Sunday, October 23, 2005

Apraxia Revisited

I've noticed that a fair number of people stumble upon my blog looking for information on apraxia. I stopped blogging for a while after my post on C's diagnosis, which probably leaves you all rather curious to see what the rest of the story was. I feel badly that there isn't more coverage of the whole saga on here, so I thought I would give a cliff notes version for those of you interested in the topic.

After C was diagnosed with apraxia of speech, which is I believe where I last left off, we quickly entered into the world of speech therapy. We lucked into an amazing therapist, who while not my particular cup of tea personality-wise, turned out to be an amazing woman who accomplished more in two months than we as parents had been able to do in several months of hard work. Let that be lesson number one, even if you don't believe therapy will make a difference (I didn't), it will. A sub-set to that lesson, make sure you find a therapist who knows what he or she is doing. I've run across many people who have not had as good an experience with their therapists, and from what I can tell, it becomes very clear very early on as to whether the relationship is going to work out or not.

We saw S twice a week for about seven months, and got pages upon pages of homework after each session. Lesson number two is: do the homework. The weeks we didn't because life got in the way, it showed. She did a whole range of different exercises with him, many of them picture based. We worked on one letter at a time, starting with "b" and moving in a seemingly random pattern that was actually based on the sounds he was able to make that she could pick up on but we could not. She also worked on teaching him ways to make sounds based on the tongue movements he could and couldn't do, which, while not the correct way to make them, made him more intelligible to outsiders.

After the first couple of months she began working with him on trying to get his tongue to make a full range of motion. When we started the process, he could only move his tongue in and out of his mouth. He couldn't touch the roof of his mouth or either cheek. As of right now he can touch the roof of his mouth and the right side, but not the left. This was probably the hardest part of the process for C as he got so frustrated that he couldn't do what she wanted him to do. There were many tears on the way back from her office.

In August, seven months after starting therapy, she retested him and he came in at an age appropriate level and she advised us to give him a break for a bit and to come back when he turns four to get tested again. Based on where he is now I'm guessing that we will end up going back into therapy, but the improvement that has been made to date has been truly astounding. Because he made progress so fast, we were skeptical of his diagnosis, and at our last session with S we asked if she was holding to her original diagnosis. She said yes, but she felt it was a much milder case than she had originally estimated. The inital treatment plan had called for two plus years of therapy, and we were able to "catch up" in under a year. For which we were very grateful.

So there you go, while I imagine this is not the type of information you were looking for when you came here, I hope it helps a bit. If you have additional questions or want to get the unabridged version, feel free to email me