I have mentioned that L has therapy so many times on this little blog. (Examples: here) I do not think I have given a lot of detail about her therapy though.
L receives speech therapy, occupational therapy (OT), and special instruction. We have been so fortunate to have some amazing therapists work with us. Speech therapy works on mouth exercises to help her tongue, lips, cheeks all work better together. Speech also works on some breathing exercises using back massage and some baby yoga poses. And obviously, speech works on methods to encourage communication. Occupational therapy overlaps with speech, with using activities to help her sensory issues and fine motor skills. Special instructor helps with combining all of her therapies in games and activities appropriate for her age group. Finally, we just recently started working with an interact team that is working on using alternate methods for L to communicate. Her interact team recently added in a portable device that can be activated by L to speak for her (we just started working with her using the device so she does not quite have the hang of it yet).
L takes part in a weekly community group of other kids who also receive therapy. The community group is run by therapists in the early intervention program and exposes the kids to a variety of activities that encourage speech, sensory stimulation, gross motor activities, following directions, and interacting with other kids. Each week, they pick a different location and activities to expose the kids to. For example, yesterday's meeting was at Krispy Kreme, where kids were able to play with the raw dough, watch the donuts being made, and then taste the final product. Other meetings include playdates at parks, at a preschool classroom, at a farm, at nature centers. L loves community group.
This fall, we added in another group called Dream Team. It is sponsored by Special Olympics and is a weekly class for kids in early intervention. It works on gross motor skills and general preschool skills like following directions, waiting your turn, sharing, and working with other kids. L generally loves this class and has been known to give random hugs and kisses to other kids in the class. She particularly loves going through the obstacle course and sitting on the parachute while we swing her around on it. Her true personality comes out in these classes. It is very clear that "hurry" is not in her vocabulary Everything is done at her own pace, while she stops and smells the roses, so to speak. And anything they do that involves singing or music, count L to participate and ask for more.
All of these therapies mean there is a lot of homework for us, me especially since I am home with her, and am a part of all of her therapy sessions. And a lot of scheduling for all of her therapy appointments and arranging those appointments around her doctor appointments and lab days. Oh, and around regular life activities.
But our experience so far has been positive. We love our therapists. And we love seeing her progress, despite how exhausting and slow it sometimes is. Our hope is that she will eventually require fewer and fewer therapies. Currently, her biggest delay is in speech. She can say some words, but something just has not clicked with either pronunciation or the ability to come out with the words. We see the wheels turning, and she uses her signs so willingly. She now uses over 50 signs regularly. It really has been a blessing that I worked with her on it because we depend on those signs all day long. We have faith that the words will come in time. She is slowly closing the gap in all other areas of development (and is on target from what we can tell for cognitive and emotional development).
All in your own time, little one.