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.
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.