Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Slap Bracelet, the Knuckle Technique and Stuttering

Many children diagnosed with Prader Willi Syndrome have trouble with stuttering.

My son Nicholas is one of them.

Over the years, we have noticed this issue come and go in severity. This winter, Nicholas's stuttering was at its worst. He knew what he wanted to say but had great difficulty getting the first few words out. This caused him much anxiety and frustration, which in turn increased this vicious circle of stuttering.

Nick's speech therapist told us that his stuttering and fluency issues were most likely related to his difficulties in motor planning.

So, she tried something brilliant...

This is a "slap bracelet".

It is a stiff plastic band. You take the band and "slap" your wrist with it. The band seems to magically grab and hold your wrist tightly.

Kind of like this......

So, our brilliant ST, took a plain green "slap" bracelet and colored a long line of black dots on it. She gave it to Nicholas, who of course loved snapping it on and off his wrist. When Nicholas had trouble speaking, he was instructed to point to a dot and slowly speak each word.

At first, I thought...no way!

But, believe it or not, for Nicholas.......it works.

For anyone interested, you can purchase a dozen of these slap bracelets, by clicking here.

The price is $14. You can place your own dots, stickers or holes to customize your own bracelet.

BTW, it has also been a great tool to use to occupy Nicholas's hands and prevent him from picking at his fingers! At least for now!

Of course, in true elementary school kid fashion, Nick quickly lost the important speech saving tool.

So, in true PWS super mom fashion.......I improvised.

When Nick started to stutter, I made a fist, and pointed to each knuckle. I then had him point to his own knuckles, and guess what.....so far........it works!!!!!

The slap bracelet and knuckle technique help Nicholas to concentrate on saying one single word at a time. These tools slow down his rate of speech and allow him to say each word individually and clearly. It takes longer for him to speak but the words and sentences are clear.

Weston, Pete, me and even his friends and teachers at school have begun to use this knuckle technique. When Nicholas starts to get stuck, we all pull out our fists.

Knuckle power to the rescue!
I can't think of a more peaceful use for fists, than to help a young boy to speak!