Thursday, 17 May 2012

Apraxia: Banging My Head Against A Brick Wall



The title of this post is just how I have been feeling about this cursed Apraxia (Dispraxia) that as been plaguing my little boy, Buster (4)



It really hit home when my oldest daughter Flash (9) cam to me in tears…finally admitting that the reason for her distress was….

‘…..I’m just really worried about my brother…he can’t talk yet….”

Buster has been seeing a speech therapist and in the beginning I was feeling very hopeful that his speech would make big improvements this year. However, I can only get to see the speech therapist about once each month. On one of these scheduled appointments, Buster was very sick with the flu (he missed a week of preschool). I called the therapist and was informed that the next appointment he could get was 2 months later!!

Busters Preschool teacher also called me this week. She wanted to say that she was very concerned that Buster’s speech was not improving . She wanted to know if there was anything she could do to help him. She is such a lovely teacher J. She asked if she could speak to Busters Speech Therapist to get some ideas on how to best support Buster in the class room (The therapist was supposed to call the teacher at the beginning of the school year, but that has never happened).

The most frustrating part for me is the speech therapist. Even though I have been to see an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist to rule out any structural abnormalities, she has told the preschool teacher that she thinks that buster has an abnormality in his palette *!*. She is still very determined to teach buster sign language and have him use his iPod…..she even told the preschool teacher that it was a shame she didn’t see Buster more regularly….(Hello....you make the appointments!!)

I am just simply perplexed by these strategies. How on earth will sign language help him be understood at school when neither the other children or the teachers use sign language?? We have also found that walking around with an iPod is just not really practical in a preschool situation.

I feel like I’m banging by head on a brick wall because I just want the speech therapist to help him speak!!

I realise that treating apraxia is a long, slow process. Buster gets so frustrated with people (including me) constantly correcting him…He actually does try his absolute hardest to repeat the word the way it is supposed to sound….but he just can’t seem to do it. Listening to him struggle just breaks my heart. It seems that the speech therapist has given up on the possibility that he will ever be able to speak fluently, and is trying to provide other options for communication….but I’m not going to give up on my little boy!

Yesterday I called the speech pathologist that my daughter saw. I was prepared  to literally beg her to see my son. Unfortunately she no longer sees clients…but she did give me a recommendation to a speech therapist who trained under her and specializes in Apraxia therapy.

Although this new speech therapist was ‘full’,  thanks to this recommendation, I was able to get an appointment for an assessment with this new therapist…..Suddenly I have a reason to feel hopeful again!!

I am willing and determined to practice with Buster. Buster’s preschool teacher is also prepared and enthusiastic to support him at preschool with the same strategies. His support system is in place and is raring to go! Now, I have my fingers crossed (and everything else!) that this specialist in Apraxia can give us some techniques and a structured and effective plan of therapy to follow. ..

….I’m not going to give up.

I'm sharing this post over at Mumma Grace for Flog Yo Blog Friday.... There are some great posts up today!!


32 comments:

  1. Don't ever give up! As I was reading I was thinking, perhaps there would be another therapist who would be more willing to actually "work" with their clients and it seems you have found a possibility! Good Luck with the new SLP and I hope that he makes HUGE strides! He's so handsome! Keep up the fight Momma!

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    1. Thank you so much! I guess I just have to trust my instincts. The old SLP is just not working for us... I so hope Buster can make some progress with the new therapist.

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  2. I love your determination to fight this through. I hope that the new therapist is able to offer some workable suggestions. Sounds like you are blessed with a fantastic teacher at school though. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses x

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    1. Thanks Rhi! The preschool teacher is wonderful and she really takes the time to try and understand buster. Her support has been invaluable!

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  3. Glad you found someone new to see your son, the first therapist sounds like they don't have the time to care the way they should be. Good luck with it all.

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    1. Thanks so much! I think you are right.... She is very busy and does occupational therapy as well.

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  4. Cuddles, hugs and love. Your pain and frustration ring through loud and clear. I hope things work out well with this new therapist. x

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    1. Thanks Emily! It's so frustrating to watch him struggle. I so hope the new speech can help him.

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  5. My heart goes out to you Nicole. You are doing such an amazing job. Hang in there!

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  6. Thanks Jen! I needed to hear that. I feel like an utter failure when I see him at preschool with kids who are so articulate and expressive...

