Sometimes you just don’t get the truck dog.

Sometimes you just don’t get the truck dog…

 Over the weekend I met up with some old friends in New York City.  It had been just about ten years since we all saw one another. It was great to re-connect and to catch up…..time sure does go faster than you think.  Me and Greg…Chris and her husband spent many weekend summers together following college graduation…and as time passed and life became busier…we watched our children grow through our Christmas card exchanges…not through our visits.  And despite the fact that so much time has passed..we will forever be connected in some way.  Always remembering what brought us together…and what will keep us connected: friendship.


Chris reminded me of something my husband Greg once said..(I have a vague memory of him saying this)…however, I keep repeating it in my head & applying it to my daily challenges of work…life…family…children….&  trying to keep the balance between it all.  I guess also to accept what is…and to move forward…to keep moving despite the challenge and to accept what I can not change.


“Sometimes you just don’t get the truck dog”

Truck Dogloves the truck, sits with enthusiasm next to his master in the truck-tongue hanging out, gets excited and starts wagging his tail just at the sound of keys jingling-he knows its time to take a ride, cries and whimpers when he gets out of the truck, & he always jumps right into the truck without anticipation.

Not the Truck Doghates the truck, sits on the floor of the truck and vomits the entire car ride, hears the sound of keys jingling and looks for refuge in your house, cries and whimpers when he has to get into the truck, has to be dragged, pulled and carried to get into the truck~you sometimes even need the muzzle because he nips at you.


I applied my husband’s words of wisdom the other day when I watched my Gregory strike out four times and miss every ball in the field…ugh..why him…why can’t he hit the ball (not for me)…but for him.  And when I worry about my Andrew…that maybe he is too tiny for a boy his age…and will he struggle with that?  Will he worry?  Will he be upset?  Will kids bully him…make fun of him?  And I should have applied it when my oldest was broken-hearted for weeks…not able to function due to the incredible loss he felt…or when my Katie…last year not making a team she tried out for.

And by no means am I equating my children to a dog…I am equating the actual experience of not getting what was expected…feeling disappointed because the plans you had…what you expected to be..was not.  Equating this to not getting the truck dog…not getting what you expected…but still accepting it…ah!…yes…that was the key…accepting the unexpected…….


Sometimes you just don’t get the truck dog (that’s the type of dog Greg always wanted)..and prior to getting married we adopted Bo….she was a disaster of a dog.  She was hard to control…she barked all of the time…rarely listened….was horrible around company….had epilepsy…took seizure medication…and hated…hated the car…she threw up in the car…she really H A T E D the car.  Greg did not for sure..hands down….get his truck dog.


But we loved Bo


She was our first baby

We adjusted and made accommodations when we had to bring her in the car

She loved us

We loved her

We sobbed when she died right before Zach was born

We sobbed for weeks after she died

We loved Bo

And Bo loved us



Just like Greg not getting the dog he always wanted…the truck dog.  Sometimes in life we don’t get the truck dog…but we still push forward…we embrace what we have been given…we are grateful for what we have…and thankful for the path we were asked to follow.   Sometimes you just don’t get the truck dog~so now I will apply these words to many of the expectations I have for my kids..maybe my goals for them…things I hope for them.   And I will know that they may not always get what they wanted…  But I will know that it is about embracing and accepting the unexpected.


The unconditional love we have for our children…the no matter what feeling you have for them…the no matter what life brings you feeling….no matter the challenge…no matter what God presents to you….you keep moving forward….you just keep swimming.

Because even if you do not get your truck dog…when it comes to any component of your life….it’s still your dog…and you love it/her/him unconditionally…and even if your expectation was not what life presented to you…it’s still your dog…despite not being a truck dog.


And not having the truck dog + things not working out as you planned-I guess have the same meaning for me.  And I know that what you had planned and what was planned for you are often two different things.  And sometimes you may not realize why you are on the path you are on and why what was meant to be was meant to be…until you actually get where you are meant to be and realize the why.  Even when it’s not your truck dog.




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Zach Marino playing some Rush

Be sure to click on the link above to see my Zach playing some Rush…pretty cool and incredible..taught himself this song in about two days!

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How to teach straw drinking…and amazing Mary!

speech8915 copy speech8916 copy (1) speech8922-2 copy



Thank you to Mary’s mama for allowing me to post these great pictures.  Mary is an amazing little girl…and I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with her and her great family.  When teaching straw drinking…I start off with the Honey Bear straw cup as seen above.  What is incredible about Mary is that when presented with the Honey Bear cup…on the very first presentation she was able to draw the liquid up the straw….at five months of age only….I am amazed.  Thanks again to Mary’s mama for allowing me to share…when Mary is able to drink four ounces from this cup on her own…we will then move to the first straw in the straw hierarchy.

