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So last week, I spilled the beans in my post about sleep training Benji, that, at 7 + months, he was not yet babbling. To most parents, this might not be alarming and if a parent were to ask me if they should be concerned about their child’s speech then, I would say “keep an eye and ear out for it, but it’s still too early to sound any real alarm bells.” But to me, a Speech-Language Pathologist parent, this was quite possibly one of the top things I was concerned about (along with his sleep and eczema). In fact, I was already keeping a keen ear out for babbles since he was about 5 months old, which is the time when most babies develop this skill. All I got were vocalizations; admittedly, they were pretty good ones with lots of variance in pitch and volume. But no babbles. He wasn’t even doing any raspberry kisses, which a lot of babies would’ve already done.

I did not express my concern to many people, who I know would’ve just brushed aside my concern and say I’m being an overeager parent (which is true). (My younger brother also had a history of some speech and language delays growing up so I do have some grounds for concern here, although he speaks and writes beautifully now.) On the quiet, though, I was doing all sorts of “therapy” with him. By that, I mean simply using different ways to teach him consonant sounds, since I have that knowledge, and since it’s not exhausting and won’t harm him in any way. Besides the usual reading to him and doing play therapy with him (making animal noises, sounds with cars, buses, etc.), I also at times would babble to him when he started vocalizing. I also used cued articulation, a visual system where a sign is attached to a consonant sound, to highlight the “p”s and “b”s with him, and whenever he stuck his tongue out at me – which was promising, it showed me he was aware of this articulator in his mouth and manipulating it – I would stick it back at him and then proceed to babble “la-la.” Meal times were the best to “show” him “how” to babble because he could focus and would have the most opportunity to look intently at my mouth as I used food to entice him.

Finally, I also used bits from the PROMPT method to show him and let him feel how he could make the “b” and “p” sounds, mostly doing it when he was already vocalizing. After 2 months of doing all that, one day last week, when Bry took Benji out, I got a text message: “Your son is babbling. I heard him do “la” and “da.” Always the skeptic, I wanted to make sure what he did not mishear, and asked: “Did you see his tongue and lips move to do that?” Bry replied tersely “yes, I have a video.”

I’ve said this many times, and I’ll say it again: indeed, my husband knows me well. 🙂

Shortly after they returned and I viewed “the evidence,” Benji started going “ba-la-ba” and the Speech-Language Pathologist mom that I am cracked a huge grin and planted kisses everywhere on his face. “Great babbling!! Keep going!!! It is the most beautiful sound in the whole wide world!” I told him. You see, he wasn’t just doing reduplicated babbles, which features just one consonant in a string of babbles (e.g., “bababa”), he was doing variegated ones, a more complex version consisting of more than one consonant (e.g., “balada”). I was ecstatic; I think his speech is where he should be now!! Was it the therapy? Or was it just “his time”? Who cares!?!! He is babbling and that’s all that matters.

About a week after, my heart still melts whenever he starts “talking”. I’m pretty sure his first word will bring tears to my eyes.

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i found a saturday job working @ a nice n well stocked private clinic not too far from where we live. i never thought i’d do early intervention but i think i’m quite open to it now! i also see a couple of kids with autism, which has been awesome.

this last week i’ve been feeling sick. it started with a scratchy throat on tuesday. then the chills on wednesday. when i thought i was getting better on thursday, my nose gave way on fri. and today, after my sat sessions dealing with a couple of the clients who have been sick the last few days, the flu erupted. 😦

i’ll probably have to give church a miss tomorrow. but it’s imperative that i stay home n make sure i’m en route to recovery before starting up another busy week on monday.

anyhow, being sick means i get to spend time in front of my computer. updating my blog, catching up on news, updating my FB status once every other hour, and, most importantly, SHOPPING ONLINE! saw a bag @ banana republic that i REALLY want, and some tops from forever 21 that i would’ve bought if i were in the US of A. oh, i miss shopping in america. ugh.

but, well, i did buy stuff online – two tops from heidiandseek.etsy.com, run by a haley, clothing designer and maker based in melbourne, victoria – i love her OOAK upcycled clothing. and better yet, she has 30% off storewide this weekend only. so go check out her store NOW.

