Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Childhood Apraxia of Speech

(The video has nothing to do with the post, it's just cute.)

Kaylie has been attending speech therapy for about 6 months now, so I thought it was about time for an update.  We had her hearing tested back in August (about 3 months after starting the therapy) in an effort to determine whether a hearing deficiency, however mild, might be contributing to her slow speech development.  Not only did she pass the hearing test, but she cooperated so well that the lady doing the test commented that she is rarely able to administer the whole test to children so young, and that Kaylie responded normally to all of it.  So, that pretty well ruled out a hearing deficiency as a cause for Kaylie's speech delay.  With that possibility eliminated, Jennifer became fairly sure that it is probably childhood apraxia of speech, a cognitive disorder in which there is a disconnect in the planning process of speaking.  According to the site I linked above, "children with apraxia of speech have great difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movements of the tongue, lips, jaw and palate that are necessary for intelligible speech."   In other words, her brain has a hard time telling her mouth how to form the necessary sounds for speech.  It sounds really scary, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit freaked out when Jennifer first shared her suspicions with me.   Kaylie is really too young for an official diagnosis, but from what I've read about apraxia and what I've observed about my child, it fits.  Even if we later find that we're wrong about the core problem, then this at least gives us a plan for how to move forward with her therapy now.

In the three months since then, Elora and I have stopped going into therapy with Kaylie.  In the beginning, I think it was good for all of us to participate, because it helped Kaylie to become comfortable with Jennifer, but it had become obvious that Elora and I were just distractions.  We've also added a third therapy session each week, and the additional day seems to have flipped a switch somewhere.  She has improved so much just in the last month or two!  She's gaining consistency where she was once erratic, and is adding completely new sounds to her repertoire.  She is not only talking more and more, but she has become so much more willing to try new words!  This may seem like a small thing, but for me, this is the biggest indicator of just how far she's come.  

For my part, I cannot even begin to say how proud I am of her.  It is a little heart breaking to watch her struggle to wrap her mouth around some new sound, or combination of sounds, and sometimes I catch myself wondering why my beautiful, intelligent child must work so hard to do what comes so naturally to most other children.  But there is no "why", it just is.  So we're working with her, and encouraging her, and celebrating every victory with her.  To see her sweet little face just light up with joy and pride when she's able to say something new is just...well, there are no words.  :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Back to the Dentist!

The girls had their second check up with the dentist a few weeks ago, and this visit went just as well as the first!  Well, mostly.  They sat together in the seat again, and they were just as well behaved, and just as cooperative as they were before.  (In Kaylie's case, she was even more cooperative!)  The only shadow over the visit is that Elora has developed a few teensy, tiny cavities.  The dentist and hygienist both assured me that cavities are very common in young children, because the enamel on the baby teeth is much thinner than that on adult teeth, and especially when the teeth are touching, as they do in Elora's mouth.  And I know that I have terrible teeth ( a mouth full of fillings, ew!) and I don't think that Brandon's are much better than mine.  But, I still feel like I've failed my daughter.  We could have been a lot more diligent about tooth-brushing than we were, and what if that had been enough to prevent those cavities?  Am I doing enough to help her develop the necessary habits to keep her mouth healthy in the long-term?  I'm doing my best to squash the doubts and self-recrimination, and channel that energy into stepping up our game at home.  Kicking myself won't help Elora; being diligent about her oral care will.
The dentist advised us to have the cavities filled, and I went ahead and made the appointments to do so.  She said that if left unfilled, those cavities can spread quickly and lead to more serious issues.  Between what she told me, and what I later read online, I feel that our safest bet is to have the teeth filled, even if there is some debate about whether it's really necessary.  And even if I do hate that I'll have to make her go through that awful process.  But, better a few fillings now, than extractions a year or two down the road, right?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Lightening Review, October* 2013

*Disclaimer:  When I say "October 2013", what I really mean is Halloween 2013.  Here are all of our activites for the second half of October crammed into one lightening-quick post:

We went to the Hickory Ridge Farm Pumpkin Patch to get a pumpkin or two.  I had the girls each choose a smaller pie pumpkin, because I knew I would be cooking them down for baking.

We also rode the pony, walked the corn maze, ate kettle corn, played in the bounce houses, went for a hay ride, and played on a hay bale mountain.  It was great for the girls, and I found myself wondering...why did we not do this until our last year in this area?

We had a Halloween dry run the weekend before the big night, and used it as an opportunity to get some stress-free photos and play in the leaves.

We    Brandon and the girls   Brandon carved the larger of our two pumpkins while I took pictures and the girls supervised.  Elora at least tried pulling out some of the pumpkin guts, but Kaylie wouldn't touch it!!!

And finally, we went trick-or-treating with Lydia and Little James.

Brandon had to take a 3 day trip for the class he was taking, so he couldn't go with us.  Rebekah and Big James were in Florida visiting family.  We missed them, but holy cow, we had a great time anyway!!

See, super fast!  Yes, I might have glossed over a few things, but you got the highlights.  :)