Thursday, 12 July 2012

Sensory Play and Developing Oral Skills

It is amazing when I start reading about things such as the suck, swallow and breathe synchrony how eating not only for its ability to sustain us but its ability to help development, strengthen and speech. The body is truly amazing. Our lovely speech pathologist asked us to read a booklet called Discovering the Developmental Significance of the Mouth, it isn't a long read but it is very interesting. Until we had a speech pathologist that got into the basics of oral development I didn't realize what we have been missing out on. Since our speech pathologist isn't local she telephones us and posts tools to us. We are planning to have feeding and speech sessions via Facetime, isn't technology great! We are starting at the beginning, oral hygiene. Faith is definitely ready for this as tooth brushing has become a fun time instead of a time for gagging when it enters her mouth. We sing brusha brusha brusha and my husband brushes his teeth while brushing Faith's. This is their thing and she looks so eagerly when he heads to the bathroom to gets his tooth brush and hers. She tries saying some sounds and is so curious with it.

Faith is also interested in licking and putting objects in her mouth with our help. At bath time particularly while we are playing games with the crab and duck she opens her mouth and wants to lick and bite on the crab and duck. She won't hold it herself but is keen to have the toys in her mouth and explore them. It is so encouraging! She has not shown this type of interest before and is a great step forward! For months, we get out the crayons and I put them on her play tray and draw things and encourage her to touch and play with the crayons but she just watches. My husband was drawing with her and she just picked one up and dropped it, then another and another. We would hold one out and she would take it. Very exciting! Faith is texture sensitive and the desire to play with the crayons is such an exciting development. She has repeated it lots of times now and has transferred the skill onto different shapes of play dough. Before, only just touching round bits of play dough but now different shapes and squeezing them in her hand, even looking at them. I love seeing her take on different tasks.

I think Faith is enjoying learning makaton sign, when I do the sign for I love you, she smiles and makes cooing sounds. She definitely understands no/stop as the bottom lip comes out and she cries. It looks so sad. We have the signs pinned up around the house so we can use them more and learn more signs. Our speech pathologist suggested a chart with five signs to learn a week and then change so we keep learning more. We received an exciting package in the post with whistles, feathers, straws, reading materials and charts. All the most wonderful tools in helping Faith progress to No Tube! It is good having goals and stages to work through as then my brain doesn't become overloaded and I can sort it into a system to work with. I have been madly sorting and reading so I can make sense of it all.

We have charts to remind and help us with the activities to learn to include in our day for example, an oral stimulation program, things like stroking and tapping of Faith's cheeks, and other aspects like an oral alerting program for the body and face warm up. Lots of great activities to help Faith and we are seeing small changes already. I like having a system, a plan, it gives me direction for the present and the future, just thinking where we were this time last year and now we are planning Faith's 2nd birthday party. Blessings are everywhere, we just need to look!

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