HOW WE HELP
Our 7th child seemed to have trouble with nursing. He didn’t gain weight, even though it looked like he was nursing normally, and we had visited a number of lactation consultants. We were eventually able to keep his weight up with pumping and dropper feeding and finally realized that he didn’t know how to make suction with his tongue. A DO who specializes in infant Occupational Therapy related to nursing was able to help him and our son was, at last, able to keep his weight up at about 2 months of age.
He then continued to need lots of time to eat and nursed very slowly. He was a bit late on many large motor milestones. As he grew he had no interest in books or videos (I thought it was because he was more interested in real things and people), this was quite different than his other 6 siblings at similar ages. He also never babbled or tried syllables, though he would sing the notes to the entire Hallelujah Chorus before he was a year old.
Once he reached 18 months, and still wasn’t trying to say “Ma ma” or “Da da”, our doctor suggested we get a speech evaluation at the children’s hospital. The speech therapist said there were definite gaps in what they would expect our son to understand, and said he was exhibiting apraxia or dyspraxia or had motor planning problems. We began to be more concerned about him.
Thankfully we knew a family who, when their son had some developmental delays, had found Cyndi Ringeon and her program. We scheduled an evaluation. We were a bit over whelmed to realize that some of the things we thought were just his interesting personality (not liking books, singing all the time, liking to run in circles, not talking) were really sensory issues. She was able to discover that his peripheral vision was too strong and his central macular vision wasn’t strong enough, hence the lack of interest in videos and books.
She noticed that while he had good tactility, he was very hyposensitive to deep pressure (you could squeeze his arm or leg very tightly and it didn’t bother him.) She explained how his love to run in circles and sing could be “stimming” (stimulation play.) She said his mouth sensitivity was very low – that he was weak in his whole mouth area and didn’t feel much of what he should. It all made sense, in retrospect, but still was a shock to realize all he was dealing with.
We began to implement the program she gave us, having his oldest 4 siblings help significantly with his daily exercises. We were amazed with his progress. By his 2nd birthday, he was able to easily and efficiently blow out both candles on his cake (blowing bubbles and horns were on his program of activities, among many other things, to help strengthen and sensitize his mouth.) It felt like a family victory!
We participated in evaluations every 4 months and implemented the new programs Cyndi designed for us, and by his 3rd birthday we were done! He was talking up a storm (long sentences with good pronunciation), thoroughly enjoying books and videos (and able to concentrate on a big stack of books all by himself), jumping easily with both legs, running maturely, and delightedly able to cross march backwards (marching while slapping the opposite knee with the opposite hand.) He had such delight in his accomplishments.
We had begun speech therapy at the hospital when he was first evaluated at 18 months. We continued to go every other week while on the program just as a check on our progress and for tips as our Speech Therapist there was very supportive of the neurodevelopmental approach we were taking with Cyndi’s program. She wound up being so amazed with our son’s progress that she had her child evaluated by Cyndi as well.
My husband and I are so thankful we were introduced to this option so early in our son’s life. From what the hospital therapist had said, she would have expected him to have years of therapy there before he would be talking fluidly. The joy and confidence he has in his accomplishments is priceless. It is hard to imagine how frustrated he would have become if he were not able to communicate so well at this stage.
We are so glad we were able to work on his vision issues before they became a real challenge in his age appropriate academic learning. He is not only performing at grade level, but in most areas Cyndi said he was performing at kindergarten level at his last evaluation, at 36 months. What a privilege to be able to efficiently help “rewire” and normalize his sensory issues before they affected so much more of his life.