At Lucas’ two year checkup, I remember vividly filling out the autism questionnaire that most parents are presented. He passed with flying colors, but there was a concern about his speech. While he could say several words, it was nowhere near most children his age.
Bring on the doctor appointments.
After I voiced my concern with Lucas’ pediatrician about his speech delay, she helped set us up with early intervention to come to the house to evaluate him. If deemed eligible, he would receive services at our house until he turns three. Once he turns three, the school district takes over the case, and he is evaluated to become eligible for special education pre-k.
Lucas was deemed eligible and was recommended speech and behavioral therapy services 1x per week. While I questioned what type of behavior a two-year-old boy is supposed to have at that age, I just accepted the recommended help.
His speech therapy included working on verbal cues, learning different sounds and techniques, as well as sign language for popular demands like “more” and “done”.
While we did see an improvement in his verbal speech, it was not near the clinical recommendation for his age.
What did we do next? We took him for hearing tests to make sure is hearing wasn’t the issue. Side note, I think I would rather get a tooth drilled than bring Lucas again for a hearing test. Not fun!
With nothing wrong with his hearing, we then took him to an ENT to determine if he had any ENT issues. Bingo! His adenoids were huge!
So now we are at nearly his third birthday. Lucas is qualified to start full day pre-k to focus on his speech after his birthday, and we now learn of the adenoids’ issue. My husband and I discuss and agree that the adenoid removal surgery is essential to help his speech development. The surgery is scheduled for a few weeks later.
After the surgery, Lucas’ breathing was much better overall and we waited for his full recovery to see if it would make a difference with his language development. A few months go by, and while we are pleased with the progress from school, he still is not catching up.
On to the next doctor… developmental pediatrician. Do you know how hard it is to find an appointment with one? In our area, very few are accepting new patients, and those that are, don’t accept insurance. Yes, you read that correctly, these doctors expect you to pay completely out of pocket. Sorry, I digress!
We finally find a developmental pediatrician over an hour away to evaluate Lucas. It is determined that he only has a speech delay, and it should correct itself.
As a planner by heart, I’m just not one to see what and “wait” for it to correct itself. I want to see consistent results, charts, diagrams, you get it. I know these expectations are not realistic, but as a mom, you do whatever you can to help your child. No one wants to see their child hurt, fall behind or not feel their best.
My husband and I decided to look into getting Lucas private speech therapy. While the school was already providing it, he could certainly use more dedicated time to this development. I found a highly recommended therapy place in our town and he was evacuated.
And finally, I got an answer… Apraxia of Speech!
Of course, the first thing I did was google the term as I hadn’t heard of it before. Article after article I read, it all made sense. Lucas’ brain and mouth were not working in sync. Not only that, but there were certain letters like “M” and “P” that he especially had trouble with. Again, another connection.
Just to be able to finally understand what the issue was and focus on the treatment was such a relief.
I am happy to say, four months into his new therapy and IEP at school, we are seeing a tremendous improvement in his speech. They now know exactly what needs to be worked on to retrain his brain for his speech. Nearly every day he is saying a new word and putting it in the right context. We couldn’t be more proud.
While we originally began this journey almost two years ago, I understand we have a ways to go. My personal goal is to have Lucas in a regular kindergarten class come September 2019. Again, just a personal goal I’m working towards in our development at home.
If you are interested in learning more about apraxia of speech, I recommend this link:
Also, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions on our experience through this journey. I am more than happy to share more info.