Hard to believe, but Hannah's busy schedule just got even busier. Michael and I decided to switch her speech therapy to New York Eye & Ear (NYEE) from The Clarke School. There were several reasons for the switch, but mostly because Hannah's therapy sessions at NYEE are now an hour long from a half an hour and her audiologist Megan and Dr. Alexiades also are a part of NYEE. I like the team approach. Her speech therapist at NYEE is Liz and she comes with over 40-years experience working with hard of hearing kiddos. When she first greeted Hannah on our first day, she said to Hannah, "Let's go to work" I felt we were in great hands that will help Hannah learned how to listen, hear and speak.
So now her schedule is Monday and Wednesday from 9-10 am with Jessica at CHC, Tuesday from 10-11 am and Thursday from 9-10 am with Liz at NYEE and Fridays mornings from 9-10 we continue at The Clarke School for group therapy with Sara and Cassie. Both Jessica and Liz are really special and amazing for Hannah. They both take cues from Hannah's playing and gear the session to what Hannah is saying or doing. It amazes me each time how simple toys like a push-toy with balls can spur so many words.
The tumble and twirl toy below is one of Hannah's newer favorites. A fun, colorful toy like this will teach Hannah words like "push", "stop", "eyes", "butterfly", "wee" "open", "shut", "ball", "in", "out", "up" and "down" as well as some colors and numbers.
Today, during our session with Liz, Hannah explored a range of vocalizations (al, lala, jaja, mmm) when paired with play routines. She primarily responses to low frequency sounds like banging, but it is our hopes this will change and Hannah will also hear the high frequency sounds like Ssss so she can say her big brother Sam's name. One of our goals is to pair changes in the duration and syllable number to everyday routines so Hannah can understand the differences in rhythm. Another goal is to wait for any type of vocalization from Hannah so she displays her intentions for a desired actions like picking up something that has fallen.
On our second visit with Liz Hannah seemed to comprehend the word "bang". Liz hid a number of toys, including Sophie, the beloved giraffe, Pluto the dog, a baby doll, a ship, a ball and a cow into a vintage (1979) Fisher Price drum. Liz would help Hannah open the drum and Hannah picked out which toy interested her. Liz assigned a sound, bark for the dog, LaLa for the giraffe and so on. In between each toy, Liz would shout out, "Bang, Bang Bang" and would bang on the drum and Hannah copied. On about the third or fourth toy reveal, Liz said bang bang bang and Hannah switch gears and went back to the drum and banged on it. It was pretty cool.
Vintage toy drum used in today's session with Liz available on Etsy.com
Hannah has always had a very long attention span and it really is amazing to see her so focused during these hour-long sessions. I don't think my high school or college classes were an hour and I do remember watching the clock on several occasions (especially during math classes) and wondering when the bell will ring. She can play with a single toy for about a half an hour before she gets bored and want to move on to something else.
I never expected to spend my first year as a new mom taking my baby to speech therapy each morning. There are some early mornings when I just want to sleep in and put the covers over me. But these next few years are so critical for Hannah's speech and language development, I wouldn't think of missing a day. I am and will always be thankful we live in New York City where Hannah receives the best care - we see the best therapists, audiologists and doctors and have every opportunity to succeed.