Last week was Jake’s follow-up appointment with our holistic physician. It had been three months since our last appointment and she was very pleased with all of Jake’s progress. My two biggest questions were: 1.) How much longer before we can start putting food that he is intolerant to back into his diet? 2.) What should I do about his four and five-year old vaccinations?
Beginning in August, we are going to start catching him up on vaccinations and we will be doing one every month and a half. I like this approach and feel that it is a safe way to handle it. Secondly, Jake needs to be on his diet for a full year before we start reintroducing foods. A year sounds like forever! But then, I realized something – he’s been on his diet for almost five months already. Time has flown by; probably because the past few months have been filled with some pretty stressful moments.
Speech therapy was no exception. Summer to fall of 2012 was difficult for us and when Jake started his new diet/supplementation plan, it just got worse. He could no longer sit in that tiny little plastic chair and repeat those flash cards anymore. He was over it. He was speaking better than ever at home, but doing terrible in speech therapy. For anyone who has ever experienced this problem, it is frustrating for all parties involved.
In retrospect, however, it’s easy to see the things that make us uncomfortable typically force us to make a change.
In October I took Lynn Carahaly’s webinar “Auditory Processing Deficits in Children with CAS: Effects on Speech Production and Literacy.” Thanks to a recommendation from a fellow apraxia mama friend, the Speech-EZ apraxia iPad app, which Lynn created, was already in our arsenal of apraxia tools. I spent much of last year going to speech therapy twice a week and drilling these electronic flash cards once or twice a week. I would focus on sounds that we were working on with our SLP.
After taking Lynn’s webinar, I read the entire Speech-EZ parent manual front to back. Once I became educated in her approach, which I think is genius, I learned that we had been treating Speech-EZ like an iPad app, not as the apraxia program that it is. A big component of her program uses hand cues for sounds and since Jake did so well with Zoo-Phonics over the summer, I knew he’d be a great candidate for this method.
Although I had hinted around to my SLP that Jake was very receptive to hand cues, she had not been doing them. In November she had to cancel a therapy session and I saw another SLP in her practice.
The rest is history. Jake had the best therapy session of his life with the substitute SLP. Many times during those thirty minutes, my eyes were flooded with tears because words I had never heard before were flying out of his mouth like magic.
Fate. The new SLP did hand cues with him and the response was phenomenal. While he had really progressed with our other SLP for most of the year, I think he simply needed a change. I could sense that his speech was at the brink of bigger and better things and hand cues have been a great tool to push him to the next level.
Our new SLP is doing the Speech-EZ cues in therapy twice a week and I am doing the same ones at home. She and Jake’s chemistry is still great and I feel beyond blessed to have such a strong, open-minded, knowledgeable, intuitive, and hard-working SLP on Team Jake!
Also, I am such a fan of Lynn Carahaly’s program, that Jake will be doing a four-day intensive at Foundations Developmental House in May. I am beyond thrilled to give Jake this opportunity and since he will be turning five in September, I am especially interested in the importance Lynn places on including phonological awareness in the early intervention treatment for apraxia. Jake loves books and if he needs extra help reading and writing, I want the best helping him to achieve this.
At one point, I thought Jake would end up at the Kaufman Children’s Center for intensive services with the miracle worker Nancy Kaufman, but I think with his current rate of progression, Foundations Developmental House is a better fit for us. He has found his voice, he just needs a little TLC to perfect it.
Click here to learn more about Foundations Developmental House.