Victoria's story - oral motor therapy experience
We have been back in Australia for two months now, after travelling to America for a form of therapy to help Victoria learn to chew, use her mouth more and to strengthen the muscles in her mouth which aids in speech development.
Victoria is 7 years old, classed as non verbal, struggled to chew food items, she would mush them in her mouth with her tongue, drool a lot and only had very few words.
The therapy we fundraised for is called oral motor therapy and we traveled to Maitland, Florida to Ms Debra Beckman at Beckman and Associates. We set a date that we wanted to go by, set a goal for the cost and started fundraising. It took us 8 months to raise $28,000 to help pay for the therapy trip, we started therapy on the 1st December 2014 at 8:30am.
Jason, Victoria and I arrived to the therapy, started chatting with Ms Debra about our goals, where Victoria was and what we could do to help get things happening for her. Ms Debra showed us the exercises, we worked through some speech therapy and we went on our way, we did the therapy for 3 weeks, 2 hours a day. We did the exercises, got Victoria used to the therapy tools and tried our best not to be skeptical about the exercises we were shown. By day 3, we saw the changes in Victoria, the first one was her bottom lip was out, looking like a real lip and her words she did have were so much clearer. By the end of the 3 weeks, Victoria had so much more confidence, she wanted to talk to you more and say things she never would try before hand.
Since returning to Melbourne, Victoria can now say so many different words, being clearer with them, doesn’t drool as much, her lip is out most of the time and she can chew food that she could never chew before. We continue every single day with the therapy exercises, 3 times a day, we know this is a long process and Victoria won’t just talk from the 3 weeks of therapy.
Traveling to see Ms Debra has given us the tools to help Victoria to start this new journey, we feel for us and Victoria it was the right thing to do and we are very glad we did it and so grateful to everyone who helped us raise the funds to help pay for it, as well as grateful to Ms Debra who has given us hope that Victoria will talk and she will be able to eat the same food as us.
Heidi Johnston – 2015