Therapy Routines

It’s Thursday!!!

Today is also the last day of our Second Annual Road Trip!  This morning, we’re packing things up and heading home.  Another great adventure in the books!!

Over the last few months, I’ve been posting our family’s different ROUTINES.  First, I shared with you our MORNING ROUTINE and then, I shared with you our BEDTIME ROUTINE, so today, I’m sharing our THERAPY ROUTINES!

Madeley playing Go Fish as a part of her speech “homework”.

Both of my littles are different therapies.  Ashby has been home 4.5 years and has been in speech therapy over 3.5 years.  Madeley has been home almost three years and has been in speech almost two years.  Both girls see the same speech language pathologist once a week and LOVE her.  Oh my goodness, I could write an entire post on just how much we adore Ms. Nikki because she is not only a SLP, she’s their friend.  Remember this…

…that’s Ashby’s 5th birthday party and Ms. Nikki is right there in the pic because Ashby had to have her as a guest at her party.  Ms. Nikki has been to more parties, stopped by and watched more of my kids’ sports, made her way through more crowds at parades and more just to give my kids hugs outside of therapy.  They adore her…

…I always adore that their daily homework we do is always FUN and most of the time, involves other people (so the girls really never feel singled out).  All of the practice work we do during the week (to build on what they worked on during therapy) involves coloring, games like Tic Tac Toe, Go-Fish, Bingo and on and on and on, so that when we sit down to do it, several of us can be involved.  We joke because Nikki has some of the loudest and most obnoxious games that she’ll let my kids keep for a week and if you don’t think my big kids want to play a loud and obnoxious game with their sisters, you’re mistaken.  By including the whole family, it makes it easy and fun to work on their articulation and vocabulary skills.  I honest to goodness don’t think my girls have ever once complained about “doing speech” because it’s always fun.

Another therapy we do every week is occupational therapy.  We realized in kindergarten this year that even though Ashby is right-handed but has had to use her left hand every day since birth, does not mean it makes it easier for her to be left-handed.  Make sense?  She’s naturally right-handed and therefore uses a different part of her brain than a true lefty, so even though she’s forced to use her left hand, her brain fights it.  For example, if you give Ashby a textile card to trace with a big letter A on it, she will take her pointer finger on the right hand and trace the A.  If you hand her a pencil and ask her to write an A, she’ll pick up the pencil and write it with her left hand.  Through OT now, we’re trying to strengthen her left hand (physically because it’s naturally weaker since it’s non-dominant) and change the way she thinks so that she thinks more like a left-handed person.  Reading and writing are both affected by trying to be ambidextrous when you’re naturally not.

Every week, we go see Ms. Julie for OT and again, we ADORE her!!  I’m so thankful for her and her creativity because again, it makes therapy FUN for Ashby!  This last week, Ashby’s “homework” was taking a clipboard and walking around finding words in our house to write down with her left hand in a small space (so that her letters are smaller and more controlled).  Kensington turned this game into playing “school” and would grade Ashby’s work.  Those two did this so many times over the last week because they thought it was so much fun!  (Side note: through OT, we have learned that Ashby needs to always use a clipboard because her right hand, which is affected by KTS, does not have the strength to hold down even a piece of paper for writing.)

When I first realized that therapies were going to be a big part of our lives for many, many years, I was overwhelmed at how we would fit them into our routine without them becoming a burden to the girls.  I am so thankful for amazing therapists who have made it EASY and FUN to work on these therapies.  I know many of you are therapists and I applaud you for your hard work!  As mamas, we just want to protect our kids and make them feel secure, and you help us with that by strengthening areas they need help in in a fun way that doesn’t feel like work.  THANK YOU!

So, that’s a little bit about our therapy routines.  If you’re a mama with kids who also go to therapy or are a therapist, I would love to hear other ideas you have!  Please comment and share if you have some fun ways to incorporate therapy into our daily routine.  I would really appreciate it!!  In the meantime, I have to head home from my road trip.  See you guys later!! xo

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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog July 11, 2019 at 5:05 am

    Miss Ashby is a brave little one! So nice to see her enjoying therapy! 💕 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Lisa July 11, 2019 at 5:15 am

    I loved this post. My 2 1/2 year old daughter was diagnosed with autism in December and she is in a lot of therapy – speech, OT, music, and ABA. When she first started, I thought HOW are we going to manage all of this therapy, sometimes 4 different types in one day (and I also work full time), but you know what, we do what we have to do and make it work. 🙂 Now the days she only has 1 or 2 types of therapy are our “free” days! haha It has all been so worth it to see all the progress she has made already. XOXO

  • Narci July 11, 2019 at 6:01 am

    Nikki is so fantastic! I know she loves your girls so much!

