Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Therapy Progress - Steady Progress and Subtle Change

I was looking back at all of Ava’s progress reports and I realized that her progress has been very steady. Every 3 weeks or so, significant progress has been made. Here’s a quick summary.

  • Beginning of January – Ava had only three “words” and very few consonants and vowels.  She couldn’t imitate.  She was starting to use gestures instead of even trying to communicate verbally.  We began therapy and Omega 3 supplementation in January.
  • End of JanuaryAt this point Ava would imitate when bribed with food.  She had learned several new consonant sounds and was using 15-20 words spontaneously.
  • Middle of February - Ava was spontaneously trying to label things.  She had started two syllable words like “nanuh” for banana and “baby”.  She was making further progress on consonants and some progress on vowels.
  • First Week of March - She started putting two words together make short phrases and sentences.  It was a huge step.  We were getting 3-4 syllables strung together at a time.  
  • End of MarchAva was continuing to practice multi-word utterances.  She was using them more frequently and would often use three word sentences.  Occasionally we would even hear a four word sentence.  We started using Nutriiveda.
At the moment, we’re trying to add a little clarity to Ava’s words.  Before, her words had no final consonants (“ha” for hat) and no medial consonants (“pu-ee” for puppy).  We’re using gestural cues to help her add those back in.  It’s working.  She’s occasionally doing it spontaneously (she’ll add the /t/ in the middle of turtle), but most of the time we have to remind her (using the cues).  When she’s imitating I’d say she’s successful about half the time.  It depends on the sound.  She does a great job with /t/ and /p/, but /d/, /b/, /n/ and /m/ are harder.  She doesn’t have /k/, /g/, /f/, or /v/ at all, so we aren’t even trying with those. 

All of these things are very concrete.  These are the kinds of things that speech pathologists choose as goals and can collect data on to track change.  I talk about this kind of progress because I am a speech pathologist and these changes make sense to me.  I’m proud of them.

There has also been a more subtle kind of change.  This is the change that my husband and parents notice.  It’s less about specific sounds, utterance length, and data and more about Ava as a person.  There’s been a change in her confidence.  She’s talking more.  She’s talking when she’s by herself in another room.  She’s chattering away in the back seat of the car.  She’s trying to sing, laugh, and make jokes.  She has conversations with her parents, grandparents, and brother.  She is no longer the baby who had to grab my hand and drag me to the refrigerator, pound on the door to get me to open it, and point to ask me for milk.  Now she can just ask, “Mi pea!” (Milk, please!)   It’s been a wonderful change to watch.

How do you measure progress in your little ones?


  1. So glad to have found you:) My daughter is 7 with Apraxia...these are also how we measure success..right now it is how she is picking up on reading..her visual memory is fantastic..trying to merge the two worlds..teaching her phrases to say as well as show her how to spell them for another cue...interesting stuff..keeps me up many a night!

  2. I'm glad to be found Izzy. Welcome! I think it is great that you're using your daughter's great visual memory skills to help cue her speech. Wonderful idea. At a little over two, we aren't using that strategy with Ava yet, but who knows what the future holds.

  3. This is a great blog THANK YOU for taking time to write this up. This seems the story of my Sara, she is 2 and 1/2, had several delays that now we know related to hypermobility and hypotonia (we had to move to the UK before someone noticed she was not growing out them as I have been poitning out from birth!!). Her speech is very delayed too. I have found that hympermobile children can be dyspraxic, but reading your blog Sara has had a very similar development to Ava. For her the turning point has been learning Makaton sign language, it has given her the courage to try more. I am going to read all your posts and I hope our beautiful children will be able to communicate in the way they always wanted to!


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