Today is Apraxia Awareness Day.
Our little girl, Bristol, has apraxia of speech and has difficulty with motor planning. Basically, she doesn't always have the words to say what she wants to say. She is three and uses about a dozen signs and has a vocabulary of around 75 words.
We were concerned about her vocabulary at 18 months and were told that it was probably because she is the third child and has her siblings to speak for her (though I disagreed), and were encouraged to wait until she turned two.
At her two year well visit, I was still concerned and we were referred to Early Intervention. After going through a battery of screenings (speech, hearing, vision, OT), we began speech therapy last May. Our therapist would come to our house once a week and she was great! She would basically play games with Bristol, but make her repeat a certain sound in order to get another piece of the game to play with. We learned so many tips and tricks from Marlo over the last year, and Bristol has come a long way.
Early Intervention ends at age three, but we continued to work with our therapist on a part time basis privately. About a month ago, Bristol was moved up to the 3 year old class at daycare and her speech has drastically improved since then! We are working with another therapist over the summer, and are excited that Bristol will be in full day county preschool starting in the fall, and she will be able to receive speech therapy at school.When I first learned about Bristol's speech delay, I found this quote from the founder of CASANA (Childhood Apraxia of Speech of North America), Sharon Gretz: " It's okay to be sad and okay to be mad. This is nothing that anyone wanted for their child. It is also a confusing time, an overwhelming time. Take a week and let it all out. Be mad, sad, cry, get angry. And then you need to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and get on with the work ahead. The work is to learn about apraxia of speech so that you can be the very best advocate you can be for your child. You need to do it and you WILL do it. You will do it because you must, because that beautiful child of yours is counting on you to help her become the best that she can be." I think this holds true for any parent of a child with special needs.
I have definitely been through the range of emotions. I feel sad when I see a younger child speaking in complete sentences or telling her mommy that she loves her. But I am so proud of my little girl and of the improvement that she has made in the last year. I love hearing her sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in words that mostly only I can understand. My heart skips a beat when I ask her a question and she enthusiastically responds "Yeah, Mommy!" I love watching her play with her siblings "Sissy" and "Bruh-bruh." Some words are so clear, and words that I would think would be hard- like "purple." She can't say her own name yet, but recently when you ask her what her name is, she has started saying "B!" She is obsessed with horses- "neigh neighs." And she's three, so she's constantly getting into everything!
I seriously cannot wait for the day that she says "I love you, Mommy." I know that she will get there, and we will be supporting her every step of the way. We can't wait to see all the good that continues to happen in her little life!
"And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes." - Romans 8:28