Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Signs and Colors

Back to the subject of Clare's speech therapy and my dilemma over whether to continue or not. I cannot gush enough about Clare's speech therapist, and I hate to let that go (and am afraid that once we are off Judy's schedule, it will be hard to get back on - she is in high demand). Clare's progress has been amazing after about six months of working with Judy. And Judy keeps telling me that we should see some "real improvement" once Clare has her tongue released. Real improvement?? Shawn and I marvel over the improvement already! But then it comes down to the question of which is more of a disservice to Clare - discontinuing speech or having her endure one really long day each week. (And before anyone offers this suggestion, it was almost impossible to find a time that worked for both us and Judy, so switching her speech to a different day or time is not an option right now.)

As I have said over and over, Clare's vocabulary has exploded, she now uses verbs and makes complete sentences, and is expanding her food repertoire (becoming stronger from the bite and blow toys Clare "exercises" with daily and tips from Judy on ways to help Clare eat better, both in diet and technique). One of the things that Judy has been working very hard with Clare on is her colors. Clare understands what colors are and can name them, but she cannot identify which color is which. We have played color games, looked at books, done all kinds of things for a long time now, but Clare still would only get the color right by chance. Until Judy introduced Clare to the signs for colors. When Judy holds up a banana and asks Clare what color it is, Clare cannot tell her. When Judy makes the sign for "yellow" while asking Clare, Clare immediately says "yellow." I don't know what it is about the signs, but Clare has an easier time identifying the sign with the name of the color. Or maybe she needs two visuals to make the connection? (The sign and the color itself.) I don't know why it works, but it does. So we are learning the signs for the basic colors - yellow, red, blue, green, orange, pink, and purple. Judy has also been using this technique to cue Clare in using verb phrases as well (such as "can I have," "it is not"). Once Clare has mastered identifying colors with the sign cues, hopefully she will be able to do it without the cues as well. It is an interesting technique, and one that seems to be working very well with Clare. I know not to expect Clare to be able to do everything on the same time table as Jamie, but she will be four in a couple weeks and cannot identify any letters, numbers, shapes, etc. This is one of the areas where I feel her work with Judy is helping so much. Clare loves to play with Judy and eagerly looks forward to their visits, so I am really torn as to what is the right thing to do for Clare's sake.


Aunt Joan said...

You certainly have your hands full! I am of no help, but it seems sad to stop her therapy. However, it seems sad for her to have an exhausting day, too! I know that you will 'know' what is best for her, and she will blossom either way. Good luck, Clare, with the colors & letters, etc. I still get confused!

Laura said...

Of course, as you well know, there is no perfect solution, so I'll just share our experience. When Michaela was the same age, we chose not to have any therapies in school, so PT, OT, and ST were either before school or after, and some days both. Needless to say, there were days she could barely function by the time she got home.
There were good therapy days and then there were nightmare days!
I went back and forth about the schedule, I didn't want to take away the therapy (it was helping) so I decided on this solution.....took it day by day. If she looked just way too over tired on a particular day, we skipped therapy that day. Less stress on her, less stress on me. We didn't miss a lot of sessions, and there were still days she decided not to cooperate. What also helped me was to take a look at the big picture....overall, even though there were some not so great days and days we chose to miss, is she getting more out of it than not.

Michelle said...

I agree with what Laura said...if you can get away with that..then go for it. Keep in this need to establish "need" don't want to give up a therapy and then have to fight to get it back later because right now she might not "need" it...this is when you hold on to everything you can until you know without a shred of doubt she doesn't need it anymore...maybe try everyother week for now?

Noel said...

Abi learned her colors by association green like grass, yellow like the sun, white like snow...whenever we would name colors we would say the whole sentance. she would first name colors like this " what color is this?" "snow" and we would then remind her "white like snow".
Sometimes I think they just need that extra hint to make it something they want to remember. If signs work use them! Signs worked for over under behind with Abi. We would ask her to put something under and do the sign for under and then after we knew she stopped looking for the sign we took the sign out of it.
Good Luck! and time wise, do what you feel your family as a whole can handle if it is too much, you know it!

Heather said...

Teresa.. I understand your concerns. However, I just want to let you know that as well as Caleb speaks.. and trust me, it is really well, he still receives an hour a week of ST.
His articulation isn't great, but we don't have any articulation goals anymore. This is because we are working on functional skills and complex abstract concepts like same and different, when, how, and things like that. Functional things. When he was younger, these needs weren't as apparent. He seemed more age appropriate. Now that he is older, they 'show' more.
Anyway, I am telling you this because these are things he didn't seem to need when he was younger, and now we know he does. They actually upped his therapy last year. Not trying to say she will have the same needs as Caleb.
I agree with the other ladies though.. better to keep it and not have to fight to get it back later.

Kerry said...

It sounds like everyone gave you great advice ~ I am also in the "Keep it" column, and take it day by day if need be. Especially since you all like Judy.. don't want to mess with that!

Anna said...

I have to agree with everyone as well, they really gave some wonderful suggestions. I'm trying to figure out how you do it, I'm feeling very overwhelmed and drained these days and I only have one child! Wow you are doing a great job!