Wednesday, 1 May 2013

What therapies does Maria need?

Fairy Isabella
Some say that 'familiarity breeds contempt' but I'd use the word 'impatience'. Impatience is the biggest barrier when communicating with your loved ones, making it difficult to play the role of teacher as well as parent. For that reason I feel we need professionals to help Maria. 

First, a good school teacher who can sign in Makaton is a great starting point; someone who has a rapport with Maria and can implement a national curriculum and instructions from a therapist. There are several therapists encouraging Maria to concentrate and verbalize:

1. a Speech & Language Therapist to help Maria articulate and form expressive language.
2. an Occupational Therapist to help Maria with fine motor skills and attention to tasks; the therapist believes that attention is enhanced following a period of exercise.
3. a Music Therapist to encourage Maria to articulate words through the melody and rhythm of music and song. This method draws on Maria's love of music and movement. I've asked the therapist to look into applying a method similar to Melodic Intonation Therapy, which should help with articulation. The method is not well-known here in the UK so I've supplied our therapist with papers I found referenced in the Wikipedia article.

For now, Maria is learning Makaton but I'd prefer BSL instead. That's why I'm learning BSL myself and encouraging Maria to watch BSL videos at home. Signing is Maria's primary expressive language and her safety net; currently speech supplements her signing but there is growing evidence that it will soon overtake her need to sign.

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