Before anyone calls me a liar...you must know that I didn't see Lauren on a Tuesday this week as she had an eye doctor appointment. I didn't feel like changing the name of my post as I like the name of my series...stubborn, I know.
So, I wasn't expecting to walk in and be greeted by Lauren's dad today with a video of her laying in bed vocalizing about 10 different words he asked her to! Exciting, right? My goodness was he excited! Her face was priceless when he showed me the video...so very proud of herself. One of the reasons I mention that she was laying down is that oftentimes, individuals will vocalize much better in this position. Their body is getting much support, much information and THEY ARE RELAXED. I will lay on the floor with many of my clients (kids and adults alike) when working on voicing and breath support.
Today's visit was spent on trying out some new apps to work on comprehension and speech production. They were: Speech Lite, Can you find it? and What does not belong. Lauren enjoyed them all and will be challenged by them which is good. Part of rehab is to continue to raise the bar when new skills appear. This keeps the new neural pathways forming and you must "ride the wave" of progress when it happens so I am trying to give them as many things to work on at home as possible to optimize the time between visits with me and her other SLP's. There is that little matter of Lauren REALLY loving her iPad as well which helps the situation dramatically.
One of the things that happens when speech is lost, for quite some time, is that the brain "forgets" how to make the sounds-there are many reasons for this and I'm sure you don't want a neurology lesson right now, so we'll just leave it at that. One of our jobs as therapists is to help the client relearn how to make those sounds and a very helpful tip that I learned from my training in Apraxia treatment (Nancy Kaufman) is that you must TELL the client what to do to make the sound. Since L's comprehension is so good, we tried this out today. She vocalized on a word with initial F ( I almost said F- word there but didn't want to give the wrong idea) but the /f/ was weak and unintelligible. I told her "L you need to bite your lip and blow." Voila'. A beautiful /f/ was heard. If only it was that easy all of the time. Sidenote: the app I recommend today, Speechlite is a FREE app that has video of someone making and verbalizing HOW to make each sound of our language. I am confident L will use and do very well with this app now that she is vocalizing.
You want video....right? HA. Don't worry, I have it but I must warn you....get the tissues ready (that is her mom with her) AND remember that L had been sitting up in her chair and so she is very weak with her vocalizations (her /e/ was fabulous though!). The video her dad showed me was MUCH stronger and louder and I hope he posts it to her Caring Bridge site. Just last week, it was very rare that L could vocalize on demand so that fact that she can do it almost 50% of the time now is VERY encouraging and I can't wait to go back next Tuesday. She has a long way to go but I know she will progress through this.
As always, thank you for reading and please visit Lauren's links to read more about her journey as well as to donate if you can.