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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sean-Peter has officially graduated from private speech therapy. He has simply met all of his age-appropriate goals that his speech therapist set for him.

If someone had told me a year ago after he was diagnosed with his verbal apraxia speech disorder that there would ever be an end in sight, I wouldn't have dared hope.

I really, truly, was bracing myself for a long journey. I was mentally preparing for possibly homeschooling, at least initially, not just for the sake of his academic progress but also so he didn't begin his public education unduly judged in a social network of peers while his speech caught up. Last June I was contemplating my need to learn sign language, for Pete's sake! (Pun intended.)

His speech journey is not ending: it's just on a developmental path right now. We will have him reevaluated when he turns five (in seven months), specifically to assess his articulation, sentence formulation, and prosody.

I will always have one ear tuned to any future implications that this disorder may have on his language skills, particularly as it affects perceptions of his learning capabilities. (e.g. As he struggles to "spit it out", someone not familiar with him or his history may think he's struggling to understand the question rather than simply working on sequencing the sounds he wants to use to express himself.)

His occupational therapy sessions will continue, probably at least for the next six months, for his sensory integration development and tactile sensitivity issues; and we will continue his therapeutic listening at home.

And I will continue to encourage his self directing in improving his articulation skills in the areas he still struggles, using techniques I have learned from Melissa.Just the other day he self-corrected his "l" sound in a word to say it more clearly, to "use his tongue" to make the sound. I praised him, "Good job making your "L" sound, Peter! How did you learn to do that so well?"

"I learned it from Miss Muh-lissa!"

Thank you, Miss Muh-lissa! I will forever be grateful that God put you in our path.


Cherilyn said...

God is so good and what a provider! And Sean-Peter is so smart to know a good thing when he sees it! I wish I could stow Micah away with Mom and Dad. They would have so much fun together. Micah now has a plane ticket he has to use in the next year. I'm thinkin' a Mommy-Micah trip to Dayton might be in order at some point!

Mike and Erin said...

It's so neat to hear of Sean Peter's progress. We are dealing with speech issues of our own. Not as serious as a disorder or anything--just a delay. I don't really realize how far behind Ezra is until I hear other 2 year olds, and then I long for him to be able to communicate as effectively as they do. We just started therapy, so hopefully he'll be caught up soon. Sean Peter's story is so encouraging to me! Thanks for sharing.

ChristianMommyWriter said...

Thanks so much for sharing this. My son will be turning two soon and has yet to call me mama. He has a speech therapist that comes every other week to help him with his speech. I pray daily for my son's communication to improve. I'll remember Sean-Peter in prayer too. Keep up the good work mom!

JamericanSpice said...

I am glad for you and your son for his progress. It also brings this to the forefront for something I should be tuned into also in regards to my children.

Raise Them Up said...

That's wonderful! It's remarkable how quickly things can progress when the time is right.

My oldest son didn't speak until three, and he didn't connect two words untill he was four. By age 8, he was diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disorder (which amounted to little more than a right hemisphere delay), and there were teacher meetings, and doctors appointments and you name it. So I can relate in a small way to the place you are at now.

If I can encourage you with anything today, it would be that God definitely is not taken by surprise by anything doctors or professionals find, and He already has a plan for it. I'm sure Miss Muh-lissa has been part of it! :)

Our son, whom we worried and prayed over much, is now excelling in many areas, participating in the gifted program, and competing in county math competitions. God is good!

It's nice to meet you. :)


Retriever said...

I am so happy to hear how well he is doing. Will pray that the progress continues and that the therapy will soon be no longer necessary. God heals our children wondrously via the right caring people.

It is so good to tackle speech problems young, before it can affect their communication with peers.

We have had our own struggles with speech with my kid with autism/PDD. In his case, tho a teen now, still a lot of trouble with articulation and talking fast when excited. We are never quite sure if it is a consequence of a protracted ear infection most of his first year of life (unresponsive to antibiotics) which some doctors say may have affected the way he hears and handles conversational back and forth or just his autism.

One thing we found very helpful (and would share this with speech and occupational therapists) was to tailor the exercises to my kid's special interests. For example, when he was having trouble learning to read, we let him play fantasy role playing games with heroes and dragons on the computer that required one to read text in each frame of the adventure. Initially, I would dutifully sit beside him and read aloud as he made his moves. Then I would read part and insist he sound out some before I would read more. Etc.

The occupational therapist could take advantage of his interest in knights to get him to practice certain moves or activities. With speech, if the material is related to the kid's particular interests, it helps.

Therapy Mom said...

Yeah! That doesn't even look like her in that picture! Way to go Peter!!!