannot understand everything he says, but he has a handful of words where people outside of our family can clearly understand him (like his name, Mom, Me, Yeah, and a few more).

Osiyyah has a hard time getting the final consonant sound on at the end of words. Like he can say “Bum” (as in a joking "You're a Bum!" type of way), but he can never get that “m” sound on at the end. He will miss sounds (consonant or vowel) in the middle or beginning of a word at times. But, mostly it’s at the end.

I do A LOT of oral motor therapy with Osiyyah and have since he was pretty little. Although I wish I knew what I know now when he was a baby, since I am convinced his speech would be MUCH clearer now. He is able to blow horns, bubbles, candles and just about anything. But, we didn’t get him to be able to do all that without a lot of work.

For the longest time, he would be able to blow a horn, but when it came to bubbles, candles or anything . . . blowing without something in his mouth, he just couldn’t do it at all. It took MONTHS of work and now he’s able to do it with no problem. But, there is still work that we need to deal with on his blowing/breath length (which I’ll mention later).

Another area that Osiyyah has had trouble with is actually putting the sound into a word. Like he can say the “L” sound isolated, but when combining it with words, it’s VERY difficult (and with some words impossible) for him to do. In his every day speech, he doesn’t say that sound. It’s only when I have him sitting down and we’re actually concentrating on saying the sound in a word or words. He’s getting better, but I know from working with past sounds, that it will take months.

For years he called his mom “ba”, even though he could say “mmm” and “aaaahhh.” Putting the two sounds together just didn’t work. We worked with him for MONTHS, saying “mmmmaaahhh.” He’d say “mmmmbbbaahh.” It was so frustrating and took tons of patience. Now he can say Mom, mama, etc. But, there’s still a word that he WON’T drop the “ba” sound on and it’ll take a few more months to get him to say “Molly” (one of our puppy’s names) instead of “Bolly.” He did say "Molly" once, but instantly went back to calling "Bolly" . . . sigh . . .

We use some signing with Osiyyah, but we don’t use that much. Because Osiyyah tends to not say the word or even try to say the word when he knows the sign for it. And since we communicate just fine typically without the sign, we haven’t pressed learning it. But, that’s not to say we still don’t use sign, cued speech or PROMPT with him. We still use it all when we are working on how to say a sound or word. And it works very well. It’s the only way he’s been able to learn how to say some sounds and words because he is VERY visually oriented. Now, that's not to say using sign language will hinder other children, since I know there are lot of kids who are greatly helped by being able to fluently use sign language. Just for us, it's not the best choice to use it in every circumstance.

I think that’s a pretty good description of Osiyyah’s speech situation. I’ve gone back and forth on him having Apraxia for over a year. I must say many of his symptoms of Apraxia stopped or at least greatly diminished when we started giving him Longvida Curcumin back in May ’09. His speech JUMPED so, so much since starting that. But, he still struggles with it.

Some of the symptoms of Apraxia which still concern me with Osiyyah are his lack of consonant sounds/ending word sounds, his lack of being able to say a sound with a word, and how he can only say certain sounds in certain words, but not in combination with other words (like how he can say Mom, but not Molly). But, there is still so much that doesn’t make him out right Apraxic, so what he at least has, is Motor Planning difficulties.

I think this is why it can be really hard to decipher or diagnosis Apraxia in children with DS. Due to their lack of muscle tone that can create speech delays and then also Motor Planning problems which can greatly represent Apraxia.

With Osiyyah and also a lot of kids with DS, visual cues and repetition help them tremendously. For kids with Apraxia that is the way to treat it – lots of repetition with sounds and then working up to sounds with word combinations and also visual cues, like PROMPT.

We use PROMPT, Cued Speech, some sign language, written words and oral motor therapy all in combination in Osiyyah’s speech therapy. I can’t stress enough how important PROMPT has been in helping Osiyyah learn how to say (and properly say) certain sounds. Even though he doesn’t technically have Apraxia, PROMPT has greatly helped him.

And even if we were to find out sometime that he truly does have Apraxia and not just Motor Planning problems, everything we are doing is what would be done in a child with Apraxia, so we have our bases covered. We wouldn’t have missed out on anything as far as therapy goes.

