Tag Archives: speech therapy

Happy!

9 Apr

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There are a lot of things going really well for us right now (as well as continual drama), and I think it is important to remember the little happinesses that occur every day. So here’s some of the things that are really, really good around here:

N is learning at a rapid rate–every day is a new adventure with him! He’s learning new words and new things (like his alphabet) and he’s always curious!

I’m not teaching this quarter!!! And yet I’m being paid for it 🙂 This is the great benefit of teaching a double load last quarter. My key task for the next 2 1/2 months is to collect data for my dissertation (an instructor focus group, student survey, student focus groups, follow-up individual interviews, and analyze the curricular materials and some essays from the course i’m studying). No biggie.

I really like my dissertation topic. It’s concrete yet connects to many of the important debates in my field right now. It’s easy to talk about and I think the things I’m studying and talking about are readily applicable to virtually all classrooms. This is a great thing for when I go on the job hunt (the “market”) this fall.

Can you believe it? I’m going on the market this fall?! I’ve had a lot of anxiety about it (Because of the lack of publications, lack of much on my resume for the past year or so while my personal life melted down) but after settling into a new pace (and getting some new things on my resume), I’m feeling excited about it. Which brings me to my next point…

In March I went to 2 conferences and it was a GREAT experience! The first I got a grant to attend, but didn’t have to present anything, so it was a stress-free way to learn about my field. It’s the main conference for what I do, so it was really wonderful to make connections across the field and prepare for next year when I really do need to be contributing. It was also fun to fly to Indianapolis and see a new city (not amazingly impressive, but what city is from the perspective of a conference hotel?).

One of the key things I learned is that I’m one of a few people who does what I do. In fact, one of the top research universities in the US was looking to hire someone just like me last year and couldn’t fill the spot (because they’re waiting for me, I’m sure). So now I have a target in mind and I’m already beginning to work on my job materials for this fall.

Sunshine and spring weather is here – we’ve had weather in the 60s and sunshine, which warms my soul. Today, N started “developmental preschool” which will include his speech therapy and also some special education which should help him get caught up on some of the skills where he’s a bit behind and work through some of the emotional stuff related to his dad. It was new to him so there were some rough moments with the new place and new expectations, but he had a blast playing in their indoor gym. He’s kind of a daredevil–when he first learned to go down the slide, he went head first. Well, today, he learned how to swing on a little trapeze and LOVED it!

We also went to the zoo today. I renewed my membership so we can go weekly while my schedule is open and flexible. I’ve quickly realized that its really difficult to entertain him all day for days on end. He’s SO energetic and he hasn’t even been napping well recently. We both do better if either a) he goes to preschool or b) we have a busy day of fun plans. So I really need to plan outings into our schedule. We need to enjoy this time because, fingers crossed, in just over a year I’ll have a full-time real job!

I’ve been cooking a lot again and I started running! I ran with N in the stroller on Sunday morning and it went ok – I can run 3-4 min straight before my heart rate goes up and I can’t exactly breathe. So I’d run, then walk, then run, then walk so that I can slowly build up my endurance. Although we walk a lot, it’s amazing the muscles you use if you run–my thighs were sore, my back was sore.. . . so hopefully this will help me burn more fat and tone my body more. It’s nice to build up my my physical strength. Tonight was a shorter run, but even short runs are important for building endurance 🙂

So, many things to keep me busy and happy! After 6 months on our own, we are thriving 🙂
And, now some pics from today:
Preschool

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Zoo!

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2.5

7 Apr

IMG_0213N is now two and a half, and I can’t let this milestone pass without an update. He’s made so much progress with speech in the last 6 months. He is growing up to be the sweetest boy, shy and observant in new places, wily and gregarious at home. March also marked 6 months as a family of two, and although the drama is ongoing, we’ve settled into a happy little life together.

I’m gonna be posting a lot tonight (mostly because posting happens in fits-and-starts) but it’s better to get things written than leave them ignored since this is the chronicle of a childhood.

So, N at 2 1/2!IMG_0370IMG_0247Nicknames: Angel, Muffin, buddy

Temperament: We’ve reached a nice balance between tantrum-land and not really speaking up at all. N has opinions and he vocalizes them, but he’s getting much better at using words and gestures to communicate. Even his preschool has commented on how sweet he is and how much he’s grown in the past 6 months. He really is growing up! Running, climbing, and wrestling are still his favorite games. By far, he prefers to be outside and doing something. We LOVE the wildlife area right by our apartment where we can walk and look at birds and water. Despite this physicality, N is getting better at playing with cars and trains quietly by himself. As usual, when he’s fussy or cranky, there’s a reason behind it.IMG_0174IMG_0153What we’re eating: I’ve been trying to sit down and eat dinner with N every day because I think it’s a good routine and model of healthy habits, how to use utensils, etc. BUT N doesn’t really like real food 🙂 He still prefers carbs and proteins to fruits and veggies. He is getting more curious, so he’ll try some new foods sometimes. Likes sweet potatoes, blueberries, bagels, waffles (fa-fa!), eggs, chicken (sometimes), veggie burgers, raisins, cereal, graham crackers. .. anything with peanut butter & jelly or nutella.

