Speech Therapy and Sign Language

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Here's Caroline in Daddy's arms tired out from a long day - see why below:

Today, Caroline had her first private speech therapy appointment and another physical therapy appointment. They both went very well. Her speech therapist (yes, speech therapist - they handle feeding too), Alice, seemed very nice and knowledgable.

Caroline has needed this therapy for a long time. She only takes about 10ccs (2 tsp.) by mouth per feeding, then the rest of the milk goes into her g-tube. There could be several reasons for this: low muscle tone (she works SO hard to get those 10ccs), weak lungs (drinking too much may get in the way of her breathing), her brain just not allowing her to coordinate eating, or all of the above. We're hoping the speech therapist will teach us techniques to help Caroline eat more by mouth. We pray that someday something in her brain will click and she will be able to eat everything by mouth.

Anyway, she watched as I fed Caroline; then, she took Caroline and fed her too. She observed how C coordinates sucking, swallowing, and breathing (she thought C has some good strengths and habits to work with). She then used different tools to stimulate C's mouth muscles like a little stick with a honeycomb-like textured end and also with a finger glove that vibrates. Caroline seemed very interested in those new things. The ST also taught me some massage I can do around her mouth to strengthen her muscles. It was a good visit, and we will see her one to two times a week.

We then went to see our PT. She worked with Caro for about 45 minutes (C tolerated the therapy very well - they were only expecting her to last for 30 minutes). She did many new exercises with Caro that I learned as the PT did them with her.

She also started doing infant sign language with Caroline. I learned 7 signs I can do with Caro ("more" "all done" "hooray" "yes" "no" "milk" and "I want")! I've always wanted to do that with her but I thought it would be a huge project to get into. It wasn't at all - I was intimidated for no reason!

Here's a quote about Infant Sign Language:

Baby signing is all about communicating with young babies before they develop speech, using sign language similar to that used by people with hearing difficulties. Children develop communication skills long before they can speak, and visual communication allows them to start telling parents what they need, or want. Much of the research has shown that using baby sign language makes for an easier life for parents and babies, because the infant doesn't get so frustrated when trying to get what they need.

Here's a little diagram of some Infant Signs


  1. I love hearing about the therapy sessions. Sounds like Caroline tolerated them very well. Please keep us informed. Cute picture of her in her Daddy's arms!

  2. Love that picture! Is that a little chubby leg I see? :-)

  3. Hi Erika! It has been so great to read your story, you and your little family are inspiring so many! I love seeing you as a mom, it's obvious you are doing a terrific job!
    I'm so glad to hear you are teaching Caroline sign. I have taught my kids a few signs and it has been so helpful, plus they love it! check out Signing They are great,fun DVD's. Caroline is beautiful like her Momma! hope to c-u soon!!

  4. Hey Juli,

    Thanks for your kind words, and thank you very much for telling me about the website. It's great. I really appreciate all of the information on it.

    Hope you're doing well!


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