  • Alexis deZayas July 11, 2019 at 6:10 am

    I’m at OT but I work with adults 🙂 This makes my heart smile!

  • Jenn July 11, 2019 at 6:51 am

    I am a physical therapist and working with kiddos like yours is definitely the highlight of a healthcare career! This makes my therapy heart happy- especially that everyone gets involved. Y’all have no idea how much better their outcomes will be! Good work, Mama!

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams July 11, 2019 at 7:02 am

    So glad the girls have awesome teachers! I know that makes a big difference for them to grow in these areas!

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams 

  • Becky Simpson July 11, 2019 at 7:11 am

    I am both a kindergarten teacher, and a mom of a 3-year old boy who receives OT, PT and speech. Early intervention is key!!! Plus, the kids love it. My son loves his Miss Lisa, Miss Carol, and Mr. Bill. Does Ashby receive services through her school? Where I live (NY), once a child reaches kindergarten, services are provided through the school district.

    • Mix and Match Mama July 11, 2019 at 7:15 am

      At this time, she is eligible, but she does not. After sitting down with the administrators at our school, we feel like what she’s doing now privately is working so well that we don’t want to change it up with other services through the school.

      • Jamie Henry July 11, 2019 at 8:46 am

        I think that is a wise choice. I’m a kindergarten teacher too. Just a thought, but you could always double dip and receive services privately and at school if you interviewed the school SLP and OT and liked them. Also with my 4 year old, we did a lot of speech practice when he was locked in his car seat since he was stuck in there and I had his attention. You’re girls will master their therapies so much more quickly because you are so dedicated to helping them. I appreciate the example you set as a Proverbs 31 mother so much.

  • Kristen July 11, 2019 at 7:17 am

    My son goes to PT & OT multiple times a week at school for his fine motor skills and core muscle strength. We, like you, just try to incorporate things into every day life. His therapists are amazing and gave us some great “homework” for the summer. I just love them so much and are so thankful for all they do!

  • Julie July 11, 2019 at 7:29 am

    Thank you for sharing this post! I just want to say what an amazing mom I think you are. I get overwhelmed when my kids have homework at all ;), so I can’t imagine having extra lessons to keep up with each day! The fact that you get it done, and make it fun, and have such a positive attitude about it all is amazing. You are such a strong and positive mother and it shows in how happy and strong your kids are! I’m a long time reader of your blog and have always wondered how you find the time to squeeze in this extra work, so I was interested to learn how you schedule it all. And I’m with you, I’m forever grateful to all the people outside my family who love and care for my kids when I’m not with them. Hope you enjoyed your road trip!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 11, 2019 at 7:34 am

      Julie, thank you very much! This was really encouraging and absolutely made my morning! I am thankful that you took a minute to speak into my life and encourage me like that. Thank YOU so very much!!!

  • Shannon Graham July 11, 2019 at 7:46 am

    My son received OT when he was younger (he’s 9 now) and our therapist suggested we play a game called “Fruit Avalanche”. It requires the players to use tongs to pick up the pieces of fruit. He loved (and still loves) playing that game. We purchased the game on Amazon.

  • Monica Quiros July 11, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Thank you for posting about therapies! It helps mamas out there who are also running around from one therapy to another in between everything in their daily life. They can read this blog post & say “MMMama is doing all this & killing it, and so can I”. You give moms that extra push!

  • Kaitlyn July 11, 2019 at 7:54 am

    OT here! Thank you for using your platform to educate on the benefits of therapy 😊 Your girls are so sweet!

  • Amy July 11, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Ah, so glad that they both love their therapies. My mom is an OT and has worked in pediatrics for the past 25 years. (We met you at EPCOT in Norway last year!) I just graduated college and am going to start my Doctoral program in OT this September! I’m so excited because I’ve worked with kids with special needs personally, and I’ve seen how much my mom has impacted others. Reading things like this makes me so glad to be going into this profession. 🙂

  • Elspeth July 11, 2019 at 8:27 am

    I love reading all about the routines in your life. SO sweet that the ways to practice are fun and engaging!

