Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Apraxia Part 3 - Speech Therapy Advances

Our little guy..

.. is so very sweet and funny!  He must look at the world very differently and experience such different things.  Its so fascinating to see what he is like.  He loves to climb, he loves to have a joke with you, he loves to play with his toys and figurines.  J has a love for anything mass produced - Toy Story, Lightning McQueen, Spiderman, Octonauts..  He loves playing with bubbles, Play Doh, Mr Potato Head (great for therapies - arm/nose/eye/hair/ear), cars, dolls house, baby dolls, anything really.  He also really loves music - listening on CDs or making his own with the harmonica, xylophone and drums!  I've also found thru kindergarten that he is great with his hands - he can take magnetic shapes and build the most amazing things (especially spaceships!) - he is very intricate and thoughtful with his designs.

He's never been great with making sounds or talking but boy is he animated in what he does try to get across to us.  He could definitely win awards as a mime artist and he always gets his message across to people.  When he started kindergarten this year (for 4 year olds) his teacher did not know what to expect as we'd told him he couldn't talk very well etc.. and the first thing she said to us was how well he communicated and still got his message across despite his lack of words.  Kinder has been the best thing for him this year.  Its given him so much motivation to try harder so that he can communicate with his peers.  It still hasn't been easy for him.  Its just so darned hard for him to form sounds and make words.  I can see it when we are practicing sounds from speech - some sounds he really struggles with and he gets cross quickly with them.  /H/ is a really hard one for him at the moment (we are practising Hop, Hop, Hop and he just hates it!).

We have come a long way with his speech since we started Prompt towards the end of last year.  Unfortunately, regular speech therapy did NOTHING for him.  All we really worked on with regular speech therapy was improving his attention span and getting him to sit still and concentrate for longer periods of time.  It just doesn't work for him to mimic sounds - he has to be shown through physical contact which is what Prompt does.  I can also see that he tries to copy through concentrating on the sound coming to his ears but he really dislikes looking at you when you are trying to teach him.. I'm not sure if this is a trait or if its related to how the whole mimicing thing does not work for him.  He can look and copy an open mouth but he can't seem to get anything from the nuances of where you place your tongue or other mouth formations you might make.

Sounds that he has learnt this year are: /m/, /b/, /p/, /o/, /a/, /e/, /i/.  Basically he can sing E-I-E-I-O! Lots of emphasis on stretching the mouth sideways and up and down.  We have also been working on /h/ but he really struggles with this and does NOT like to practise it.  We've also been working on /w/ - starting with an o sound, so more like o-w- before the rest of the word.  And he is doing fantastically with our /w/ combinations - wee, weep, weem, woo, woop, weeb, weem (basically p, m, p endings), wah, wahm, wahp, wahb -- these are nonsense combinations, just for practising mouth movements.
We also started using some Cued Articulation (as our therapist knows both) for /s/ and /p/.  Our therapist did the /s/ cue when he was struggling with this one and he bloody loved it!!  When he does the hand sign, he can do /s/'s!!!!  Without it, he can't seem to do it.  It was like a little miracle was happening in the therapist's office that day!  J had learnt his /p/ sound but then lost it (using /b/ instead, just cos its so hard) and then the therapist reintroduced it using the cue and he's got it back again.

Left to his own devices, J just does /duh, duh, duh/ for everything.  This is how he plays on his own with his figurines now despite learning different sounds.  So we're also just starting to push him to use the words that he's learnt in his play and natural environment.  I think he's starting to get good feedback from people which can only motivate him further and get him pushing forward with his speech production.  I also think we've got quite a few sounds and combinations working now so that we are able to model new words that we come across which is pretty awesome!!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Juggling Balls

I thought that making these juggling balls would be a great way to coordinate a couple of different fabrics together.  I just love finding an excuse to try out a set of different colour ways!  I used templates from the oliver + s book "Little things to sew".  Its a fantastic book with lots of small sewing projects.  The sections you have to cut are quite small so it was easy to find strips of scraps to use.

