Tag Archives: Texas Hill Country

Speaking of Swimming – Capturing Language Opportunities at the Swimming Pool

Well, it’s April, which means it’s officially summer (at least here in the Texas Hill Country, that is).  Here summer lasts, oh, about 7 months.  We don’t really know what spring or fall are.

So last week we found ourselves at the swimming pool.  Noah (7 – with Down syndrome) loves the water, and it seems to really open the door to speech to have him in the water.  This apraxia thing is a real booger.  The more he concentrates, the harder he tries, the more his speech falls apart, it seems.  So to have him engrossed in the water creates enough of a distraction that we often get good speech production.

In the water with Noah, I captured every speech opportunity I could, and I want to share some of that with you.

I have 3 Littles who are not swimming independently yet, so I lined them up on the side of the pool while the 3 Middles played in the water in the middle of the pool.

First I had the Littles kick with their feet in the water.  I gave each of them a turn to say “kick” whereupon they would commence to kicking and then “stop” when they would all stop.  A great thing about kids – they don’t demand perfect enunciation or pronunciation.  Noah just had to attempt to say kick or stop, and the others performed on cue.  Very powerful stuff for a little boy who is still deciding just how important speech is to him.

Then it was Noah’s turn to come into the pool.  He practiced signing and saying “I want in water.”  (I said most of those words along with him.)

Once we were in the water, he was happy to say “water” when I asked him what we were in.  He also said “go” to get me to move.  We worked on blowing bubbles in the water, which he loved so much, he was happy to practice saying “more bubbles.”  For this, I asked him, “Do you want more bubbles?”  He said “yes”, and I told him, “Then say more bubbles.” And on cue he said, “More bubbles.”

He gets mighty bold and likes to show off in the water, so I took advantage of this by having him call out to his siblings by name.

When he did something well, I cued him to say “Yay.”

Noah likes me to hold him close in the pool, so although I would push him to kick and paddle with a little distance between the two of us, when I was ready to pull him closer, I verbally prompted him to say, “Hold me.”

Then when it was time to get out and let another Little have a turn, I prompted Noah to say “out.”

When his turn came around again, Noah practiced phrases like “My turn” and “I want in.”

Best case scenario, Noah would be working with a speech therapist in the water.  Next best thing – that would be me.  🙂

How about you?  Are you finding good opportunities for speech sessions in unusual settings?



A New Option for Adults With Special Needs in Dripping Springs, Texas

I am so jazzed about this program and have been since I first heard of it a few months ago.


I don’t have all the details, but if you live in the Austin/Wimberley/Dripping Springs area, I highly recommend you check this out.

From the www.friendshipsforlife.org website:  “With support from Friendships for Life, our Friends will participate in a new world where they will continue to learn employment skills, communication skills, how to develop friendships and adult living skills in order to build their greatest degree of independence.’ 

“Our main goal is to help our members of FFL find a path where they are able to serve their community. Each path is different, and each path requires educating not only the person themselves, but also those they come in contact with in order to help them achieve their goals.”

This group of adults with special needs meets four days a week to engage in all kinds of activities, from grocery shopping to going to the movies to serving in the local food bank.  I had heard about them from a mom of one of the participants, and then I ran into them at the grocery store.  And then I heard more about them from another mom.  And then I ran into them at the library.  They are having such a blast!  Their motto?  “I learn, I serve, I dream, I can!”  A great motto for all of us, don’tcha think?

From their website, it looks like Friendships for Life based out of Church of the Springs has big, big plans for Dripping Springs, fostering a community where people from all abilities come together to work, to play, to serve and to support each other.  We won’t be waiting until Noah (7 with Down syndrome) grows up to get involved with this group.  I’m not sure what we’ll be able to do yet, but whatever it is, I can’t wait!

Is this a great time to be parenting a child with special needs in Texas or what?

When Life Hands You a Dip, Throw Your Hands Up and Enjoy the Ride


Nope, not a post on a spacy child.

Fifteen years ago, I followed a friend of mine out to the Texas Hill Country. I was a single mom wanting to raise my child out in the country; she was a wife and mom of four moving to help take care of aging grandparents. She taught me a lot about family, and she just happened to be the most fun person I had ever met. She had a knack for turning the details of life that we often overlook into experiences that I never forgot. You could often find us with a van full of kids (hers and mine) exploring the back roads of our quaint little village. Every sighting was a story, and every dip was an adventure.

Yes, every dip was an adventure.

Being that we were in the Texas Hill Country, we encountered dips in the road many times. The best ones we would speed up, drive over, and then turn around and do it again.

My children have endured many long drives out to our new house that we continue to prep for move in. Fortunately, there just happens to be a pretty dramatic dip on the way there that has prompted yells of “speed up” on every journey. So I floor the gas pedal to about 70 MPH and we set a’sailing. The kids throw their hands up and milk the experience for all it’s worth. I love that.

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” – James 1:17

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Who needs Six Flags anyway?

What are some ways you turn the ordinary into the extraordinary?