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  7. Hi Nicole--I came across your blog via a link on Twitter. I've only read this post, so forgive me if I'm about to mention alternatives that you have already considered and ruled out for other reasons.

    My daughter (almost 4 yr old) is unable to speak. Like you, we tried signing initially but I was frustrated with the limitations (not everyone can understand sign) and her discoordinated fine motor skills made her signs difficult to understand even to those who speak ASL. So I decided to move on (although she still does sign some words).

    Have you looked into using picture cards, picture boards, or assistive technology (communication apps for the iPad or communication devices) at all? We are now using a communication app, but prior to that we used a book of picture cards and other communication boards. The pictures have the benefit of being understood by anyone he encounters---the only detriment is that they can be a bit cumbersome (you have to figure out a good system for transporting them, etc). That's one reason that we switched to an app once she was ready for it.

    If you're interested in the stuff that I'm mentioning, check out this link on my blog: http://niederfamily.blogspot.com/p/our-communicationaac-journey.html

    That contains links to all of the communication solutions that we've tried with Maya. You can also reach me via email at uncommonfeedback@gmail.com

    *My disclaimer: I'm not a speech therapist, I'm just a mom who's been there. I don't want you to think these ideas are coming from a professional!

    I hope that helps :) -Dana

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    1. Thanks you so much Dana for your kind an thoughtful comment. One of the very best things about this blog is that is has put me in contact with so many wonderful and supportive people....who are also on a speech therapy journey.

      Thank you for your suggestions and I will definitely be doing some reading on your blog :)

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  8. Don't give up!!! So glad to hear that Buster's pre-school teacher is enthusiastic and supportive. Even happier to hear that you're looking at alternatives for a speech therapist. I can't begin to imagine how frustrating it must be for you to have to deal with that other speech therapist.
    But I love that photo of Buster. What a beautiful boy you have x

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    1. Thanks so much Grace! The photo of Buster was taken on our walk to preschool yesterday....he's a cheeky little fella!

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  9. Literally running out the door but I just wanted to send you a hug. I think you are amazing and a wonderful mother.

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    1. Thank you so much...such a lovely thing for you to say :)

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  10. Best of luck! Everything can be so frustrating sometimes! Sounds like this move to a new speech pathologist is a great idea. My eldest and to some extent my 2nd son were late talkers and I understand how much you want to will him to speak. Hang in there - he'll get there xx

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    1. Thanks Cathy...I really hope this move to a different therapist will get some positive results! I heard that Einstein was a late talker too, so we're in good company :)

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  11. With a great mom like you, he has every chance for success. Keep pushing!

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  12. Buster looks happy and that is down to the love he receives from you. Allied to any other treatment you choose that love will help him through whatever comes next.

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    1. Thanks so much Roger...such a kind thing thing to say :)

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  13. Finding the right speech therapist and increasing 1/1 speech therapy is key. My son just started now to talk. Of course, he doesn't do it well but at least people understand him! He wasn't saying anything before. He has group therapy in school and was using a communication device in the classroom. Now he barely uses it. I finally found insurance through the state to cover speech therapy for twice a week. In just the last two months of intensive 1/1 therapy he's improved A LOT.

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    1. Thank you! It's lovely to read that your son is communicating and being understood! I'm hoping Buster will make similar progress with his new therapy.

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  14. Yep - us Mamas don't give up on our cubs!!
    It's defintely time for a new therapist.
    You are so committed and loving - Buster is one lucky boy.
    But I can also understand and sympathises with your frustration.
    I hope you both get to move forward with a new member of team Buster.
    :-) xxxx

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    1. That's awesome!...'Team Buster' I love it!! Thanks for your kind comment :)

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  15. I am so glad you found a new therapist. we had exactly the same problem and the change in therapist made ALL the difference. You are doing all you can gorgeous, just keep on keeping on and you WILL get there. xx

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    1. Thanks Sonia, for letting me know that a change in therapist made a big difference with your boy! I've got a gut feeling that this will be an important step for Buster too!

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  16. I wish you good luck with your little one and his speech issues. It's wonderful to have such a supportive teacher and I'm so glad you got an appointment with the new therapist. There is hope!

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  17. Thanks so much for your good wishes! They are much appreciated :)

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  18. Surrounded by love and a determined resourceful mother, he will find an answer, the question is only when. Hope it's soon, but in the meantime sending positive thoughts xx

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