Speech Therapy and Feeding Issues.
I was surprised to learn early on in the school year that Apollo qualifies for speech therapy. I wasn’t surprised he needs it, he can’t pronounces his f’s or v’s or g’s or k’s. I was surprised because when Tucker was in first grade, at the same school, I was told he didn’t (or maybe wouldn’t) qualify until age 8….I suppose I just assumed that eight was the magic number. I was thrilled to learn Apollo qualified. I’d already spent enough hours googling things like “how to teach the ‘f’ sound” with no luck. I was quite excited to learn he would be getting help right away, at age five. We had our parent teacher conferences last week and Apollo’s first IEP meeting. I was shocked to learn that he was assessed as having “significant speech/language impairment”. Shocked because he talks a lot, in full sentences about intelligent subjects. Apollo was actually an early talker. The SLP (speech and language pathologist) has no concerns with grammar or syntax, just pronunciation.
When Apollo was in feeding therapy in 2013 it was run in a speech therapy clinic by SLP. Several of the kids had severe sensory issues and could barely handle having anything in their mouths. Before the “breakfast” part of his therapy, they always warmed up with some sensory exercises inside their mouths. At his point, Apollo had has his g-tube for nearly a year and was eating very little by mouth. Our biggest goal was just he took some food in orally everyday…no matter what that food was. We were determined that he not lose his ability or desire to eat orally.
And we were successful.
While talking to the SPL at school, however, I started thinking about the cumulative minutes and then hours and then days Apollo has spent eating through is feeding tube, not using his mouth muscles at all. While I think this very likely explains some of his articulation errors it also made me realize…
If his mouth muscles are weaker than other five-year olds….
because he’s had less time to exercise them…
and this is affecting his speech….
perhaps his underdeveloped oral muscles are also affecting his ability to eat.
Removing the large diverticulum after his first heart surgery, allowed Apollo to get food down his esophagus.
Removing his tonsils last year, allowed him to get food down his throat.
Perhaps exercising those oral muscles in speech therapy will allow him to chew and swallow food better.
The best part about owning a photography business may be the fact that meetings frequently take place at coffee shops. Yesterday I had a client consultation at coffee shop on top of a book store, so we took school on the road. Enoch and Kalina packed their books and computers and off to Village Books we went. This has been our routine this school year, when I have client meetings. Obviously Enoch and Kalina are old enough to stay home alone, but school in a coffee shop is way more fun than school at the kitchen table.
There are books to explore…
There is coffee to drink…
There are plenty of fun things to look at.
Hey, it can’t be all work and no play!
One thing I have really loved this school year, is having Enoch and Kalina all to myself. The younger kids leave for school in the morning and I am finding myself with huge amounts of time to spend with them. Enoch is learning to drive, so he is often my chauffeur as he fulfills his driving hours. We laugh and joke and talk. I consider it a special privilege to be able to spend hours each day with my teens.
Younger kids are different. Once they are home from school, they jump on me (literally and figuratively) and get all the mom time they need. It’s those elusive teens, who sometimes have tendency to hole up alone, who are harder to connect with. But I’ve found the secret.
“Hey, how about school at the coffee shop today?”
This is rarely, if ever, met with a no thank you.
We have been doing Family Movie Night for the last few months as Chuck has been working long hours. It gives the kids something to look forward to and reminds me to Keep On Smiling….no matter what. Each Friday we have been making homemade pizza and enjoying a movie as a family (sans Chuck). Well, the kids have been bickering and I have observed a way too much screen time lately, so we are in the middle of a two-week screen time break. We are one week in, and the kids are finding more ways to occupy themselves. Lets face it, we all need a reset once in a while. As the kids reset, I am helping them come up with non-tech activities to fill their days.
So here is my list of the Best Tech-Free Entertainment for Kids!
1. Board Games
Pull those babies out! We have a ton of board games, including 3 or 4 versions of Monopoly. My kids have a tendency to fight a lot while playing board games…I don’t like it, but in the big picture I do think they are gaining some life skills: negotiation, compromise and how to lose a game.
2. Have a LEGO Challenge
If your kids are stir crazy, give them a LEGO Challenge. This LEGO printable gives a list of ideas of things to build. Make it a competition (or not, if your kids tend to fight). We have a bajillion LEGO, but when they lose interest, introducing something new to is always helpful.
3. Enjoy a morning (or afternoon) of Books and Blankets
Cover the floor with blankets and pillows and have a read-a-thon. Pop some popcorn and cozy up and read stack after stack of books (or chapter after chapter). My kids love this! Will you have a mess to clean up afterwards? Probably, but in my mind it is worth it to see them diving into and enjoying books.
4. Bake cookies together.
I don’t know a single child who doesn’t love baking cookies! Baking with you child helps them gain cooking skills, practice their math and gives them a sense of accomplishment. Our Breakfast Cookies are always a enjoyed her. Bonus? They are filling and if you add some milk and fruit, you won’t have to make lunch.
5. Non-Messy Crafts (my favorite kind)
These Qixels have been a big hit in our house for both boys and girls. Qixels is a creative activity set that inspires kids to use their imagination with cubes that fuse together with a blast of water to create an 8-bit world of monsters, warriors, ninjas and more, all while stepping away from screens. The range in price from $9.99 to $19.99. Qixels are appropriate for kids ages 5 and up, so they are perfect for our family. I love the fact that it uses water not heat to seal the creations together.
This Turbo Dryer helps Qixel creations to dry in half the time…which means they can move on to make even more creations.
6. Toddler/Preschooler specific activities.
If you have toddlers or preschoolers, be sure and check out my post 21 Activities to Engage Your Toddler. Some of these still keep Apollo occupied, but were a lifesaver when my children were younger.
Do you ever take screen time breaks? What are your favorite tech-free activities?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
What’s worse than a sleepover with a bunch of giggly 12 and 13-year-old girls? Having to walk upstairs at 2 am to tell them to quiet down…then falling back asleep and dreaming you have a house full of 12 and 13-year-old girls who are having a sleepover.*
Only in my dream version Jono was here, watching Lost World with us. What the heck is up with that? I have no idea, but if you haven’t already seen Jono’s documentary: So What If My Baby is Born Like Me, you really should watch it. Jono was born with Treacher-Collins Syndrome and is working to make the world a better place.
Anyway. Friday was Jubilee’s 13th birthday. As you probably know, our family doesn’t do sleepovers.
Why not? Either read this post...or look at the photo above.
Except we do allow the kids to have a sleepover on their thirteen birthday. They also get to drink pop for the first time…and might even score a box of chocolate covered pomegranates.
And apparently I am now the coolest mom ever. Want to know the secret?
Waffles, homemade blueberry syrup and whipped cream for breakfast.
Oh, and when you make the 2 am the request for the girls to “quiet down” don’t yell. According to some 12-year-old girls, that makes you a super nice mom.
Have a great weekend!
*Just kidding, Jubilee. I had a great time and your friends are awesome!