This week I hung the following picture that I got from the House of Krause blog on my refrigerator:
Last summer, I ran across this picture, which was in the author’s January 6, 2010 Apraxia of Speech-Does it Ever Melt Away? post. Over the past year, I’ve referred back to it on several occasions. The following is an excerpt from her post:
When Luke was initially diagnosed some one explained things to me in a way that really made a lot of sense. They said to think of the brain as a spider web, connections running in all different directions. If one part of the web is broken or disconnected, there is usually another pathway that can be used to get to the same place. It may take longer. It will take help, but you can get there. That was a great way for me to visualize the situation. It still really bothered me though to think that forever Luke will have to think about that secondary pathway to speak. This was inaccurate thinking on my part because if Luke learns to speak using a secondary pathway, isn’t that a first pathway for him? He would never know any difference. Does this make any sense? Anyhow, I’ve been doing some research on the toddler brain, it is an AMAZING thing. I have a better understanding of why early intervention is so important.
Seventy-five percent of the total brain growth occurs between one to three years. By the age of three, a toddler’s brain has formed about 1,000 trillion pathways or synapses about twice as many as we have. The toddler’s brain is super dense and primed for learning. When a pathway is used repeatedly, it becomes permanent; a pathway used infrequently is lost. This goes along with the old saying, use it or lose it! This is actually true.
This post speaks loud and clear to me. It is a reminder to myself to give Jake as many opportunities as possible to learn on a daily basis. And I, like the author, am mesmerized with the brain and the behind-the-scenes work that is required in order for speech to occur.