It is very important to mark a dot for the top corners and to sew right up to this spot - that way you will get nice crisp joins - unlike me!  Its surprisingly forgiving and the balls are just so darned cute.  This project is a little fiddly and so far I've only made one.. so no juggling going on here just yet!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

This little guy is 4! Octonauts Party!

J has finally turned FOUR!  Very exciting around here, lots of talk of being a big boy now.. and he really is, he can do pretty much everything for himself now.  He also gets to move to a booster seat in the car which is pretty exciting.

We had an Octonauts themed party for him this year.  This involved a sea theme through the house - green and blue crepe streamers around the lounge room, green and blue helium balloons with curling ribbon dangling from each one.  We almost had to remove the balloons as we lost about 4 at the very beginning and the birthday boy was VERY fearful of more popping!

We put out J's new Octonaut toys for the kids to play with (bit risky but worked out well with our bunch of kids).  There were also other boy toys such as trains and cars and the kids had a ball just playing on their own.  We had Octonauts hats for the kids to wear.  We had a couple of activity stations:

    Bean bag throw:  I made the bean bags with fabric square pouches and rice which counts this as a small sewing activity! Yay Mum!  The kids stood about a metre away and threw the bags into hoola hoop rings on the ground.

    Egg and spoon races:  This was tricky with 4 year olds but this set from ELC is just fantastic for use with little kids where they can put the egg back together and carry on.  The kids loved it and the winners received little medals at the end.

    The cake was a Kwazaii cake and the inspiration came from AJAntics - AJ has an absolutely brilliant post on the Octonauts party she threw for her little boy.  The cake decorations are licorice strap, licorice (Natural Confectionary brand which I was so excited to find!!), marshmallow halves and a pink smartie for the nose.  Decorating was the easy part, its actually cutting the shape and icing it all together that is hard!

    Here is our birthday boy getting ready to blow out the candles!!

    Here is the birthday boy opening up some presents after the party.  Oh, he LOVES that buzz outfit that his friend gave him :)

    Happy 4th birthday beautiful boy!!!

    Saturday, April 13, 2013

    Apraxia / Dyspraxia - Part 2

    Food sensitivity

    When we were first finding out about J's delays, I found out that I had a food intolerance to sulphite preservatives in food.  I then started to realise that J was reacting to the same foods as me.  We changed the whole family diet around, removing sulphites (E220-228) and also reducing the amount of additives and colours in our diet too.  Mostly it means avoiding processed foods (junk food) and eating more wholesome meals of meat and vegetables.  I feel that this made a big difference to things with J - he had always looked somewhat confused/conflicted and the dietary changes seemed to help clear his head.  We made the food changes in December 2011 so we've been on it over a year now.  I do realise that his attention span improvements may have happened through maturity and age but I always felt I knew when he'd eaten badly, that he'd get his foggy head back and would pull back on his speech etc.  It wasn't until later on in my research that I read that it was thought that children with Apraxia were more likely to have a food intolerance/allergy.  If you Google "Apraxia food intolerance" you'll get plenty more comments on this.  I do think that you need to be wary of strident health claims - hey, we're all looking for a miracle cure and its too easy to be taken for a ride on this journey - so my advice would be to try some elimination diets and see if you feel a difference has been made or not.

    Speech Therapy

    We have been recommended to use Cued Articulation and/or Prompt for speech therapy (Apraxia).  We went with Prompt and have a very lovely therapist now but we did have to test our relationship with others beforehand.  For us, we needed a lot of behavioural help as well - my little guy just would not sit still and if you gave him an inch he'd be off and running around the room trying to find his own activities.  We used visual cues and had rewards for the end of the sessions (free play with favourite toy).  We also found a therapist who worked out how far she could push him and who got him sitting down in the one spot.  J really responded to the touch used in Prompt therapy - it was like a lightbulb moment for him, he understood this and his sounds were coming out right when this therapy was used.  I can only imagine how miraculous that moment must have been for him.  We made some great gains at the beginning of therapy.. we still do but its very slow, slower then I expected it would be.  Its really hard for him, so hard that he does not like to practice with me.. thank goodness for chocolate and bribery!