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Thanks to my new friend Ashley…from across the US

Although this contest is over..I wanted to thank my friend Ashley for posting the blog post below on her site…be sure to visit her blog…I am so glad we got connected via the internet and blogging.

Play 2 Learn- The Speech Mama

When I first found out that Eli was going to come to us with Ds, I immediately dove into researching and trying to build networks and connections. It has been an invaluable part of our journey- all the friends we have made, the support system we have created and the awesome information that is out there.
One of the wonderful people God connected us with was my friend Kim, over at The Speech Mama. She is an SLP who is making a difference one blog post at a time. The information she posts on the site has been like my Bible.
I really feel all parents with any speech concerns would benefit from her site, it’s just so good.

Right now she is in the middle of revamping her Ds specific speech posts. The new info she is posting has been informative and helpful in guiding our future decisions with our speech journey. What I love most about her approach is the research behind it and that it always supports what our SLP is doing with Eli.

Check out her posts- they are worth more than a glance. Especially if you aren’t getting any speech services currently- she has great ideas to help children of all ages and abilities.

One of the neat things her site offers is the app she developed specifically for sound and listening.
Play 2 Learn– What Sound? is a fun and educational game that teaches your child to discriminate one sound from another.

I bought the app not too long ago. Eli really enjoys learning new sounds and associating them with images. I haven’t had much luck with sound or speech specific apps until I found Kim’s.

So what does that all mean for you? Well firs you should go check out Kim’s website- The Speech Mama. Second, it’s my second blog giveaway!! 🙂 Kim has graciously offered to give away FIVE FREE PLAY 2 LEARN APP CODES! Awesome, huh?

To enter, please comment with your name + email address. I will use to select five winners.
Contest ends 5/20/13- Winner announced the morning of 5/21/13! Good luck and happy researching at The Speech Mama

Congrats to Leah, Stephanie, Sheri, Diane and Cheryl! I will get the app code sent out to you very soon! 🙂 Please make sure you left your email address in the comments so I can email it to you!

A BIG thank you to Kim for making this giveaway possible! You rock, girl! 🙂

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Thanks iMums!


Play 2 Learn  – Review and Giveaway


Reviewed by Grace

Play 2 Learn by Speech2teach is a straightforward sound and picture matching app for practicing listening and auditory discrimination skills.   Close to 90 pairs of sound and corresponding pictures of  everyday items and occurrences are included in this app.  For the purpose of this review, this iPhone app was played on an iPad using the 2x mode.

This app is easy to play.   To start, tap the ‘Play’ button to hear the sound to be matched and ask your child to find the corresponding picture out of the nine shown in a deck.  To listen to the sound again, just tap the ‘Repeat’ button.  If your child gets it right, he will be rewarded with an audio reinforcement and see the picture being enlarged.  You then tap the ‘Play’ button again to proceed to the next sound.   If the wrong picture was chosen, a muted audio feedback will be heard and your child will have to try again.

Pictures are randomly shown in a deck but you can add some challenging fun by shuffling the 9 pictures in a deck during play or even shuffle all the pictures in a deck.  Some sounds are rather similar and your child may need your help to discriminate one sound from another.   It would be helpful if you point out the sounds that your child hears on a daily basis to sharpen his listening and observation skills.

Overall, Play 2 Learn is a useful app for exercising auditory discrimination skills and for learning the sounds that are made by different animals, objects and daily occurrences which our children (and ourselves too) may take for granted.

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A Sensory-Motor Approach to Feeding

Thanks to Lori Overland for sharing this article with me.  In my search for more information regarding the pre-feeding exercises…specific to children with Down Syndrome…I found this article very informative.

 The Goal of the pre-feeding program is to develop the motor skills for feeding.  Following task analysis/evaluation of the sensory and motor systems, the clinician designs a program to help the child develop skills needed to support safe, nutritive feeding (Overland, 2010).



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Motivating your child with Down Syndrome to talk

Thanks Jen at for letting me post this.  Jen is a great resource and has helped me so much in my journey as an SLP.  We just met via the web a few months ago…but I have already learned so much from her site.  Please read her blog post below and be sure to go to her site.

Motivating your child with Down syndrome to talk

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Children need motivation. Especially children with Down syndrome who have speech or language disorders. Internal motivation is difficult enough for those of us without language-learning difficulties. This is why support groups for dieters are so successful. How do we encourage or motivate a child with Down syndrome to talk more? How can we help them make  that connection:  I want you to talk + you just talked = more talking

Imagine you are a child with DS. You understand more than people think you do. You get frustrated because it is so difficult to let them know what, how, and why you are feeling a certain way. People are always correcting you – your parents, siblings, teachers and therapists. You are told “No” frequently. So you become resourceful. You use behavior – your body, voice, or facial expressions to get you message across. You prefer to play alone your way than to interact with those who don’t understand you. Are you really motivated to communicate more?

