Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Learning as I go…

“It’s a funny thing, how much time we spend planning our lives. We so convince ourselves of what we want to do, that sometimes we don’t see what we’re meant to do.”
― Susan Gregg GilmoreLooking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen

I had plans for my career and I still have plans, but my currently my priority is making sure my 2 kids receive the support, care and therapy they need. I do my best to educate myself about their condition, Childhood Apraxia of Speech.  I read books, blogs, visit CASANA’s website, attend workshops, follow others with Apraxia on Facebook.  At this time in my life, this is what I was meant to do.

So I’d like to share with you some tricks and helpful hints, I’ve learned on this journey with Childhood Apraxia of Speech.

First, become an advocate for your child’s condition.  It is important to educate others about the condition, so this means educating yourself.  I would suggest visiting CASANA’s website. http://www.apraxia-kids.org   This website is an excellent resource and I use it to help me answer many of the questions I and others have about Childhood Apraxia of Speech.

Facebook has been an excellent resource. I follow these pages, Mikey’s Wish – Verbal Dyspraxia AwarenessSLP mommy of Apraxia/DyspraxiaChildhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA), APRAXIA-KIDS-Every Child deserves a voice group and my local Apraxia-Kids Pennsylvania Group.  These pages have become an excellent resource for support and education about Apraxia.  I am able to connect with other parents and share our stories.  Facebook is also a great way to share information about Apraxia.  I use Facebook as a communication tool to update family and friends on my kids’ progress.  Facebook provides me an excellent outlet and links me to a community.
Books are also an excellent resource.  These are two books I have enjoyed reading:
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In our home I do my best to organize our speech resources.  I save homework lessons, word cards and other items our therapists provided for at home practice.  I have intended to keep notebooks for each child to document their therapy sessions and what they have learned and worked on, however, my iPhone is an excellent source for note taking.  Most importantly, I have made each child a binder.  In these binders I keep all of important papers we have received on our journey.  Paperwork from Early Intervention, IEPs, summaries of therapy sessions, diagnosis papers, calendars, and any other paperwork I feel is important to save.
I have returned to these binders a number of times.  I pull paperwork when I have progress meetings.  This paperwork is also extremely important when I work with our school district.

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Collection of paperwork since Maya began therapy

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Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Update on the Kids

Our household is very busy.  With two kids in speech therapy, we spend a lot of time going to different appointments.   I am extremely grateful we can provide so much care, support and therapy for our children.  This crazy busy life works for us and most importantly it works for our kids.

Currently, CJ receives therapy twice a week.  He receives therapy from a private speech therapist and he receives speech therapy within our home through an Early Intervention speech therapist. Both of these therapist have worked with Maya and they are very knowledgable in the treatment of Childhood Apraxia of Speech.  More importantly, I have wonderful relationships with CJ’s therapist.  They provide Kevin and I with homework and tools to use in our home to help further CJ’s speech.  In a short period of time, CJ’s language has grown.  He makes many verbal attempts to express his wants and needs.  This growth would not have been possible without his two speech therapist.

(We intend on increasing CJ’s weekly speech therapy sessions when he turns 3.)

 

 

Currently, we take a more aggressive approach to Maya’s therapy sessions. At the age of 3.5, we decided to increase Maya’s weekly therapy sessions. Fundraising and insurance has played a significant role in helping us increase her therapy sessions. During the week, Maya will receive 4 speech therapy sessions and 1 occupational therapy session. (She has therapy with 2 private therapist, 1 private OT, and a therapist provided through our school district). Overloading Maya with therapy sessions has significantly helped improve her expressive language.  Like her brother, we also incorporate practice sessions at home.

Here is a video of Maya and me practicing the “K” sound in the final position of a word.

(You will see I provide Maya with small toys or play-doh to play with during our practice sessions.  She has a difficult time focusing and toys help by keeping her seated during our practice session.)

 

 

 

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Fridays & Word Practice

Fridays are fabulous in our house. It’s our day off, we don’t have preschool and most days we have limited obligations. Fridays are our catch up days. We relax, play, mommy cleans, and we can sit down and practice our words. 

