by Amber, Contributing Writer
With a cross country move just around the corner, I am faced with one of the challenges I found most difficult in the beginning of our apraxia journey. I will be searching for new speech therapists for the boys. Believe it or not, this is the thing that worries me the most about moving our family of six from one coast to the other.
When Cason first started speech in 2012 with a diagnosis of suspected apraxia, Callen was a newborn and I was an overwhelmed mother. I looked for a private speech office that was closest to our house. I was going for convenience because I was tired from late night feedings of an infant and still getting used to having three children and trying to get everyone out the door on time. However, during those first two months I also spent a lot of time in online parent support groups and reading through articles on Apraxia-kids.org. I began to realize that while convenience was nice, it wasn’t what was best.
Cason’s first therapist had a good connection with him, but she spent a month focusing only on trying to get him to sign “more” and say “go.” I knew that sign language would be helpful for Cason while he was working on language, but I also felt he needed apraxia specific treatment at the same time. The therapist didn’t agree, so I searched for another office.
Cason’s next speech office location was definitely not convenient, but the staff knew more about apraxia. They also offered occupational therapy and could work with his oral apraxia and feeding issues. Cason began making progress within the first month of being at the new office. His SLP worked with him on vowel sounds and oral motor skills. I was so pleased with the new place, but I was still reading online that a key to treatment was frequent, intense sessions. Because of scheduling, the office could only see Cason once a week. So I set out to find another office.
They say third time’s a charm. Three months later, I found an office that was very knowledgeable about apraxia and believed that children with apraxia should be seen two to three times a week. They began seeing Cason three times a week and were using the Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol. I was so pleased with the approximations that we began hearing after just a few weeks. I was also happy the office was located a little closer to home. It was a win-win.
Fast forward a year after starting at the third office, and Callen began having speech sessions there also. They saw him twice a week due to his age and attention span. But when he turned two and received an official diagnosis of apraxia of speech, they began seeing him three times a week and also trained their staff in PROMPT therapy. For Callen, PROMPT has been more successful than the K-SLP.
So as we pack our bags and make the 2,400 mile trip, I will be searching for a new speech office that can live up to the excellent office we have been with for the past two and a half years. There are certain things I will be looking for and as my children’s advocate, I will not settle for less.
- A staff that has ample experience in evaluating and treating children with apraxia.
- A staff knowledgeable in treatments of apraxia- meaning they are trained in PROMPT and/or efficient in the use of K-SLP (because those two treatments are what work best for my sons).
- An office that believes in frequent therapy sessions for apraxia- three times a week has been most effective for Cason and Callen.
- Speech therapists that keep detailed notes of sessions and administer evaluations when needed- this helps when dealing with insurance and when needing to provide documentation to the insurance company for continued therapy.
These are just a few of the things I will be looking for as we seek out new SLPs.
Bio: Amber lives in South Carolina with her husband and four children. She has two sons diagnosed with apraxia of speech and sensory processing disorder. Her older son also has hypotonia. She is a stay at home, homeschooling mom who taught public school for eight years. In her free time, she likes to read and sew.