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Tuesday, July 7, 2009
In February of 2009, M was diagnosed with a motor speech disorder called verbal dyspraxia. It's why she didn't babble until she was more than 1 1/2 years of age and why she is struggling with language in so many ways. She has great communication skills, just not verbally. Dyspraxia is often called apraxia. Though they are actually different, the problem is the same. Though M may want to talk, she has to learn how to say each sound because her brain cannot tell her mouth how to move correctly to form the sound. Or at least that is my little summary. If you want to understand more about dyspraxia, check out the Apraxia-Kids and Can We Talk sites I have listed. M had her speech and hearing evaluated last spring. We have had her hearing tested twice, and will have it tested once more. She really does understand everything we say, but they have suggested for us to return again because it wasn't conclusive. Last spring, when M was 15 months old, her one word was /mah/. She used it mostly for more or to tell us she was frustrated or wanted something. It was not for Mom. Although she was borderline in need of speech at that initial speech eval, they knew I was a former teacher and that I was working with her already. So they gave us some tips and suggested calling if we felt the need and they would check in with us after three months. Three months later she had not progressed, so she began speech therapy. We were only in Maryland's program for about 5-6 weeks because of our move. Before we moved, I had lined up an eval here in PA. We are very pleased with her therapist and have seen M make great strides, especially recently. We suspected apraxia in December 2008 and scheduled a private speech eval. We did it in hopes of getting M more services. She now has speech therapy twice a week and an early childhood/special educator comes in once a week. An occupational therapist comes once a month, as well. Thankfully they are all in our home (until M turns three this fall). The problem with apraxia is that it is not outgrown. It is overcome with intense therapy though. So we have a long road ahead of us. Please keep us in your prayers as we advocate for M and really try to work with her. We know God has great plans for her! M has been making incredible progress. Though most of her words may not be understood by outsiders, she is now making words on her own and even stringing two words, sometimes three, together into simple sentences at the age of 32 months. We're very encouraged and thankful for the therapy she receives.