Waiting for your child to learn to talk can be torture. You think, “If only he would talk! Then he wouldn’t get so frustrated.” And you are frustrated (mixed with sad). The good news is there are three things you can do to help your child. These techniques are borrowed from my colleagues in psychology and set the foundation for positive interaction with your little one.

First, I want you to pick a routine or activity during the day when you spend 1:1 time with your child that is also enjoyable for them. Is it bath-time? Playing with cars? Going on a walk? Choose something you can do together. During this time you are going to focus on three key words: praise, paraphrase, and point out. In psychology they call this “the 3 P’s.”

  • Praise – Probably the most common thing parents do, but I want you to change it up a bit. Be very specific with your praise. This is also known as “labeled praise.” Point out the behaviors you like: “I like it when you use your words,” “Good job signing,” “Nice job showing me what you wanted!”
  • Paraphrase – This is when you reflect or repeat back statements. In language therapy we use this to affirm the child’s attempts to communicate with words. For instance: Your child is playing with a car and says, “Beep-beep!” You say, “Beep-beep!” and push the car. Your child says, “My pizza.” You state, “You do have pizza. Yum!”
  • *Point Out – This is when you state exactly what your child is doing. You are like a sports announcer giving play-by-play feedback. For example: “You are feeding your baby doll. You are putting the spoon on her lips. Now you are giving her a drink. You gave her the bottle!”

Use these three techniques during your routine with the most time spent on praising and paraphrasing. *Pointing out is helpful, but too much came be overload for the child with DS. Make sure you are giving him “equal air time” by waiting for responses during a period of silence. If you have a hard time being quiet after pointing out, count to 10 silently in your head. Children with DS typically respond when given increased time to listen and process what’s being said.

There are also things to avoid during this activity time. You won’t eliminate them from your life – just during the routine we talked about above.

  • Questions – American parents ask TONS of questions. All the time. Set a timer if you need to. Try 2 minutes, no questions, and work your way up to 10-15 minutes. You willfail at first, so don’t beat yourself up. Try again. It’s easier to think about switching out questions with “pointing out” than, “Don’t ask questions…don’t ask questions…”
  • Avoid commands – let the activity or routine flow on its own. Let your child lead and observe how they communicate with you. Do they use words or do they pull you by the hand, point, or gesture? Gently guide them back into the routine if they quickly lose interest – or see what they are moving on to – the activity the choose themselves may be more motivating to talk about.
  • Avoid negative talk – this include statements like “no,” “stop it,” “quit,” or “don’t do that.” Unless the child is doing something harmful to himself or others – let the mistake go
  • Avoid distractions – Turn off your phone for 10-15 minutes. Don’t check email or Facebook. Protect your time. It will be easier for both of you to focus.

Children with Down syndrome are usually motivated by social interaction. Using the 3 P’s will increase the quality of communication during your routines. Your child will notice the way you are positively interacting with him and his motivation to communicate with you will increase.

More resources on the 3 P’s and active listening:

How to use labeled praise 

Don’t be afraid to praise

What to do when you’re waiting

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Sound development chart specific to diphthongs…

Thank you to Caroline Bowen for helping me once again…following my tweet on Twitter:


My Tweet:

Does anyone have a sound development chart specific to the diphthongs?


From Caroline:

No available.  Vowel/diphthong/triphthong errors drop to 0-4% @ 35 months (Pollock & Berni, 2003)

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Best apps for kids



Play To Learn: What Sound? is a fun game that teaches your child to discriminate one sound from another.  Being able to match a sound and the corresponding picture addresses your child’s auditory discrimination skills-this means your child’s ability to understand the differences between sounds and the ability to discriminate one sound from another.  This motivating game will help to improve your child’s ability to discriminate the sounds in English, which will help speech development as well as literacy skills.  The vibrant pictures and stimulating sounds provide a motivating activity so that your child will learn as they play.





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A favorite speech therapy toy for toddlers and preschoolers

LeapFrog Shapes And Sharing Picnic Basket

There is so much I love about this toy.  I can work on following simple directives.  For example when you push the butterfly button and your little one will hear a simple directive she needs to follow such as: put the green cup in the purple one.  Great for working on shapes, colors, matching and sorting.  A new fave of mine!

Product Description

From the Manufacturer

Set a space for fun, learning and sharing. The Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket helps little learners explore shapes, colors/colours, manners and more. Over 30 audio responses encourage pretend play, and the 14-piece set helps children build motor skills as they sort, match, stack, empty and fill. Parents can connect to the online LeapFrog Learning Path for customized learning insights and ideas to expand the learning. Appropriate for children ages 6 to 36 months.




suv covers

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