Addy and I went to St. Louis on Thursday for an evaluation with a Talk Tools specialist :) I am so thankful that we were able to do this!!!!
The evaluation took two hours and I was really afraid it was going to be a bust. Addy was not herself the entire ride up there! Fortunately she was completely herself once we were there! I only have video of the evaluation and for some reason when I try to upload it I only get sound!! Working on that!
Basically I wanted to go to have another opinion about Addy's feeding concerns. She has made progress but is still significantly behind where I think she could be. I love Addy's therapist and have no intention of leaving her. This was just so I knew what we should be working on at home.
Even though I am a speech pathologist, I am a complete novice when it comes to feeding. I have NEVER had a feeding class (wasn't required when I got my degree 16 years ago!) and I haven't worked with feeding issues. I have used the Talk Tools program multiple times at work, however, I have found that if there isn't carryover at home, it's pretty useless. I use it with my students that need a lot of oral motor work. I have seen great results with my kiddos with Apraxia.
In all honesty, I haven't thought much about Addy's oral motor skills because it's obvious she has low tone and has oral motor concerns. I just have done a few things here at home to help the sensory issues Addy has in her mouth. I feel like a failure as a mom and SLP for her right now!!!!
I haven't recieved the report yet, which I was told will be very lengthy!, however, here is the gist of what I learned :) Addy has such signficant feeding issues because she is a difficult feeder for two reasons. The first being the obvious, low muscle tone. However, Whitney (the therapist) said that Addy's jaw is so low tone and weak that she absolutely does not have the skills to eat at this point. The second problem is that she is hypersensitive inside her mouth. So the plan is the stop oral feeding except when she is at feeding therapy. Addy does pretty well with liquids so we will be using her Honey Bear straw and work on drinking skills with thick liquids because she enjoys it and does not fight it as much as pureed foods. She wants us to continue because this will continue to help her, however, we must strengthen her jaw first and foremost along with desensitizing her oral cavity. I knew this but was NOT thinking of this when it came to Addy. I think in Mommy mode with her and not always SLP mode! ...
Why are we expecting Addy to eat scary food that goes down her throat that could make her gag and choke when she doesn't even like the spoon in her mouth???? Well, we are going to change that. We will be teaching Addy that having things in her mouth is okay! We will be doing a lot of exercises with the horns and straws, bubbles etc. to teach her that things inside her mouth is ok! We will be doing lots of exercises to strengthen her jaw so she will be able to control food once it is in her mouth :) Whitney also made note that Addy's max is 4. 4 blows of bubbles, 4 toots on a horn etc. After 4 her lips started turning blue. I don't think this has anything to do with being sick recently and neither did Whitney. It's just her low tone at this point. Addy does not use her mouth and head separately from her body. To blow it takes the movement of her whole body to do so. Little girl has LOTS of work to do!!!!
I cannot wait to get Addy's report with the detailed information about what we will be doing daily to help her! I am also on the lookout for a new seat for her to "eat" in, she's in a highchair right now and she isn't sitting at the right angles. I did know this and just told Scot the other day it was time to move her to a booster seat. At least I was thinking SLP mode for that!!!