We have been working so hard on Fiona’s articulation in the past several months. But even after having Fiona listen and pronounce a sound or word over and over again she still can’t grasp it. She replaces two consonants “n” and “h” for other consonants that she struggles with. Examples: playground (hup-pah), diaper (hud-yah), pretzel (hubble), turn (hunch), I love you (I nuh noo). She can pronounce a “p” but usually at the middle or end of a word/sound and never at the beginning.
Fiona’s Auditory Verbal therapist recommended that we schedule an evaluation with Sharon Wexler at the Institute of Myofunctional Studies. Sharon specializes in oral/motor/articulation therapy. Which basically takes a look at the mouth muscles to see what’s going on. Fiona and I met with Sharon this morning. She was fantastic and even met with us for 3 hours. It was a very interesting discussion and she was very thorough in identifying and explaining everything to me.
Sharon believes that Fiona has dysarthria which is a condition in which the muscles you use for speech are weak or you have difficulty controlling them. Fiona has a reverse swallow (tongue thrust) and not much lateral (horizontal) movement in her tongue. This also could be a reason why Fiona used to choke on her food often. She isn’t using her tongue muscles correctly in regards to eating and speaking.
Fiona could possibly have apraxia as well but we won’t know that until later on. I’m not going to even touch that since we aren’t sure if she even has it. But if you are interested in learning more I’ll share this link.
So it totally explains why Fiona uses the “n” and “h” sound to replace consonants. Sharon explained that these two consonants don’t require much tongue strength at all. It also explains why Fiona has a difficult time pronouncing certain sounds.
Fiona will start going to The Institute of Myofunctional Studies for 30 minutes a week. She will continue with AV therapy for an hour a week at AVC. At TIOMS she will practice strengthening her oral/motor/mouth muscles and also work on articulation. Sharon’s goal is to have Fiona pronouncing all English sounds correctly before Kindergarten. We will work on the intelligibility of Fiona’s speech first. Then we will work on her swallow pattern later on.
Sharon doesn’t seem concerned with Fiona’s speech in the long run. This is just another step we need to take to get Fiona where she needs to be.
Our new daily/hourly motto is “Fiona will get there.”