Monday, September 13, 2010

Swallow Study and Communication

I never did post about the results of Olivia's swallow study. All is well! Yay! The only problem is low motility through the esophagus, which is causing the spitting up. This is a result of low muscle tone, and should clear up as Olivia gets more upright, crawling, standing and walking. As Olivia is doing the rocking on all fours, I see the problem beginning to get better. We are also taking breaks while eating to do all of her "tricks". By doing Monkey, So Big, and Motorcycle she moves around more and straightens up more and uses her muscles more so it helps things go down the pipes. When she drinks too quickly and starts coughing, we tell her to do So Big, and that helps. We were also told to thicken her water. We do this with a few tablespoons full of pureed baby food. We typically use the kind that comes in the squirt pouches, so it is easy to simply get it out of the refrigerator, put a few squirts into her straw cup and add a few ounces of water. It is harder to suck the thick water, and thus she takes more breaks. I have noticed that her rhythm for all drinking has become more "rhythmic" with alternating sucking and swallowing and breathing much better.

The speech therapist who did the swallow study took some time to interact with Olivia. Olivia showed off all her communication abilities like a pro! The therapist was really impressed by Olivia's excellent oral motor skills and fabulous total communication abilities. Olivia can sign: more, all done, shoes, hello, good bye, motor cycle, bunny, fish, monkey, touch down, wash hands, bath and tell us that she is hungry by rubbing her tummy. She knows where her hair is, her tummy, and her feet and shoes. She can say the sounds for the letters: short a, b, d, f, g, h, l, m, short o, p, short u, v, w. She can put some sounds together to communicate approximations of words, such as: apple, baby, flower, fan grandma, happy, Lorelai, mommy, daddy, cup, up, hop, pop, vegetable, puff, bath. Of course the words are just close approximations at this point. Flower is Fow-wa. Fan is "FFFF". Grandma is Gam-ma. Lorelai is "LLLL". Apple is AP.
All in all, I think she is doing good for a 16 month old with Ds when it comes to communication. We have read to her a lot since she was born, and we talk to her a lot and we work on sounds a lot. I think that my Montessori training has me programmed to say single sounds over and over again to Olivia. Daddy gets a lot of credit for all the communication that Olivia is doing. Olivia loves to mimic Daddy! So if Daddy is teaching, Olivia is learning! Way to go Daddy!

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