I feel like I’ve won the lottery. I know how astoundingly lucky we are that Ava has been so responsive to therapy (and fish oil supplementation?). I know that some children work just as hard, or harder, for months and see so much less progress. Their parents are right there with them feeling the frustration and fears too.
Three months ago all I knew was Ava had three words: /mo/ for “more”, /uh oh/, and /da?/ for everything else. I knew that she wasn’t even trying to talk anymore and was resorting to more and more gestures. I knew she didn’t even babble other sounds and that she couldn’t imitate. When she was evaluated by early intervention she tested at the 4 month old level. I had two different therapists besides myself tell me that Ava had many of the early red flag signs of apraxia.
I admit it. I panicked. As a speech-language pathologist I knew exactly what that meant. I knew we were dealing with a neurological motor planning speech disorder that can take several years of intensive speech therapy to address. And I so didn’t want that kind of struggle to be part of Ava’s life. I know hardships are a part of life, but she’s my baby and I didn’t want this one for her. I worked my way through the initial denial and then depression. I ended up in a productive place where I researched, planned and set up a therapy schedule for Ava.
I prepared my family for the worst. Severe apraxia seemed like a definite possibility given how behind she was. However, I told them that we wouldn’t know how bad it was until we saw how she responded to therapy. And it turns out, she responds well.
That changes things. The fear that she might still be using single words when she starts school is gone. Now, whether anyone will understand her…? We still have so far to go. By no means is her speech that of a typical two year old. But there’s been progress and that much is a profound relief.