Thursday, June 25, 2009

Accepted to speak at the 2009 ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) Convention in New Orleans

Great news! I see a change in the acceptance of my work and I know this is going to be very good news for a lot of therapists and parents out there. Many of you have seen the benefit of using my “Oral Placement Therapy” (OPT) to improve feeding skills and speech clarity but have been faced with professionals who are told not to work on muscle movements for speech. I think the problem here is that my work has been lumped with others who are working on movements not related to speech. I only work on movements that are related to speech. Well this year at ASHA I am going to be able to present my work to my peers at our national convention. This is a big deal as for the first time I will be in a position to explain what we do at TalkTools Therapy not what they think we do. My presentation is called, “Early Intervention: Oral Placement Therapy for Children with Down Syndrome.” I would love to hear your success stories using my techniques so I can share them at this conference.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Low Tone Affects Taste as well as Movement

I found the following comment on a website I frequent; it was from a mother of a child with the diagnosis of Down syndrome who was questioning her child's eating behaviors.

  • My little guy (21 mo old) refused to eat his lunch I had cooked for him but loved the spicy jambalaya I had fixed for some of the older folks in the family. When he started eating it, he'd grab his mouth (like it was spicy hot!) and fuss and cry. I'd give him some of his coconut water, he'd calm down, then he'd sign "more" for the jambalaya. He did this several different times during the eating session. I know it was spicy because I was eating it, too. (hot pepper, red pepper sauce, Creole seasoning) He only ate about 3/4 of a cup, and at that point I stopped feeding it to him because italso had onions and green pepper in it. It was fairly healthy (made w/brownrice, etc...) but not something I would feed a "baby". Has your child(ren) done this? Is this bad? Is spicy stuff too much for kids w/DS? Am I overly concerned about nothing?

Once again I am amazed that pediatricians and therapists do not explain to their families that when children are diagnosed with Low Tone/Hypotonicity it also means they may have Hypo-sensitivity/Hypo-responsivity to touch, taste and smell. This little guy is demonstrating my point. He likes foods that are highly flavored because he can "taste" them. Kids with hypo-sensitivity like foods they can taste so increasing flavor for these kids is essential. It will also encourage them to chew because they can perceive the food in the mouth. For many of my clients I use dips (ketchup, salad dressing, bar-b-que sauce) to increase the flavor of any foods I want them to eat for nutritional intake. I worked with one kid whose mom described him as having adult taste buds. So in response to this parent the "spicy stuff " is only a part of what your child is telling is the taste he wants. I would encourage her to increase the flavor as we really do not know how the "spicy stuff" is affecting his digestion.