Monday, November 16, 2009

Progress creeps with hindsight leaps

I was battling clutter the other day and I found something Shea's teacher had given us almost exactly 2 years ago, a little bit more. October 2007.

It was the entire ASL alphabet with a bunch of signs for common words, a big thick heavy xeroxed thing that was psychologically weighty. She gave me 3 actually.

At the top were the words that Shea could say at the time:

beagel (?)

Those were the days when he was basically a non-verbal 3 1/2 year old.

What a difference 2 years makes. Shea speaks full sentences now. Yes, slow and lilted with articulation issues, but FULL SENTENCES!!!!

Shea tells joke, not very funny ones but he does tell them.

He actually sings now and can sort of carry the tune of Happy birthday but he really likes to dance.

Shea tells his sister at the dinner table to "Be quiet. It is my turn to talk."

He asks his buddy, "Did you like the movie, Honon?"

Shea is trying hard to make his mouth work, I watch him focus on it. He wants to connect with the world in a verbal way and gain confidence. He isn't afraid to try.

When Shea only had a handful of words, I looked everywhere for some story and anecdote that would describe how kids with Apraxia progressed. What does 2, 3, 4 + years of therapy and working hard on speech do for a kid? The lack of prognosis drove me to distraction.

That is why I want to show other parents with kids with speech and language issues what is possible and there is always reason to hope. We may not see big jumps on a day to day basis but it all adds up. I have to remind myself of that every once in a while.

When Shea had only a handful of works, I would have kissed the feet of the person who could tell me that Shea would speak full sentences at 5 1/2.


Henry's mom said...

Hi Shelley,

What a wonderful post! That is amazing that Shea is talking in sentences, you must be so proud of him and yourself.

Henry started 4x a week of ST last spring and we picked it up to 5 days this fall. Finally a HUGE break through this fall. I can honestly say Henry is finally talking. He is talking in 3 word sentences and tries to say everything. It still seems like a miracle to hear his voice, he was so quiet for so long. He started finally saying words last spring but it was so slow the progress. Even now you an outsiders could only understand half of what he is saying but hey, I will take any of it and of it. It was such a dark and scary place at his 2nd birthday. Would Henry ever talk? Just like Shea he didn't even try, poor thing couldn't.

Thank you once again for sharing your amazing beautiful story. You are one in a million.


Holly said...

What a great success story to read this morning!!

Debbie Yost said...

I found you through your artitcle in Special Needs Parenting. I have a daughter who will be 5 in January and is unofficially diagnosed with apraxia. She also has Down syndrome so that adds more challenges to learning to speak. Currently she is basically nonverbal other than Hi, bye and dad. We use PECS with her instead of ASL. We have many reasons for this decision, but one is the simply does not have the fine motor skills for ASL. Her speech therapist has been using an apraxia strategy for her therapy and she has made a lot of progress but still has a long way to go. I know exactly how you feel about getting caught up in the lack of prognosis. It was really helpful to read of Shea's successes. I dream of the day when my Peanut will tell her older sister it's her turn to talk! Thanks for the hope.

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