Friday, February 24, 2012

The Weekly Review: Week 49

Blog Post of the Week

I loved Amalah's Valentine's Day Recap. First of all, I definitely need those bracelets. I thought it was only my husband and I who had that exact same exchange. Second, the story about her putting the baby to bed while listening to alarming noises from downstairs was hilarious. I read it at least twice and laughed out loud each time. I loved her description of her silent, gasping laughter when listening to her husband's description of the events because I do that too. Somehow, the pain of others often causes me to laugh (in a completely sympathetic, yet uncontrollable manner). I get that from my mother.

Ava this Week

First, the making silly faces at daycare has been a complete success. (Please don't let me saying that out loud jinx it.) Dropping Ava off at school takes a fraction of the time and is fun from start to finish. Now, if I were the type to be self-conscious I might feel a bit like an idiot sticking my tongue out, my fingers in my ears, crossing my eyes and bobbing up and down in front of that window while countless other parents walk by with their angelic children. I'm not though. I'm self-conscious about plenty of things, but all bets are off with children. I think other parents are pretty understanding.

Second, I have decided that Ava is an /l/ genius. This late-emerging sound that is the bane of so many children's speech journey has come so easily to her. She's even using some l-blends in conversational speech after working on them for only a couple of weeks. What is it about her wiring that makes some difficult sounds so easy for her (/l/, /s/) and some easy sounds so hard (/k/, /g/)?

Weekly Michael

Michael had his 4 year checkup this week (three months late). He was amazing. He charmed our pediatrician. He did wonderfully on the developmental checklist. We ran out of questions before we hit three negative answers. He was brave during the first and even the second immunization even though he was scared and he shook off the tears and moved on the second the stickers came out. I was so proud.

Our pediatrician evidently forgot that I'm an SLP and asked me if I had ever had his speech screened. So, his speech errors are becoming more noticeable and age-inappropriate. I told her that I was aware of the errors and was working on them. I haven't had him evaluated, because the errors he is making are still considered to be age appropriate according to school districts (who are crazy) and so he wouldn't be eligible for services. Therefore, I told her, I am handling it myself for now.

On a completely separate note, we have a computer program that lets Michael design and print his own "book". He insisted I staple it together just like a real book. I asked him to read it to me, expecting him to just tell me the story in his own words. Imagine my surprise when he read the story word for word to me only needing help once the first time he encountered the word Pierre. "One day, Pierre went to a park. Up in the sky he saw the sun. At the park, Pierre saw a cat. Pierre decided to fly a kite."

Weekly Procrastination Update

I have finally gotten started planning for Ava's birthday. We're getting her an art desk for her birthday. She loves arts and crafts, but right now all the art supplies are kept put away except during special projects. I want to make them available to the children all the time (well, not paint perhaps...) and so an art desk sounds perfect. I think she'll love it. Once I've decided on a "perfect" gift I have so much trouble waiting until the actual birthday to give that present.

Weekly Realization

Ava turns three in less than a week. Also in less than a week, all of our early intervention services cease and she'll have her first group session conducted by school district personnel. Somehow that snuck up on me. Oh how I hate transitions. I have such high hopes for this speech group though. I think the structure and use of the Hodson's Cycles Approach could work very well for her. It is sad to say goodbye to our early intervention therapists though. They've been part of our lives for a long time now. The transition seems so abrupt. We'll miss them.

Ava's Weekly Home Therapy Focus

Ava is continuing to do well with final /s/ and /sh/. We run through those relatively quickly alternating nights. Our main focus right now is on the /bl/, /pl/, and /fl/ l-blends and the /sn/ s-blend. Just this week we have also started /st/, /sp/, and /sm/. Ava does very well with the l-blends needing only moderate to light prompting. The s-blends are still quite difficult requiring significant prompting, but I can see the motor planning beginning to kick in for them. She finds them noticeably less difficult than ten days ago. I notice the difference in subtle ways. She still requires significant cueing, but she is less frustrated. It takes fewer attempts before we get a correct production. We can practice longer before she gets fatigued. We get more repetitions in during a 25 minute session than we did a week ago.

Michael has begun to notice the attention and praise Ava receives during our nightly speech therapy sessions and has asked to be included. This is a blessing in disguise. Ava's therapy becomes a little less intense when she shares her session with her brother, but now I get to do some official work with Michael on his errors. The final /s/ cards and s-blends allow me to address his interdental /s/ production. The /f/ blends allow me to address his /th/ for /s/ substitution.

When asked to keep his tongue behind his teeth for the production of /s/ ("keep the tiger in the cage") he can do it. He accomplishes this by clenching his jaw and keeping his teeth closed through the production of the entire word including during production of the vowel and other consonants. This seems less than ideal. Do any of you other SLPs have thoughts on this manner of production? He obviously needs to stabilize his jaw in order to produce the /s/ properly. Is it all right (for now) to let him maintain that position through production of the entire word, or should I discourage that? Any thoughts?

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