Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Update: Speech Therapy

It's been a while since I've updated about Rachel's ongoing speech therapy.

Rachel continues to receive one on one Speech Therapy once a week here in the comfort of our own home. We are so blessed to have a speech therapist that comes to our home to do speech therapy with Rachel. Dr. D'Antonio spends countless hours outside of therapy time preparing and planning for Rachel's speech. We know how lucky we are, for if Rachel was receiving Speech Therapy at school, it would be in a group setting, and not tailored for Rachel's specific speech needs.

It's hard to believe that we're coming up on eleven months of therapy. With the exception of three, maybe four times, we've had therapy every week since May of last year! It's encouraging to see all the hard work paying off through compliments of other people, and the clearness of Rachel's speech.We've recently moved on to the last sound that Rachel needs to master. That sound is the sound of the letter "R". This task will take some time and then it'll be on to some "R" blends and ultimately working on carrying over things learned to conversational speech.

A lot of weeks, Rachel doesn't open up and talk excessively with Dr. D when she comes to do therapy. Dr. D will ask about Rachel's school day and the previous weekend. Sometimes, most of the time, it's like pulling teeth to get Rachel to talk. Which is frustrating because at the dinner table she's the last one eating as the rest of us have finished eating as she's been talking the entire time. LOL. So today, we did speech therapy in a different way...

Today, we went to lunch with Dr. D'Antonio and then went to Toys R Us to help point out some games that could easily be converted to games she can use for speech fun. Being away from the kitchen table, the usual place of therapy, proved to be very helpful. Dr. D'Antonio said at the end of our time together that what she got today was equivalent to what three weeks of therapy would have been. Rachel was talkative and relaxed and had fun looking for sounds she's worked on in the kids menu. It definitely was a nice change for therapy. It also gave Dr. D an idea as to where to go from here. It was a successful outing that may have to be worked again.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Save Smile Train

It's no surprise that we have a soft place in our hearts for children with cleft lips and palates.

Rachel's lip was fixed at 5 months of age. We in the United States are very blessed to have the health care we have, despite the threats of changes that might someday come.

Children living outside the United States aren't so fortunate. Some children with cleft lips don't have their lip repaired until their well out of of their toddler stage, some even as old as ten years old, sometimes older.

There are two organizations that go into these countries and help provide the surgeries to restore smiles to these children. Operation Smile and the Smile Train are both known for their efforts in this area. And while they both focus on the same sort of problem, their approach is very much different. It wasn't until Rachel's Speech Therapist came into our life last May that we really learned the difference between the two.

Operation Smile takes medical teams into the areas for a few weeks at a time and provides the surgeries for these children, when their time is up, they leave.

Smile Train goes in and teaches the existing doctors in the country to perform the surgeries themselves, thus being able to ultimately treat many more children within their country.

Currently, there is an attempt to merge the two organizations. There is a petition circulating for people to sign, to bring to the attention of the New York Attorney General to stop this merge.

The petition is to save Smile Train and it's way of practice.

The greater the numbers on the petition, the better, so if you would, would you please follow this link and sign the petition.

Your support would be very much appreciated!

Save Smile Train - The Petition