Thursday, November 10, 2011

Speech therapy is exhausting

Yesterday was our second speech therapy session and about 45 minutes into it, Lucy just gave up and laid down in my lap. And this is a child who is not a lap child. She was so tired of being made to focus on making sounds in order to get to the toy we were using for the therapy. And I must confess that I was equally exhausted. Because Lucy has not attached to me yet I've asked the therapist, Annie, to let me participate more than is usually expected. Lucy was excited at first to have the new person pay attention to her and was more than a little frustrated to find out that she had to not only make the sounds we were asking but she had to make them for me in order to get the toy.

What I've noticed in the few weeks we've had her home is that she much prefers to play by being active: riding the scooter, running up and down the hall, throwing or kicking a ball. Quieter activities like the shape sorter box or looking at pictures drive her batty. She will literally grab the book out of my hand and shake her head NO and try to make me stop. It's beyond frustrating. She prefers to knock over the tower of blocks Kate has just built than to help her put it back together.

I'm not sure if it's her nature or if the almost 2 years she spent without focused attention and with large amounts of sugar coursing through her body are the cause. Possibly both. And, it's probably the access to so many different types of toys and people and food and just EVERYTHING that keeps her from focusing. She still goes to sleep much like an infant will...I lay her in the crib and she's out within 1-2 minutes which, to me, that is an indication that she is only allowing herself to take downtime when sleeping.

So, sitting in a therapy room with toys that require you to focus is unbearably taxing for her. For example, the first thing we had her do was to feed the "pet bird" (a puppet) with fake food. In order to get the food from Annie she had to say "more" which she will do as we ask her to say it at home for every meal. Then she had to say "eat" in order for me to open the bird's mouth to take the food. She's used to just making the sign for that word, never attempting to even say it. She steadfastly kept her mouth clamped shut for quite some time before saying "ahh" which we promptly rewarded. At this point, any sound that she makes that is a vowel when a vowel is called for (even if it's the wrong one) was greeted with much enthusiasm.

And that's why I'm exhausted. I'm not the MUCH ENTHUSIASM sort to begin with. It's why I taught jaded high school students instead of kindergarten. And Lucy's not used to me being the over-excited sort anyway so it was all just a bit over-the-top. Fortunately Annie and I talked for the last 5 minutes of our session about what we can do to make it work a bit better and some homework to focus on while Lucy had some free playtime.

Our homework for this week is:
1.  Make lip sounds for M, P, B and W
2. Saying the following words instead of just signing them: in, out, more, eat
3. Starting to identify body parts with both gestures and words.

Friday we start occupational therapy for feeding here at our house. And. AND! As if our lives weren't hectic enough, none of the three sitters I have interviewed and liked are available to watch Kate on Friday so I've had to call in a favor with Sara, one of my mama friends. She's going to take her daughter, Lina, and Kate to the Children's museum at the Swedish Museum--seems they are serving Swedish pancakes all day! Thanks Sara--I owe you a drink (or three) at our next mama night out.


Emily said...

i'm just going to throw my 2 cents and experience over the last year in here--
i was way surprised that lucy's speech therapist was having her do 1 hour-- that is WAY long for a little one! noah is 3 his therapist only does 1/2 hour sessions-- eaven with older kids- 1 hour is , in my opinion, way too long to ask a toddler to focus. could you ask her therapist to back off to 1/2 hour sessions?

Lisa said...

Emily, I thought so too but that is their standard practice. We did talk at the end of the session about how to make it not so daunting for her and to allow some free playtime at the end so we can talk about goals, etc. while she's getting to rummage through stuff.


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