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.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Awwww, this is such an awesome post with a great update on Kaylie's speech issues. I meant to ask you about it but I just assumed that she was good to go. I just love your positive outlook on life and the way you take things and make them so easy and warm and fuzzy.

    At first I thought you only noticed Kaylie's speech issue because Elora was so advanced but man you were right on point with that. Kuddos momma.

    Go Kaylie, you can do it girl.