    Challenging Activities

    We've made particularly good progress in January of this year when J dropped his daytime naps.  I don't know why that mattered (he'd always been very big in needing those naps) but after dropping them he seemed to grow in maturity and purpose.  It was also school holidays and we had a lovely vacation by the beach, so he had both his parents around and full exposure to his big sister who had just finished her first year of school (so he's missed seeing her).  We also put him into kindergarten this year (with slightly older kids) and he relishes it!  J is VERY motivated by his peers.  This peer interaction seems to give him a much better motivation to practice his sounds and words - I can't rate our paediatrician highly enough who gave us this advice to put him in with older kids.

    J has just turned 4 so I will put up some birthday pics next post and then I reckon I've got one more post on Apraxia stuff and then will put my mind towards some sewing!! :)

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Apraxia / Dyspraxia - Part 1

    OK, this post has been a long time coming.  It might well explain why my craft blog has dwindled a bit as I've had a bit more on my plate.  We're a fair bit down the track though, so most of this is just summary.  I guess I feel better about talking about it now as I feel I finally "know" what is going on.

    My son has Apraxia / Dyspraxia - two different words that are used to describe the same thing.  I do prefer to use Apraxia, its just slightly nicer to say. 

    We first noticed a delay with J's crawling and sitting and it was quite clear that he did not talk very much, barely made any sounds at 18 months.  We had some testing done and found that J wasn't hearing very well because he had 'glue ear'.  We swiftly moved to having an operation and had grommets put in J's ears (21 months).  After the grommets were put in we saw improvements in J's balance and he started walking unaided about a month later (roughly 22 months).  The surgeon told me they got a LOT of gunk out of his teeny little ears.  However, his ability for speech and even sounds didn't improve.  The hearing test now came up fine and the ENT said that something else was going on which we needed to investigate.  Initially we were told he had a global developmental delay.  We started seeing a speech therapist to help with his talking.  He was quite young and we mainly worked on alternative communication (Makaton signing and PECS) and on extending his attention span (this little guy did not like to stop and sit still for very long!).  We were often told that it looked like Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS).  Eventually our speech therapist told us that she was a generalist speechie and that we needed someone specific for Apraxia (3 1/2 years).  She suggested that we try PROMPT speech therapy.  The PROMPT speech therapy is a very hands-on process where the jaw and mouth are moulded to help the child make the right shapes/sounds with their mouth.  Apparently there is some neurological feedback that the child gets from the touch on the face as well.  J really responded to this new therapy and he started to make bigger gains.  I'll explain more about where he's at in another post.

    I intend to take a little diversion from the craft stuff and talk a little about the Apraxia for a little bit.. I'll be back with more.

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Gathered Clutch Project

    I made this beautiful clutch (see below) following the Noodlehead Gathered Clutch Tutorial.  She has a wonderful website with many fabulous projects going on.  You can also purchase her tutorials and I suspect you probably get a bit more information and ideas from the brought ones - try Pink Chalk Fabrics for the patterns.  I was very motivated with this project and made 3 in one go - the theory being one dodgy one for me and 2 to give as gifts!  However, I managed to do some unpicking and wound up with 3 very gorgeous little cases/clutches! :)

    I can't believe how well the zipper matched my fabric - Yay Spotlight!

    Monday, September 10, 2012

    Harry Potter Birthday Party Preparations

    Earlier this year I helped out my sister who was organising a Harry Potter themed birthday party.  We followed a lot of wonderful tips from Just Another Day in Paradise.  See the completed felt spell books below.

    Saturday, September 8, 2012


    I used the Vlijtig Needlebook tutorial to make this - very sweet and easy to follow directions!   I'd actually recommend using a piece of calico to insert the needles into - use pinking shears to pretty up the edges of the calico and it would look really nice.

