The Hailey Herald

The Hailey Herald

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Communication & Speech

Unfortunately, children with Down syndrome not only have to battle gross motor delays, but most times also have speech delays.  Many insurances do not cover or do not want to cover speech therapies.  We have been fortunate so far that our insurance has not had an issue with any of Hailey's therapies.  We started speech therapy last year, not long after Hailey's first birthday.  I was skeptical at first as to what they were going to do or how they were going to help her.  Hailey's speech therapist is fantastic!!!  She actually has 3 siblings with Ds.  You can check out Jen's blog here

What not all people realize is that speech therapy is not "all" actual speaking.  It is about communication, labeling objects, learning concepts "over", "under", signing, and for some it is also feeding therapy.  One of my largest fears (yes, there were a lot of them) initially, was that Hailey would never be able to communicate with us.  To begin with, I used communication and speaking interchangeably.  A fellow blogging mom, Meriah, (you can read about Meriah and her family here) made me realize that speaking wasn't the same.  There are so many other ways that my daughter can communicate other than verbalizing her words.  Fortunately, Hailey has picked up signing rather quickly.  If her mom's signing vocabulary was more extensive, she would probably learn even more, but I'm not as quick of a learner!  Last week, she started signing "Daddy work" and home.  I need to actually figure out how many words she does sign because I have lost track!

In speech therapy last week, Hailey imitated lots of sounds for Jen, but she is getting to the point that she doesn't always want to do exactly what Jen and Abby want her to do.  Abby wanted her to sit on a ball and copy sounds, but Hailey decided that she needed to see her best friend (her reflection) and make the sounds in the mirror.  They generally don't argue with Hailey unless she flat out refuses (which knock on wood, isn't often).  She signed when she recognized a word.  She is doing really good with her flashcards and recognizing an object when given two choices.  Hailey will point at objects in books.  We are well on our way to communicating. 

She is communicating her wishes and wants at home and to others.  She will sign for "eat", "sleep", "milk" and even sign some two word phrases (Daddy work, Daddy's baby, Papaw's baby, milk please).  It helps ease those fears that I had in the beginning.  With the amount of actual words she says, I truly believe Hailey will talk...I think she might just do it to keep up with her brothers and her mom...sorry Dad!!!

Last weekend, we traveled out of town for dear friends' wedding.  When we returned, I asked Hailey if she was happy to be home, she signed home and then said "home".  It was the sweetest sound in the world.  It comes a close 3rd after "momma" and "dadda".  She drags the "o" a little so it comes out "hooome", but it is all there and I keep asking her to say it because I love it so much (and yes, it made me cry)!!!

Here are photos of Hailey playing with one of her babies.  It was actually homework for speech therapy a couple of months ago.  Thank goodness there are no real babies in the house!

No, this wasn't taught...I think we might needed a weighted baby.

I'm not sure what was so funny.

Thank goodness this isn't a real baby!

Still laughing!

Patting the baby's back.

Feeding her baby.

Making the baby play patty-cake.

Bottle confusion?


  1. I love that she said "home." And that she says Momma and Daddy! This is a good reminder to keep working on signing with Ben. I do sign - more, eat, milk, all done, etc. and he will repeat some of them, but I could be more intentional.

    1. It seemed to take forever! We were ready to give up with signing when she had an explosion with it. Once it clicks, he will take off with it!

  2. Oh my gosh these are adorable! Calvin makes that same closed-eye smile face :) Love it!

  3. Rock on Miss Hailey! You are really turning into quite the communicator :-) I love the pics of her with the baby.

  4. I am so impressed with Hailey's speech! She is way more advanced than Ben. I was surprised when there was more to speech therapy than speech.

    1. I have truly been amazed at how much we accomplish in speech therapy. I had no clue what was involved with speech therapy!

  5. Yay Hailey and saying "home"!!!! That is awesome! She is waaaay ahead of Madi in speech. It is crazy just how many things are involved with speech!

    I love all the pictures of her-her expressions on her face just make me bust out in a huge smile!! :)

    (I'm a little behind in my blog reading.......)