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(one of my favorite tops in her store, only going for USD 70 before 30% discount. but too bad the size L aint gonna fit me, a size 0!!)

YAAAY! I promised to broadcast this piece of news loudly and proudly when I get it so here it is:

My Speech-Language Pathology credentials FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY got approved today! This came 4.5 months after I submitted my application. So I’m ecstatic and SOOOO thankful to God!! For those who do not know, I got my M.A. SLP degree @ San Diego State, but left almost a couple months after graduation to get married in Singapore, and to move to Australia. Because my training was in America, the Australians needed proof that my SLP training was legit and on par with theirs. The wait was frustrating and oftentimes emotionally draining but it’s ALL history now that I got my approval!

What now? This means I can start applying for SLP jobs!!!! It’s been almost eight months since I last did anything SLP related so I’m naturally a little bit nervous about starting up again but better earlier than later, right? I guess I’m gonna get really busy with job applications this week! Thanks also to all of you who have been SO kind and SO supportive over the last few months. Y’all ROCK.

Bry and I are gonna go for a celebration lunch and dinner today. It’s also his birthday week so this piece of news also made for a great (early) birthday gift for him!!!!

The brain is such a fascinating part of the body. Especially the human brain. Shortly after reading part of the book “Musicophilia,” a book about musical hallucinations by the famed neurologist Oliver Sacks, I read this article in the Times about H.M. who basically for almost thirty years of his life was unable to form new memories BUT was able to somewhat remember motoric patterns as seen in scientific experiments conducted with him. Fascinating.

I miss working in healthcare…interacting with patients with aphasia, TBI, all sorts of interesting brain problems…

I so want to start being an SLP.

It’s great that I have so much to do even without a real job. No sarcastic undertones. Really. I cataloged a list of to-dos for today and got this:

– Wash patio (we had a bbq last night…and because *I* insisted on a getting charcoal bbq as opposed to an electric one, we ended up having ashes flying all over and kinda made a mess of the patio. Boo.)

– Tidy up the apartment so I can finally take photos of it

– Finish watching the Sopranos episode so I can exchange it for another disc

– Get through more of the book I am currently reading, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan (excellent, shocking, almost life changing – especially for agricultural idiots like most of us city people – highly recommended)

– Prepare for my Spanish class tomorrow…finish my homework and learn those vocabulary words!

– Paint my next painting

And last but not least…

– Prepare a fake scenario with a patient with swallowing problems for me to treat. Because apparently only CD recordings of my treatment sessions of EVERY job arena an SLP could possibly work in will get Speech Pathology Australia to believe I am competent. Never mind that I graduated from an ASHA credited university. Never mind that I got my Masters. Never mind that I showed them my supervisors attesting that I did over 350 hours of assessments and treatments on real patients. Never mind that I got an GPA of 3.75. Never mind that I turned in multiple case summary reports, treatment planning documents, supervisor evaluations, transcripts, diplomas, and, oh, also TWO CD recordings of Speech, Language, and Voice treatments.

And, oh, apparently I needed to turn in CD recordings of not just Speech and Language therapy, but of Voice, Fluency, Swallowing (yes, for KIDs AND ADULTs) treatment sessions. BUT in the application guide, apparently CD recordings were not always necessary…if I didn’t have them, I could turn in summary reports, intervention reports, as substitutes. Did I also mention that they need supervisor or legal signatories on EVERY SINGLE DOCUMENT I turn in to prove its authenticity? Even a treatment session PLAN has to be signed by a former supervisor. Which again in their application guidelines was not all clear. It just said I needed to sign a cover letter promising that all the work was done by me. Yep, they’re afraid I stole or plagiarized the stuff.

As you can tell, I am highly bitter with the board. But, whatever. I will do that CD recording with the help of probably Bryan as the fake adult (and possibly child) patient and I WILL get that friggin’ licensure, hopefully by January 2009. All this work for a meager 50K (at most)-a-year job.

*Deep breath in and out* Okay, that is enough of my soapbox for today. This blog is supposed to contain a more cheerful tone than that…

For now, I’m enjoying my nice cup of coffee and toasted slice of sourdough bread on a beautiful Monday morning in Melbourne. And feeling thankful for having another day to receive all the blessings from God and to be a blessing to those around me.