I have not posted much about Erica’s progress with speech therapy. It takes her a lot of work to learn how to say new sounds and words. She is becoming much more understandable over the last little while. Just the other day though she started to say her name. My wife and I were quite shocked because we have not really worked on getting her to say her name. I do not usually share videos that I take of the kids but I wanted to make an exception this time because it is such a treat for me to hear my daughter say her name.
You might notice that she says “Erita” in stead of “Erica”. She is just starting to learn how to create the back K and G sounds.
While I am by no means an expert in Apraxia, I have certainly been learning a great deal since my daughter was diagnosed with it. Here are some of the things I have learned.
People have no clue what Apraxia is. I can understand that, I did not either until my daughter was diagnosed with it. The problem is, after you explain it to them, they still do not get it and say stupid things like, well she will grow out of it, or she will get better. Next time someone tells you their child has Apraxia, don’t try to make them feel better by saying things like that. Their child will not get better, they will not grow out of it and it will be a long hard road for them and their child. Their child will need a lot of speech therapy for many years, and even then there is no telling whether or not the child they love will be able to speak reasonably normal.
That some rules do not make sense. For example, my daughter was under the care of a speech therapist with the local health district, when she started school she could no longer be seen by the speech therapist that is part of the health district. In this case that is alright because my daughter is in a special school where she gets speech therapy twice a week for 20 minutes each time. The average amount of time a student gets in the public school system is 15 minutes a week with another student. My daughter is lucky, but when she moves into the regular school system that will not be enough time. The rules of the school and health district state that my daughter cannot be seen by a speech therapist in the health care system if she is part of the school system. Children with Apraxia need much more speech therapy than the school system can provide, their rules are not helping children, they are harming.
Private speech therapy is expensive. While my daughter is getting more speech therapy in her school than most, we have decided to hire a private speech therapist. While she is expensive in the few sessions my daughter has had they have been good. Progress is slow but my daughter has shown a willingness to work with the new speech therapist and hopefully she can help my daughter learn how to talk faster.
The Government can help. I know it shocked me as well to learn that the Federal Government can actually help kids with Apraxia. While the rules of the local health and school do not make sense and private speech therapy is expensive, the Federal Government offers the Disability Tax Credit. Children with Apraxia qualify for this tax credit and all you need is your speech therapist to fill out the form and then you send it in. The money we are getting from the Federal Government Disabilty Tax Credit is what is paying for the majority of the private speech therapy. All the help I can get for my daughter the better.
It is challenging having a child with Apraxia. I wait for the day that my daughter can tell me how she is feeling or say “I love you Daddy”. While she can communicate in many ways and is smart we live in a world where verbal communication is important and I just hope that my daughter will be able to be a part of it.
Today was the first day of school after a great and relaxing summer. I have to admit that I was not looking forward to my kids going back to school. My son started grade 1 this year and my daughter is in preschool 5 days a week. It adds up to a new routine for all of us.
The day overall went pretty good. I think my son was a little taken back that he was going to have his own desk. School is not like Kindergarten anymore. When he got home though he was pretty happy about the day and proudly informed me that I had homework to do. Nothing to serious, just had to read the information the teacher sent home with him. I can handle that kind of homework.
Taking my daughter to preschool today was harder than I thought it would be. Not on her, but on Dad. She was cheery and had no problem with Mom and Dad leaving her there. She had found some new toys to play with and was content. Preschool will be good for her. She has made some great progress in her speech and this preschool is designed to help kids with verbal apraxia. She has been doing well with her speaking lately. It is like she has decided she needs to start talking, and has started using more words and sentences. We know from the past that the more she practices a sound and word that she can master it and it will become automatic.
People always tell you to enjoy the time you have with your kids when they are young because they grow up fast. While that may or may not be true, I do know that it will be a busy school year.