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Bears in the woods

    Bear with me! I am trying to update my blog template. I was never happy with the previous change I made. I've got heaps more craft to share as I've been very slack with updates this year - Boo has started school this year and its just been busy, busy! Hoping to update more soon. xx

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    5 Years Old

    My little girl is now 5 years old! We've had a party, in fact we've had 3! We like to party and she has got lots of friends (Mothers Group, kinder, family)! Here is a pic of her 'castle cake'!

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Courthouse Steps

    Emma has advised me that the quilting is a variation of log cabin called Court house Steps. All the fabric strips were 1 1/2 inch width and I would sew them either side of the block and cut their length as I went along. 1/4 inch seams.

    I am actually a little stuck as to how to convert this to a cushion without losing my width on the very outer border. I have a feeling I should have cut 2 inch (or more) strips for that final border.

    As promised, I am including a picture of the pendant I am making while following the annekata tutorial:

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Log Cabin cushion

    I choose the following fabrics..

    And starting making a cushion top for a cushion for my daughter (or me if she doesn't want it!!). This is only half way through.. I've done even more strips!

    Apologies to my quilter friends - I don't think this is a log cabin design but I do not know what else to call it..

    Inspiration and sewing

    My inspiration of late has included this piccie:

    First Birthday Inspiration Board
    I am seriously thinking about those gorgeous little rainbow cupcakes for DD's 5th birthday which is coming up very, very fast! Jesyka also has a fantastic idea for making the party bags which I'd love to try as well.

    I have started to put together a cushion for DD. Its not log cabin but very similar.. the name eludes me right now. It was lots of fun to throw all the colours together and although it was slow going, I really enjoyed it. I will rummage for a photo..

    I absolutely love this pendant that vlijtig has made and have followed annekata's tutorial to make one of my own.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Carry All Bag

    I love this style of bag - I just throw in my magazines, my Sudoku puzzle, snacks, a drink bottle and maybe some sticker books for the kids and I'm ready to take off and amuse myself (not often in mummy-land). I've just made one of these bags to give to a friend as she's going to have a lot of appointments to go to and hopefully this bag is as handy for her as its been for me. I made a special trip to the fabric shop to find some coordinating fabrics to make this bag. I wound up getting the Amy Butler Lotus fabric for the main panel and a spotty fabric for the inside lining. I would have gotten coordinating AB fabrics but the shop only seemed to have the one fabric in this range - boohoo.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    One grey elephant balancing..

    "One grey elephant balancing, step by step on a piece of string.."

    Following the SewHip elephant tutorial, I made 5 of the little brooches and got to try out a few different accent fabrics!

    The following one is the one that went to my friend.

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Something is happening here!

    I am trying to source my sewing mojo and get back into the sewing world. I'm planning a small felt brooch project to start with. Here is piccie of my work in progress - yes, something is happening here!!

    I'm following instructions from the June 2011 issue of Sew Hip magazine.. so if you've got a copy of this mag you might be able to work out which project I'm doing. Otherwise I cannot say anymore as it is a present for a friend so you will have to wait until after they receive it!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Pretty dresses

    I joined a sewing class last term and had lots of laughs with a lovely bunch of ladies. There's nothing better then spending time with a group of like minded people. This is the dress that I made for Sarah. Its got pleating in the front and ric rac accents on the sleeves and across the dress.

    Spotty Dreaming

    Its amazing how a very cute spotty cup can help lift your mood!

    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Mini Nappy Bag

    I wanted to get some doll accessories for my daughter but when I saw the little nappy bags in the shop, I knew I could do something just as good myself. So I sat down last night and cut out fabric and then put it all together tonight. I pinned the main fabric and lining together, inserted the arm straps and said to my husband - "I'm either finished this in 5 mins time or I've really stuffed it up" and TA DA - I pinned it right!!!

    The defining moment - before the final sewing:

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Christmas Pins

    I have had a lovely time putting these Christmas pins/brooches together. We are giving them to kinder teachers and child carers.

    The finished product included attaching them to some cardstock to give them a little more form.