Maddie Rae Gotcha Day

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Decisions, Decisions...

I'm back to the speech therapy topic again, so if you're completely bored by talk of therapy, ARC meetings, IEPs, and saying "Wu, Wu, Wu" 800 times in a row, just skip this one.

Maddie Rae has made amazing progress in the 2 months we have been working with her new therapist. She can now make many more sounds (D, B, T, P, L, R to name a few) and her oral muscle tone and breath support has greatly increased. She can now blow a whistle, blow bubbles in her milk, and make her air come out of her mouth. We are still working on getting her mouth moving by doing the Beckman Oral Motor Protocol (ok, I warned you...not the most exciting post) on the inside and outside of her mouth and face. Speech therapy is really fascinating, I have found, and there are all sorts of tricks to develop the muscles, cranial facial nerves, and tongue movement that really work. And it feels like such victory to hear her language increasing after all our hard work. On a moment by moment basis we are encouraging her to use her words, and we break words apart into seperate sounds for her so that she can hear the distinguishing sounds. Just this week she has said "up", "out", and "eat" completely with the p's and t's at the end. With sentences, we break those down too trying to get her to say each word. So it is a lot of work for her and for us, but she is doing so well and we are all so proud of her. Her confidence is increasing as well, and she will now speak much more and try new things (she went on a talking strike for a while during speech).

She currently has speech for 45 minutes 3 times a week in our home. Unfortunately, she ages out of this program when she turns 3 on May 8, and so now we are faced with the decisions on how to get her the therapy she needs this summer and next year. We are going to continue to take her to her speech therapist once a week in her office, and we have two other options we are considering. The first is just to take her to the boy's school for speech therapy. It would most likely be in a group setting, and I would take her once a week. The second option is to enroll her in early start preschool where she would be in a classroom with other 3 and 4 year olds receiving speech during school. I am leaning towards putting her in preschool because a. it's free! b. it may be good peer pressure encouraging her to talk c. the school she would go to is very diverse and she would be in class with a lot of Chinese and Japanese kids and d. if she were home all she would be doing during the times of the school are eating lunch and taking a nap (which actually turns into room playtime because she rarely takes a nap anymore). We have our initial ARC meeting next Monday where we will begin all the IEPs and testing. So if any of you have any insight into this whole realm, let me know. I am learning as I go, and although I've been in plenty of ARC meetings as a teacher, I've never been the parent in one.

Most importantly, we thank God for healing Maddie Rae's mouth and for allowing her surgeries to be so successful. Jon and I pray often that God would continue to heal her mouth, and give her the muscles and skills she needs to express all that is in that bright little head of hers. I feel like our speech therapist was a direct answer to that prayer. She is so amazing, and she loves Maddie Rae and encourages her and us in just the right ways.


Raegan said...

My vote is early start so we can have coffee dates after drop off! Another very viable reason to put on that list!:)

Carol said...

Well, I am not experienced in this area at all, but I am thanking God for his answer to your (and our) prayers for healing!! Ellen and Zoe loved hearing her actually "talk" to them! I couldn't look at the computer screen because it would have made me cry not to be able to reach out and hug her :(.

Reed's mom said...

yeah maddie rae! sounds so great all the progress she's making! and your talking my lingo :) i'm impressed--you have a good therapist if she's been through the beckman training---i went through that course several years ago, and it's pretty intense with lots of information! if you have any questions re: school stuff--you know i worked in scott co. preschool for 2 years, so please don't hesitate to call. maybe with all this nice weather the next couple of days reed and maddie rae can play at one of our houses outside or the park--let me know if you want to meet up, we're always up for play times!

day by day said...

Hey Retta!

Sounds like Maddie Rae is making great progress! I have to say that when it comes to our kids needing special services, we really are fortunate to have so many options....and for free. I scrolled down looking for some recent MR pics..but didn't see any. I'll be back looking
again. : )

I am finally able to get real pigtails in Sophie's very slow growing hair. lol!

Have a great Sunday!!