What N’s Saying: Happily, the word list is getting longer and longer! He mimics a lot and he’s picking up more complex words. He’s also putting multiple words together for meaning (awa-off means “water off” – which to us, means that the fountain he really likes to visit is turned off right now). Tonight, we learned ice cream (aye -ee). He now says hi to people we pass on the street, bye at stores to strangers, and points out airplanes, birds, tractors, etc. He often drops the beginning or end of words (awa, not water) and doesn’t pronounce a lot of consonants. But he’s getting the idea of speech and we have our own little language 🙂

He spent the last few weeks with grandma and grandpa and he does so well with them! I think he just loves being the center of their attention 🙂 He always picks up a lot of words when he’s with them–and they understand him too, so that’s a good thing!IMG_0335Playing with his kitty!IMG_0233Meeting “Dubs” our university mascot

Things I Could Do Without: 8am wake-ups? Now that I’m not teaching this quarter (in order to work on my data collection), I’d love to sleep in just a bit. Maybe in a few weeks we’ll settle into a later routine. More than that, N is SO energetic, but it’s taxing to be moving at his pace all day. Right now he’s obsessed with playing outside at all times, and he loves to play outside the apartment. But we’re right next to a parking lot, next to a busy street, so I have to constantly monitor what he’s doing so it’s difficult to get anything done. He is going-going-going all the time and is even taking shorter naps, so I find that I’m using all my energy just to keep up with him, never mind cooking, cleaning, or getting my own work done. Tomorrow’s a preschool day, so it’ll be a nice break.

Things I Love the Most Right Now: N is my little buddy, my little shadow. I love his personality, and now that we can communicate better we do fun little things together–like going out for ice cream before bed, hiking, chasing ducks, climbing trees…IMG_0283IMG_0282Item/Toy N Loves The Most: Choo-choos! He currently really loves trains: we watch Thomas on Hulu, play with train sets, and my mom even found my brother’s old train sets to play with while visiting. He has a choo-choo blanket he sleeps under and enjoys sleeping with his trains. Or airplane. Or car. IMG_0408IMG_0365Silly uncle Mike!

The past couple months have been busy. We went to a protest in support of Ukraine together & Mama was on TV speaking about Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. IMG_0142 IMG_0141Little patriot! 

We drove out to visit the grandparents, exploring practically every rest area along the way. Every day is an adventure!IMG_0328Hiking in my hometown. At Christmas we made it only a short hike. This time we went with Uncle Mike, and although N went most of the way on my back, he definitely enjoyed playing in “Devil’s kitchen” at the end.IMG_0450 IMG_0449 We have many more adventures planned: Wednesday we’re starting developmental preschool through his speech therapy school. Since our schedule is more flexible, there’s no harm in getting a little bit more support (and another activity on the calendar–for free). I’m also going to renew our zoo membership so we have another place to go as the weather gets nice. I’m considering swimming lessons, but I’m not sure if the logistics will work out. I’ve started running with N in the stroller, and we plan to run/walk a 10k with my bro & daddy-o in June, so we’ll be spending plenty of time outside.

I want to model a healthy, active, adventurous lifestyle for my son. Not just say it, but do it every day. I’m not perfect–most of Feb and March I ate quick freezer meals and N lived on “fa-fa” (waffles), but bit by bit, we are living better and living happier. And with the drama that still flitters in and out of our lives, that in itself is a victory 🙂

Talking

30 Dec

IMG_9551At just over 27 months (2 yrs, 3 mo), N is finally having a speech explosion. He can now say:

Ma – call for mama

Ba-pa (Grandpa)

Bye-bye

See-ya

Hish (thanks)

aye (hi)

Sasha (his dad’s name)

Daa (Dog)

Bii (Bird)

Baa (ball)

buh (more)

baby

sha-sha (wash)

Cheese

Da (Down, with finger pointing down)

Ba-ba (open, rhymes perfectly)

Fish

meow

oink-oink (not cute like it’s spelled, but like the animal)

Rawr (for a lion or a bear or any ferocious animal)

kitty-kitty

shoes

fa (five – as in “give me five”)

Speech Therapy

22 Nov

For almost a year, I have been worried about N’s speech development. I had him evaluated in May but we had a bad experience with the evaluation and follow-up (actually, lack of follow-up). With the first evaluation indicating both speech and cognitive delays, I was worried about N’s development in general but since he wasn’t yet 2 years and I, as his mama, could see his growth & intelligence, I decided to wait-and-see. In July his doctor recommended that we follow up with a doctor at the local children’s hospital who did a very thorough screening. That doctor found that N does have a significant language delay (both receptive language–understanding–and expressive language–speaking), but he didn’t show signs of a cognitive delay. With that, I breathed a sigh of relief and set out to find a speech therapist.

