1. So, the first thing I did was find a private speech pathologist. I did that first because I actually thought Ava wasn’t delayed enough to qualify for early intervention services from the state (turns out I was wrong about that, but I didn’t know that then). She’s got a great rapport with Ava and sees her twice a week for half an hour.
2. I found the apraxia-kids.org website. It has a great library of informational articles. Lots and lots of good information there.
3. I reserved several baby signing dvds from the library and Netflix. We watched them and decided on a set of signs to start using around the house. We shared that list and the dvds with my parents as well. Ava’s already started using signs like milk, please, thank you, all done, more, and help. She enjoys using them and often will vocalize an approximation of a word when she uses the sign. It’s been very good for her expressive communication.
4. We made communication boards. These are very simple. It’s just a piece of paper with 6 or 8 pictures on it. We tape the paper to the wall. Let me give you an example. In the kitchen we put a communication board with food pictures on it (milk, water, banana, yogurt, applesauce, cereal, carrots, snack). Now she can just point to what she wants instead of having to go through an elaborate routine of leading us to the pantry or refrigerator and getting us to open the right drawer, etc. She –loves- the communication board and requests a much wider variety of snacks now that she has a way to ask. We ended up making a second one with more options and hanging it up next to the first. If I can figure out how to post a picture, I’ll post a picture of our communication boards.
5. I did call First Steps (Missouri’s early intervention program). They’ve evaluated her (she qualified). On Thursday we’ll hold her IFSP (Individual Family Services Plan) meeting. After that she should begin seeing an early intervention therapist.
6. I’m working on preparing for the IFSP meeting. I wrote a separate post about that because it is important. I’ll also let you know how it works out.
7. We got the book The Late Talker: What to Do If Your Child Isn’t Talking Yet from the library. This was a good book. I would recommend reading it. I found it to be useful.
8. After reading about it on the apraxia-kids website and in the Late Talker book, we decided to try fish oil supplementation. (I’ll do a separate post about this at some point.)
9. We scheduled a full hearing evaluation at a local hospital. It's scheduled for Wednesday this week. It's important to rule out hearing loss of any kind. I actually scheduled this appointment about two months ago. It takes a long time at our local hospital to get an appointment. Two months ago when I became concerned, my first call was to my pediatrician. Her standard response was to have us get her hearing checked. I'm glad I didn't wait for the results of the hearing evaluation tomorrow to begin getting everything else set up. I'd be at least three months behind on getting therapy started. Three months is a long time at this age. Every month is critical for little ones.
Come back tomorrow for the "What I'm Doing So Far - Speech-Pathologist Edition"