  • Shelbie Fitch July 11, 2019 at 8:29 am

    My 2 year old has been in speech for a year and we did PT a year before that. Sometimes I get tired of all the therapies, but then I see our sweet therapist and how much she loves my kiddo/we love her and I remember she was a God send in my life as therapies have lead us to meet some really great ladies that support and encourage us. We love love love our therapist! I’ve learned your attitude towards therapy is what can lead to your child’s success. Thanks for being open and sharing this part of your life too!

  • Rachael July 11, 2019 at 9:19 am

    Your girls are precious and as a teacher, I LOVEEE this post! Some parents have a hard time accepting that their kiddos need therapy and I wish everyone would throw out the stigma of therapy and realize how it can change a kid’s life and be FUN!! Early intervention is key!

  • Diana H. July 11, 2019 at 9:28 am

    You and Andrew are such amazing parents and are raising some wonderful kids. I look forward to reading your blog every morning so see what you and your family are up to! The way Kensington and Smith love and care for their younger siblings is so heartwarming to see. That says a lot about you and Andrew and all of the grandparents too! All the memories you are creating and all the family traditions are something your kids will cherish forever. Thank you for letting us be a part of your lives! Side note…I live in Plano and really hope to run into you and your family one day hahah….or even Papa Jay because he seems like he a man with a lot of wisdom and knowledge and probably gives some great advice 🙂 Happy pre-Friday!

  • Megan July 11, 2019 at 9:35 am

    I am entering the second year of my Master’s coursework to be an OT and this post was incredibly encouraging. I loved hearing a bit more of the perspective of a family receiving therapy services! If Ashby is working on her grasp for writing, I know a lot of kiddos I work with love to practice using scratch art sheets, q-tips and paint, or tweezers squeezing a pompom that can be dipped into paint to make flowers, etc to build up those fine motor skills 🙂 So encouraged to see you practicing their homework throughout the week too.. it truly makes ALL the difference.

  • emily July 11, 2019 at 9:46 am

    you wrote this while on the roadtrip?

    • Mix and Match Mama July 11, 2019 at 10:46 am

      I did not! I wrote it last weekend 😉 . I’m home now!

      • emily July 15, 2019 at 7:41 am

        you said at the end you had to head home from your roadtrip so that was confusing and strange.

        • Mix and Match Mama July 15, 2019 at 7:48 am

          Because I wrote it like it was present day. Get it?

  • Erin July 11, 2019 at 10:18 am

    As an OT, I love hearing how much of a difference it’s making in lives like sweet Ashby’s!

  • Holly July 11, 2019 at 10:36 am

    I’m a pediatric OT, and we use Fruit Avalanche at our school too! There are a ton of games that incorporate tongs and clothespins, both great for strengthening those hand muscles and improve her grasp on pencils! Also, have Ashby cross midline when she’s playing those games, that will get both sides of her brain working together! You’re a great mom Shay, I love it when my parents work with their kids at home as well.❤️

  • Debbie Cook July 11, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Oh Shay, I have loved reading your blog for years because you are so real and relatable. And you have great fashion advice and love of all things fall. Now you’ve really sealed the deal- my son was just diagnosed and approved for OT for a midline issue similar to Ashby. Neurologically he’s a lefty living in a righty’s world. We need to establish a dominant eye and hand!
    Thank you for sharing these parts of your life. Helps us all remember that there is always someone else that can relate!

    • Mix and Match Mama July 11, 2019 at 10:45 am

      Ah! I’m so happy that you shared this with me! It’s so nice to know there are other families out there going through the same things!

  • Melodie A McGarrah July 11, 2019 at 11:27 am

    This spring I went to a homeschool convention in Dallas where the creator of Little Giant Steps in Plano spoke and it was eye opening for my husband and I. She talked about how our dominance should all be in one side… Hand, leg, eye and even ear! When it’s not it can cause confusion in the brain which can be seen in different ways…speech issues and stuttering, dyslexia, abnormally high emotions and behavioral issues, etc. So we go home and sure enough my oldest son is right side dominant except for his eye. So currently he wears a patch at home over his left eye for 4 hours a day to force his right eye to become the dominant one. Recently I put an earbud in my left ear just because it was convenient in that was listening to a talk. I’m all right side dominant. I can’t really describe how that sound coming in my left ear just felt off. It was echoing a tad and such a distraction for me to process that info I was hearing. Pretty quickly I switched to my right ear, further reinforcing to me this science of dominance. Anyways I know this was stupid, long but what your said about Ashby made me think about all of that.

