Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Speech Therapy

Today Anthony had his first appointment with his new speech therapist at the Artz Center.  We love this place-- Anthony has gone there for occupational therapy-- everyone at the Artz Center is so enthusiastic and positive.  We had been wrangling with our insurance company to get coverage for speech therapy for months.  It turns out that our policy specifically excludes speech therapy services for children with Down syndrome.  That's right- a child of the same age as Anthony, who is delayed in speech, would be eligible for services...as long as he didn't have Down syndrome.  That seemed discriminatory to us- as if they were writing him off as a hopeless case, someone who could not benefit from therapy, just because he has a disability.  And the policy is through my job, which is at a university hospital that has a Down syndrome clinic, whose staff refers kids with Down syndrome to the Artz Center for speech therapy! 

That made Mommy mad.  And you don't want to make Mommy mad.

After many calls and emails, and the help of the staff at Artz, we were finally victorious!  I received an email from the benefits office at my job saying Aetna had changed the policy and they were going to cover Anthony's speech therapy!


Paul and I were both able to attend today's appointment. We liked Juli, Anthony's therapist, right away.  She gave Anthony a chance to warm up to her and before long he was smiling and flirting with her.  She was very encouraging about Anthony's attempts to communicate.  Juli explained that our focus right now should be on encouraging him to vocalize more, and to treat any vocalizations as an attempt to communicate.  She said that before kids say their first words, they spend months babbling all the time.  Anthony does babble, but we want to increase it and to teach him that when he vocalizes he can make things happen. 

(Juli noted that Anthony likes to make things happen.)

This is our homework for the next 2 weeks:
1) Imitate Anthony
2) Treat any vocaliztion as an intent to communicate
3) Pair vocalizations with a physical movement (for example, when throwing a ball say "Ready, set... and then WAIT until HE vocalizes, and then say "Go!" and throw the ball). This teaches him that he can have an effect on his environment using his "words".

We learned a lot in our first session and look forward to helping our little guy improve his communication skills!

1 comment:

  1. Seems like another success story due to that Carson perseverance and determination. I'll be looking forward to Anthony telling us all about class before long.