Having 2 little ones with Apraxia, at home speech practice is essential. Typically, we incorporate speech practice throughout our daily tasks and on Fridays we have a chance to sit down and go over our words. 

Today, (Friday 10/21) I remembered to record Maya during our practice session. If you listen closely and watch Maya’s mouth, you can see how she struggles with motor planning. Her mouth becomes confused when trying to pronounce the “k sound” (coughing sound) and the “t sound” (tippy tongue sound). ​

Please take a minute to watch Maya practicing the k and t sounds. We are so proud of her. She is very determined and has an excellent attitude. CJ makes an appearance too. ​

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Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Comparing

Maya will begin her last year of preschool in a few weeks.  We have one year to get her ready for Kindergarten.  During this time of the year, I have continuous questions running through my mind…

  • “Will Maya be ready for Kindergarten?”
  • “Can I do more to prepare her?”
  • “How is she going to react to this school year’s schedule change?”
  • “How much progression will she have over the school year, both in speech and academics?”

When I become lost in my thoughts, I have to remind myself of how far Maya’s speech has grown over the last few years.  Her growth becomes apparent when I look back on videos from previous years.

I recently found this video of Maya at age 3.  The video was taken March 2015.  We are in the car and holding a conversation with Maya.  She is telling us about visiting somewhere with a cat and she was scared of the cat.

 

The second video was taken today, August 17, 2016.  Maya will turn five on September 14, 2016.  We are sitting at our kitchen table working on some school work and playing with beads. Please take the time to watch the video and compare the previous video to these two videos.

 

 

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Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Mr. Calvin

I’ll come right out and say it, CJ was diagnosed with “Suspected Childhood Apraxia of Speech.” (The term “suspected” is used because CJ is under 2 years old. He is almost 22 months.)

As CJ’s mommy I use the term “suspected” very loosely.  A mother knows her child. Watching CJ attempting to communicate is like watching Maya all over again.  He struggles to communicate his thoughts into words.  He has very limited vocabulary. The words he does say are not spoken clearly and are missing syllables. He cleverly has developed his own “CJ Language.” I know he will has a speech condition.

I’m not sure why both of my kids have issues with speech.  All I know is, Kevin and I need to keep moving forward, ensuring both kids receive the love and care they need.

Fortunately for CJ, he has access to phenomenal speech therapists. We are utilizing Maya’s therapists for his treatment.  Maya has a wonderful team of therapists that support and love her.  She has had such tremendous growth over the past year because of her therapists.  When we noticed CJ’s speech was not progressing, we made arrangements to have his speech evaluated.  He has now started speech therapy with two excellent SLPs.

A couple of times a week, CJ attends speech therapy.  He recently began to receive services from Early Intervention and he visits a private speech therapist.  Even though he is young, he has already began to show interests in his therapy sessions.  I am anxious to see how quickly his language development progresses over time.

I’m going to share a video of CJ at 18 months old.  In the video you will notice minimal mimicking of language.

 

 

 

 

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Driving

We spend a lot of time in our car.  Every day we have somewhere to go, therapy, preschool class, gymnastics, visiting family, errands, etc. We like to stay busy and we are always on the move.

For the longest time our car rides were quiet. Maya developed her own traveling habits.  She has always enjoyed holding my hand when we travel in the car.   A tiny voice from the backseat would say, “nan” and I knew she wanted to hold my hand. Maya spoke in simple phrases for a long time and I found myself wondering if I would ever hear her sing nursery rhymes, ask questions, or hold conversations.

Today, the silence has been replaced with growing conversations and endless stories. Maya loves to share her thoughts and hear stories about animals. She asks hundreds of questions. She enjoys singing and dancing to songs on the radio. Her sweet voice is music to my ears.

Here is a clip of a family outing. Maya loves to tell stories and share silly ideas. Her speech is improving and she is working on articulation and grammar.

Car Ride

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