Through a series of referrals, I found an organization that has been really great to work with so far! They are also a birth-to-three program but they came highly recommended by my university’s pediatric audiology clinic (where we had a hearing evaluation for N) and they are nearby. N had a short in-clinic evaluation and they confirmed that he is still showing significant speech delays and small cognitive delays. At this age, speech and thinking are so intertwined that it is unclear if there is some kind of delay in his thought processes that are behind the speech delays or if the delay in speaking doesn’t allow him to show how he thinks. Either way, I’m comfortable with this place and the team they have set up for us: we have a family resource coordinator who is very kind and knowledgable and his speech therapist is young and energetic.

Today was his first therapy session. They are in-home and last 30 minutes. It is basically 30 minutes of focused fun and games and the intent is to model for me types of activities I can do with N to support his speech development. It started really well. . .but by the end N was lethargic. Turns out my kiddo is sick-o. He has a fever that spiked to 102.4 today after his nap 😦 Poor boy! So I don’t think he got much out of the session but I think I picked up a few things.

We cuddled for a while and then he took a 3 hour nap. After his naps, more cuddles on the couch, a walk to the grocery store to pick up more infant tylenol (with N riding on my back in the baby carrier) and a hearty dinner of mac ‘n’ cheese. A bath and a nap for an hour before he woke up crying and we cuddled and played for another hour or so. He’s down again, and after another dose of tylenol I hope he’s down for the night.

I’ve been googling symptoms (always a scary thing!) but I think he either has another round of this cold or possibly a sinus infection. The mysterious symptom that makes me think it may be an infection is really funky breath. My sweet little baby kind of smells like week-old morning breath. Yuck. So hopefully the fever stays down and it all passes, but we just might have to visit the doc on Monday.

Early Intervention

27 May

I’m not sure how much I’ve alluded to it here, but N isn’t talking.

By 18 months, kiddos should have approx 10 words, increasing monthly. N doesn’t say anything (except a rare mama or a begrudging papa). I’ve been worried about his speech development, but I can see him trying to communicate in action (bringing me shoes when he wants to go outside, for example). I got the name of a developmental center from a mama in our future preschool where her son went for speech therapy. I called them and set up an evaluation.

Monday two nice ladies came over along with a Russian interpreter. They introduced themselves and got on the ground to play with N. They brought out toys and had him do specific things – put coins in a piggy bank, bang blocks together, play with a wind-up toy, comb a doll’s hair, play with a little car, throw a ball. They asked him to point to pictures on a page. It lasted about an hour. As usual, N was pretty chill–whenever he meets new people or does new things he’s pretty quiet and observant. He played with them and repeated a lot of activities. He seemed to know some language, but didn’t talk at all. He was on good behavior and didn’t get frustrated at all. At the end of the evaluation, they indicated that he definitely knows Russian better than English, and he has ok receptive language. There is a delay but it rates only a few months behind. His spoken language is almost non-existent. He didn’t verbalize AT ALL. He did have a “no” gesture–a pretty funny pointed finger that he swished across his body to say NO.

I wasn’t surprised by this part of the evaluation: that’s why I called. I was shocked, however, by the concern they had for his social and cognitive development. They marked him as 50% behind — i.e. on par with a 10-month old! They were concerned by his hesitation to engage, by not bringing difficult things to me to either ask for help/show off (in this case, with the wind-up car), and they were concerned by him not doing a lot more active play (crashing cars together, etc). He also does a few funny things like spin in circles or close his eyes while walking, which are a warning sign that something else might be going on. He also likes to have an object in his hand, which could be another sign.

I was surprised and upset to hear this on Monday — I have never questioned his development! I never questioned that there might be some kind of underlying factor that is affecting his speech. If anything, I chalk it up to not giving him enough attention, not being around people more, and not socializing him with other kids. But their assessment really worried me!!

It’s been a week now that I’ve been letting it all sink in.

I found this in my drafts folder, and I’m retroactively publishing it (11-20-13) especially as it is relevant to the speech therapy we’re now setting up.