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Walt & Whitney's Speech Therapy Journey

Every year of parenting brings new challenges, but with every challenge and new experience we learn something about our children and ourselves. Today I'm partnering with Speech Up Austin to share about Walt and Whitney's speech therapy journey. 

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At 4.5 years old Walt had a frontal lisp, and Whitney had a lateral lisp. We noticed around 3 years old Whitney pronounced certain words and sounds differently but weren't sure if we should pursue speech therapy. I drug my feet in hopes that maybe they would both grow out of it. One day I received an email from Haley, a nationally speech-language pathologist, who was looking for local Austin bloggers to work with. It was a God-send because I knew Walt and Whitney needed to be evaluated and it felt like the perfect time. 

EVALUATION 
After discussing over the phone my concerns of their speech, Haley came over to our home for a full evaluation. She spent 45 minutes with each child, and afterwards walked me through her diagnoses. Both needed speech therapy, and I kicked myself for not starting sooner.

Haley can treat for the following:

- Speech delay
-  Language delay
- Articulation disorders
- Phonological disorder
- Receptive/expressive language disorders
- Apraxia
- Hearing impairment
- Oral motor dysfunction
- Feeding disorders

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TREATMENT
Haley advised every child is different and a unique diagnoses requires a unique treatment plan. My biggest concern was when we were going to do these treatments. Due to COVID-19 my work schedule was absolutely nuts, and I was worried about finding time for everything. Thankfully Haley advised she works with local schools and daycares to actually treat children on-site! That was music to my working moms ears. As a mom with multiple kiddos and a demanding job, having my kids being able to be treated at school is a lifesaver. She can also go to primary schools as well. We worked with the school to figure out the best time for treatment, and I sent an email for approval. 

Haley treated Walt and Whitney separately for 30 minutes every week, and they absolutely loved seeing her! She was a highlight to their day. Treatment involved ensuring they could first hear the difference between a properly and improperly produced sound. If a child can't hear and understand what she is asking of them, treatment won't be successful. Next step was trying all sorts of tricks of the trade to elicit proper tongue placement. She used straws, flavored tongue depressors, visuals, etc! Last is practice, practice, practice. Skills emerge in a hierarchy First they practiced sound in isolation, then in a single word, a phrase, a sentence and finally all the way up to running speech. She recommended re-evaluation at the 6 month mark so we can discuss progress and the best course of action for our family.

Every week she sent home a sheet of paper for each about what they worked on and observations. We also chatted about their progress via email. They've been meeting for over a month, and will likely need an additional 4 months of treatment. 

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I'm extremely thankful for Haley and the treatment she has provided. She truly cares for the kids, and it comes through in her attitude and treatment. She firmly believes in a holistic, whole-family approach to speech, language and feeding therapies. She uses the information gathered to create an all-encompassing treatment plan that is specific to your child and your family. Every child is different, each family is unique, your therapy plan should be too! If you have questions about your child's development she offers a FREE, 15-minute phone consultation to learn about your child and decide if her services are the right fit for your family. Check out Speech Up Austin's website here!

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