The written words I mentioned . . . I write out on a piece of paper a word we are working on, then show Osiyyah and break down each letter and sound combination for him to say and then say the word in full. This has helped TONS. If he sees the words & sounds, it helps him tremendously say it all correctly.

On blowing again . . . It took us a long time to get him to blow without something in his mouth. Months of practice and repetition (repetition is what makes perfect here, haha!). But, part of his speech problem is also due to lack of being able to keep a real long breath. His breathes are typically fairly short, so if you talk on short breathes, you’re not going to talk that great. We are working on that with blowing steady, prolonged blows with the bubbles and some horns. We’re making progress, slowly but surely.

If a child can’t blow bubbles or horns, or some other certain jaw/mouth muscles strengths, that is where I would start first . . . at the oral muscles. Trying to get a child to say certain sounds and words without proper jaw strength and correct oral muscles, you're not going to get very far.

About a year ago, we realized how incredibly weak Osiyyah’s jaw was (after I read Talk Tools Jaw book – best speech read ever!). He could not even bite on a bite block. It was like he was clueless that it was in his mouth. Ever since we have started working on that we have seen lots of improvement. He can know hold a bite block in his mouth for 20 seconds per side 6-8 times per side. It’s amazing.

If there is no strength in the jaw, teaching the tongue and lips to do stuff isn’t going to work very well and won’t get you very far. If you teach the jaw first and then subsequently start working on the lips and tongue, it will all start to fall into place. The jaw is the foundation of the oral motor area and it is soooo essential. Many people don’t realize how important it is, yet it is so fundamental.

Now, I know I've said some of this on my blog already, but I thought it would be good to have this all in one concise, space. And of course, you can always look back through the blog to see more detailed speech therapy posts!


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Recipe 4: Gluten Free Stir-Fry

*Side note - I've added printer-friendly versions of each recipe to all the recipes I've posted*

Another food that is quite easy to cook and eat while being Gluten-Free are oriental/asian dishes. Now, you do have to be careful if there is soy sauce used in the food, because not all soy sauce is Gluten-Free.

A dish we used to make quite often before going gluten-free was a stir-fry that had Top Ramen noodles in it. That was delicious. But, since Top Ramen noodles are made with wheat, we had to stop making that. Our friend who is Mong, bought us some Oriental Rice Noodles (or Oriental Rice Noodle, has the package said, haha :)). They are very thin and when cooked are VERY similar to Top Ramen noodles (that skinny, thin shape and size), so they are a perfect substitute to Top Ramen noodles in this stir fry.

Gluten-Free Stir-Fry
Click here for a printer-friendly version of the recipe.

*This recipe can be changed as far as the quantities, meat used, veggies used, sauces used, etc. Customize to your own liking. We've made it several different ways and it is always delicious . . . this is our favorite version of it though ;)*

Oriental Rice Noodles
Carrots (shredded)
Green Beans (fresh & chopped)
Kielbasa Sausage (chopped)
1 Onion (diced)
1 large Garlic clove or several smaller cloves (diced)
Gluten-Free Soy sauce
Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce

Step 1:

*Place the rice noodles in a bowl, cover completely with water. Let soak for 10-20 minutes or until soft and pliable.

Once the noodles are soft, drain the water. Pour Soy Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce over the noodles. Toss to coat. Pour enough sauce over the noodles to make them be slightly brown, or to your taste. Let the noodles sit (marinate) until the veggies are done.

Of course we had to use 3 "bundles" of the noodles for our large family.

Step 2:

Dice the onions and garlic, then saute the onions and garlic. Add the green beans and carrots and cook until tender or they look done.

Step 3:

Slice the Kielbasa sausage into medium-sized pieces.

Add the meat to the vegetable mixture and cook until warm or slightly browned.

Step 4:

Add the noodles to the meat and veggies. It is easier if the noodles are cut up with scissors prior to them being added to the pan. You will still have to chop them some with the spatula. But, if the whole "ball" of noodles is put in the pan it takes a bit of stirring to get them chopped down in size and thoroughly mixed in. Mix in until the noodles look light brown (due to the sauces, oil frying, etc) and have a slight "transparent" appearance to them.

Step 5:

Add salt, pepper & garlic powder to the stir-fry, until it tastes good.


Since our family is eats so much, we always have to make two large frying pans worth of the stir-fry :)!


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