  • Haley July 11, 2019 at 11:40 am

    This post has given me so much hope! I have a 5 month old son who has Down syndrome and he is already seeing a physical therapist. As he gets older he will need to see an occupational therapist and a speech therapist. It seemed so overwhelming how we would fit all that in but your post just gave me a great glimpse of how it can all work out smoothly. Thank you!

  • Carrie July 11, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Lots of the kids I know working on grasp love these:

    You can also use a chopstick! If they like them they also make bigger ones with lines to follow to practice accuracy too.

  • July 11, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    I have to say, thank you so much for sharing about how the girls go to therapy. It’s made it easier for me to share on my blog/social media about my daughter, Caroline, going to physical therapy. My sweet girl is 17 months old and has already had two therapists in her life, feeding and now physical therapy. When we took her to feeding therapy she was 0-4 months old. We went 2 times a week and we had to practice all the time. Now she goes to physical therapy for walking and she is making huge progress. We practice this often too. What I’ve learned, is to just do as much as we can as often as she wants. But when I see that she is tired of it, we stop. I’ve really just tried to make it a part of our lifestyle kinda like K did with Ashby! Such a sweet big sister! I know that means so much to Ashby. Thanks again Shay! Drive safely!

  • Stefanie Cunnington July 11, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    I think my 6 year old would love that clipboard activity as well! I love when I find something fun and different to do that is educational too. Thanks!

  • Allena July 11, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    We’ve done OT, Speech therapy, and behavioral therapy over the years and might eventually have to do myofunctional therapy (hoping not) for our 10 year old – it’s a lot but so great to see them growing. 🙂 Question – do your littles need speech because of English not being the first language or from being in an institutional environment? Just curious about what led you to realize they needed the support.

    • Mix and Match Mama July 12, 2019 at 5:26 am

      They need speech because they were so delayed in both learning to talk and learning any sort of language. Both kids came to us without any language (from what we were told, neither spoke Mandarin). They need vocabulary and articulation to help them overcome that deficit.

  • Shayna July 11, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    As a speech language pathologist, I love hearing when kiddos enjoy their therapy! Parent carry-over is key and your girls are very lucky to have a mom who works hard to make speech homework fun & engaging. I can say from experience that not a lot of parents put in as much effort, and it truly does go a long way! You have a great therapy team 🙂

  • carol July 11, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    We are so lucky to live in a country where the resources we need for our children are available.
    Shay- if you wouldn’t mind sharing why does Sweet Madeley need speech therapy?

    • Mix and Match Mama July 12, 2019 at 5:24 am

      Because she didn’t learn to speak, didn’t learn a language until she was two years old. It’s the same reason Ashby goes. Their vocabulary and articulation are delayed because they didn’t learn valuable sounds when they were younger.

  • Dorinda July 11, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    That’s so awesome they make the Therapy fun. As someone who had to go to speech therapy from 3/4 to 10 I absolutely hated it. I refused to speak, shrugged my shoulders, cried, and really disliked my therapists. I can’t imagine how much better it would have been had I had someone like Ms. Nikki.

  • Casey July 12, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    My son was diagnosed with some pretty severe eye disorders so we are now going to vision therapy twice a week. They just suggested he start occupational therapy once a week starting next week. Because of his eye disorders, he lacks so much hand/eye coordination that we just chalked up as “he’s all boy”. So many days I feel overwhelmed for him and me (I homeschool my two kids) but I can see such a huge change in him over the last six months so I know it’s working. Thanks for sharing yours and your kids story!

  • Annie Mans July 12, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Hi shay
    Could you do a post on your hospitalization routine. My 2 year old daughter is going to have to have heart surgery in three weeks and I though you might have some helpful tips.

    • Mix and Match Mama July 13, 2019 at 6:56 am

      Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry, Annie. I’m going to pray for your daughter right now.

  • Jennifer Renda July 14, 2019 at 1:41 am

    I was the child in PT, speech therapy and resource room.

    I have a genetic disorder called Waardenburg syndrome. I was born without a dominate side of my brain. I required speech therapy for my accent. (My father, Grandmother, and Great Aunt immigrated from Norway. ) I am dyslexic.

    For all the people who make time for all the therapies, you should know that the results are worth it. I overcame the challenges that I faced and learned to be determined.

    You are doing great with your children.

  • Bri July 14, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    This post made me smile! I am a Physical Therapy Student and have a passion for pediatrics. I hope to help make a difference in kiddos lives like Ashby and Madely. Thank you for sharing your positive experiences!