If you are a regular reader, you know that I decided at the end of 2012 to sign Jake up for a week of intensive speech therapy with Lynn Carahaly at Foundations Developmental House in Chandler, Arizona. Our time to visit this revolutionary SLP finally came last week and after visiting FDH, I feel like such a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.
First of all, I would like to thank Mary, author of the Mommy Square blog and a huge apraxia fighter, for planting the Lynn Carahaly seed in my brain. I am sure with all the research I have done, I would have ran across the Speech-EZ method, but I don’t know if I would ever have purchased the app or actually packed up and gone to Arizona if it weren’t for Mary’s recommendation.
So, thank you Mary! You were right; these methods do work. Thank you for caring enough to nudge me in the right direction.
In the past, I have said that a large majority of what I have learned about apraxia has been from other moms. Much of the time I have spent with apraxia has been frustrating because I never really felt like we were getting anywhere. Quite often, I felt like I knew as much about apraxia, if not more, than the professionals that we were paying top dollar for. Also in the past, I felt like it was my job to figure out to beat this thing and honestly, I felt like I was alone in that battle.
Being alone in an unfamiliar place is a scary place to be.
But, in the Fall of 2012, things started to turn around for us and for the first time since we began this journey, I saw a real glimmer of hope. I took Lynn Carahaly’s webinar through CASANA, read the Speech-EZ parent manual, and I finally found Katie, our local SLP, who was open to trying the hand cues that Lynn refers to as the “secret sauce” of her program.
Lynn Carahaly’s approach interested me because it came at a time when we had been doing the same flash cards for one full year and the same beginning sounds were still not sticking. It was an approach and a solution that brought more to the table than just practice. I also love that so much of her emphasis is on the brain and how to use it to the best of your advantage when dealing with apraxia.
Once I saw how well Jake was responding to the Speech-EZ cues, I knew visiting Foundations Developmental House to do some intensive therapy work would be great to push him to the next level.
I have to admit, back in November when I booked the intensive, there was no way I could have imagined the progress that Jake would make over the next six months. It has been nothing short of miraculous. He has gone from saying 1-2 words at a time to 6-10 word sentences. His errors are now consistent and age appropriate. Six months ago, his sounds were all over the place and now, the only sound he says incorrectly altogether is /th/, which we really worked on a lot at FDH last week.
So, why do an intensive if Jake’s doing so well?
1.) We are approaching new territory and I wanted to find out where we go from here. Jake’s latest tests showed that he is moving out of apraxia and into a phonological or expressive language disorder. Both Lynn and Katie are still keeping a mild apraxia diagnosis just because his words get broken up as he nears the end of a long sentence. He also tends to get the “beef” of a sentence, but leaves out articles like “a,” “an,” and “the.”
2.) Research proves that many of the children who have apraxia go on to have problems with spelling and reading. Jake will be five in September and I want to give him every advantage to strengthen these skills before they are a problem. Literacy and phonological awareness are big components in Lynn’s program and I wanted to hear first-hand how to best tackle any future potential problems.
3.) Repetition is an effective tool for treating apraxia because drilling a concept over and over again builds and strengthens the brain pathways necessary for speech to occur. Currently, Jake gets 30 minutes of speech 2 times a week and I wanted to push his brain to places it had never been before! At FDH he received 2-3 hours of speech for 4 days in a row.
4.) I wanted to make sure we weren’t missing anything. I frequently hear of children with apraxia having other diagnoses like sensory or auditory processing disorders. In the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered … is there more to this than meets the eye?
Now that I am back from FDH and had the pleasure of working with Lynn and Kasey, another one of her SLPs, I have peace of mind and an attack plan for the future.