I think I knew this already, i’ve always been hugely passionate about education, in every sense of the word, but certainly after embarking upon our Joanne Jones Journey (The Early years Development Coach) I have gained so much knowledge and understanding for Austin and Rory’s world that it has actually changed mine completely.
You can read about our Joanne Jones journey so far, by following the below links. How we found found Joanne and all about her programmes here! And then all about our first video consultation and the LIVE Q&A sessions that mummy took part in here!
Since then, Mummy has taken part in two more Live Q&A sessions online, one about dummy use and bottle drinkers and the other headlined ‘HELP, my child is in their own world and doesn’t not respond to their name’ both of which I found extremely helpful.
Joanne Jones is so knowledgeable and I find myself writing down all of the important bits, either to share with Ash, pre-school, Rory’s nurse, or to turn into ‘to-do’s’ because she is also full of techniques and handy tips too. Not only does she analyse your child’s behaviour, she gives you the knowledge as a parent to allow you to understand your child’s behaviours and then the techniques to support them in their development.
I will never forget the day that the nurse in Neonatal Intensive Care phoned me in the middle of the night to ask if they could give Austin a dummy. I had planned on trying to go without them, however the nurse explained that there were so many reasons why a dummy is good for premature babies; it helps to stimulate the sucking reflex in babies who are tube fed, it helps with digestion, it helps to prevent oxygen from escaping through the mouth and it helps to support that basic instinct of sucking that full term babies are born with. For all of these reasons, I said yes and then rang back up ten minutes later and changed my mine, only to change it again, after all it wasn’t about me, it was about them and they needed it.
They have never really been attached to them, we have always given them around milk feeds as it helped with their severe reflux. To be honest, we haven’t properly ever tried to get rid of them, they have them at night but they leave them upstairs in their bedroom and they aren’t too fussed and I didn’t really see a problem with that, however, after taking part in Joannes LIVE session, I now realise that even though they have their dummy for a few hours at night time, they are still reinforcing those ‘bad’ muscles that can impact on their speech. She explained that it was like going to the gym. As long as those muscles are still getting a little work out they may continue to hinder speech development. However she recognised that some children have dummies and bottles well into their infant years and it doesn’t effect their speech, however many do find that they struggle and this is a factor worth considering.
In the second LIVE that i took part in, I learned that most children who do not respond to their adults, don’t respond to their own name and appear to be in their own world are often choosing to behave in that way because it is their coping mechanism. I had never thought about it like that. Rory is so consistent and I genuinely thought he was deaf at one point. She explained it as a demand/avoidance cycle and that if you have a child who finds communication difficult (of course Rory does with his tracheostomy tube) then when a language demand is placed on him ‘hello Rory’ ‘Rory would you like to play?’ ‘is it good Rory?’ ‘Are you ok Rory?’ then he will avoid and it very quickly becomes a technique that helps him avoid the language demand. It becomes his safe zone. This small piece of information made so much sense and really gave us a different perspective from inside Rory’s mind.
Aside from picking up snippets of helpful knowledge and handy tips, I created a bit of a display in the playroom with all of those handy tips and techniques so that not only is it a handy reminder for me and Ash when playing with the boys in their playroom but also, to help Nannie, Grandad and any one else who comes to play, to understand the boys a little more and to help them get the best from them whilst supporting them to learn the art of communication, their way.
We are now 3 weeks into the programme and I can honestly say that we are seeing so many gains from both boys. Here are a few;
- Rory acknowledging and taking an interest in other peoples play
- Rory responding to familiar songs and rhymes and doing some actions
- Rory following some simple instructions
- Rory playing alongside other children more often
- Rory making a choice by touching the object, making eye contact (which has increased hugely) and sometimes making sound.
- Austin using language lots more frequently
- Austin using more than one word together to convey meaning
- Austin seems more confident using language, even when a demand is placed on him’ would you like a biscuit?’ ‘yes’ ‘yes…’ ‘yes pwz’ bless him. He is trying so hard with his sounds.
- Austin has an appointment next week regarding a possibly tongue-tie which may be causing some of these issues with communication and feeding.
There are other contributing factors which may have helped this progress, such as the protocol we are following, stopping Rory’s medicines and taking on alternative / natural therapies but for certain, the knowledge, understanding and techniques gained from the programme so far, have made a huge difference to our world!
Check out Joanne Jones by following this link here! You can also find her on facebook.
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