Jake's Journey with Apraxia

And the Friends We Met Along the Way

After the dust settled from the holidays, I took some time to reflect on the past year and to set 2013 goals for both myself and Jake. For most of 2012, I did a weekly update on Jake’s progress and what he was doing at speech therapy. For those of you who are regular readers, you may have noticed that I stopped doing that in August. My content shifted to products, activities, and lessons I was learning instead of Jake’s actual progress or regression.

There was a reason for this.

The past few months I have attacked apraxia from several different angles. During this time, I journaled at home on a regular basis, but I wanted to wait a few months to see what Jake’s true progress was before I blogged on it. From the beginning, Jake’s apraxia has always been what seemed like one step forward and two steps back. I would see a little progress, but then the next day it would be gone. It’s hard to follow “real” progression this way on a daily or weekly basis.

Until now.

I am finally seeing consistent progress and it has been weeks since he’s regressed. I say this both with excitement and sensitivity. I know apraxia mamas have extra sensitive hearts and while they want to hear that another child is doing well, ultimately, more than anything, they want their baby to also get better.

I will be spending the month of January sharing the things that have been working for Jake. I know he is getting older, which certainly plays a role in this surge, but I have also made changes in the type of speech therapy he is getting, his education, and his diet.  I genuinely in my heart of hearts, feel like these things have contributed to his progress.

So, what’s different with my Lil’ Man? Is he speaking perfect? What has made me feel like we finally have a shot at beating this thing?

He still has many mispronunciations, but for the first time since we began this journey, I feel like everything is going to be okay. And if he’s not 100 percent cured by the time he starts kindergarten, then I can accept that.

I think the biggest accomplishment this year is that he now has the capability to speak. If he says a word wrong, I can now correct him with a hand cue and he says it correctly. More complicated words may take a couple of tries, but he is trying and it’s not that far off. He is also much more intelligible to other people and he usually replies back to people in public if asked a question.

Jake speaks in some sentences now and the clarity of each word in the sentence or phrase has improved.  It doesn’t sound like one big approximation anymore. Also, if he shouts a demand like, “Apple juice!” I can correct him by saying, “How do you ask for apple juice nicely?” Most of the time he can do it on his own, but other times I script the entire question, “May I have apple juice please?” And he can repeat it.

Every day his spontaneous conversation improves and we have found out there’s a funny personality behind that sweet grin of his. Even though he’s still missing a lot of sounds, he is using real conversation now and not just mimicking. When his spontaneous conversation was just emerging in November, he would get confused and sometimes respond with a phrase that didn’t make sense, but each day this skill becomes more accurate.

He is also able to look at a picture and tell you what it is. I had seriously started to doubt if this would ever happen! It finally clicked at the end of November and he hasn’t slowed up.

When I look back on video clips from the past year, I realize how far he’s come. His speech since December of 2011 is significantly different and even his speech from June through September isn’t nearly as clear as it is now. Another thing that really caught my eye when I looked at the old videos is that he doesn’t seem to have ants in his pants anymore; he was always itchy and squirmy. Yes, he’s still hyper and silly when the camera is on, but his entire demeanor has changed and I think this is a direct result of the diet and supplements.

11 thoughts on “Beating Apraxia

  1. Tara says:

    As always … you and Jake continue to inspire those of us who are brand new on this journey … I’m SO happy for you and Jake!!!! His progress is truly incredible!!!!!!!! Also, when he says “I love you too much” … could that be any cuter?!??!!?!? 🙂 Thank you again for giving me and my little man hope … Right now, he still only has 1 word. That’s it. Just 1. Such frustrating and SLOW progress … I can’t wait to hear about Jake’s nutrition plan! I just started B on fish oils …..

  2. Jenny says:

    Oh my gosh! He is doing so great! He’s so lucky to have such a great mama! Colt loved watching the video said Jake was “cool” and “funny”

  3. jen landaverry says:

    Wow, I could cry!! It’s like he is a different child! Can’t wait to hear all of what you did!! Share the secret!

  4. Melissa says:

    Thanks for sharing the video! What amazing progress! I am so happy for Jake (and for you). You give me hope and the motivation to continue all of the hard work, planning and effort that we are putting in to beating apraxia at my house. I anxiously look forward to hearing my little guy sing a song or speak in phrases!!! I know our day will come too. Thank you!

  5. Maureen says:

    My son Trevor just turned 4 last week and this has been a year of progress for us as well. LIke you, I can go back to last January and I remember feeling hopeless. The past 3 months we’ve seen progress— we finally have end sounds (although vowels still very limited)!!! I can’t wait to read your nutrition plan. I really enjoy following your blog, thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  6. tstarmom says:

    Girls, Thanks so much for your comments! I love my online support group. 🙂

  7. Jordan says:

    Can’t wait to see Jake’s nutrition plan. Is he a picky eater?

    1. tstarmom says:

      Jordan- Jake’s always been a decent eater – not super picky, but he’s never agreed to eat just anything. Also, his food allergies have always prevented him from eating treats like cookies, chocolate bars, etc. so we’ve never had to fight that battle. Once we started the diet he became a much better eater … especially with protein. His diet is limited (I just feed him what he likes & make him try new things here and there), but it’s healthy so I try not to over think it.

  8. Vida says:

    I’ve been reading your blog this week (from beginning to end) and today I got to this final post. My son just turned 3 in December and we just “discovered” apraxia in November. He has been in EI since just before 2 and while he makes approximations now they are not anywhere near right IYKWIM. Knowing he is not just speech delayed like his older sister is hard as we haven’t traveled this path before and he won’t just get better as time goes by. Your blog is very inspirational and lets me see a little bit down the path so to speak. Just now I was watching Jake’s video and my little boy came up and watched along with me. He basically “said” that “he’s just like me” and then began attempting to sing jingle bells! 🙂 It was so cute.

    1. tstarmom says:

      Vida- Melt. My. Heart. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. Wow!! He is making such great progress!! I can only hope we have this much progress in the next year.

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