Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Pucker Up

I think I’ve mentioned before that Toddlerspeak (TS) goes to speech therapy? Yeah, she’s only 2.5, but there’s history of it in the family so when she seemed to obviously understand and communicate without her vocabulary continuing to expand verbally, and since she wasn’t mimicking at all, we had her tested.
Turns out she doesn’t use the muscles around her lips to make her sounds. (Uses her tongue & teeth.) She also doesn’t use them to suck (like through a straw). Testing also found that she has “poor” muscle control of her tongue (which I think is weird considering that the way she makes the sounds she has is by using her tongue & teeth.) Anyway, she’s been going for many months now and is making great progress. You wouldn’t know she has any issues on this front at all. We’ve even progressed to working on specific sounds as her muscle control/development is getting on track. It’s a big step, and in case you’re curious, we’re currently working on “P”.

To help develop these muscles we have “exercises” we do; using a tongue depressor we put it on the sides/top/bottom/front of her mouth & get her to touch it (push on it) with her tongue. We wrap the end of it w/dried fruit (a.k.a. –fruit roll ups) for motivation. She gets to eat the roll up off the depressor when we’ve gone through our drill. We also blow bubbles. Because of her lack of motor skill in this area she doesn’t make an “O” with her mouth when she blows. If you don’t pucker when you try to blow bubbles you pretty much don’t get any bubbles (not so effective). Sometimes we use a straw to help her blow (and get the general shape) and sometimes I’ll put my hand around her chin and “help” her pucker, kinda give her “fish lips”. She’s not real keen on you doing the helping, but as she’s getting that it works better that way, so lately she’s more inclined to let you.

Last night for Daddyspeak’s (DS) b-day I made him a pie. We put a candle in it for him to blow out. Being 2, TS was all over this and wanted to “help”. She sat in DS’s lap and he let her blow it out. Her first two tries, not much and we looked at each other trying to decide how long we should let her go at it. (Usually there’s a crowd for this sort of thing and everyone kind of blows it out at the same time.) Then she grabs her own face to make the “fish lips” and starts blowing. We both just about fell over trying not to laugh out loud. But it worked, and we cheered like crazy. I just wish I had a picture of it to share with you. Hopefully, my version gives you a good visual.
So in that spirit, pucker up Internet & Happy Valentine’s Day!