Ronan had his first speech therapy session today.
Our therapist is a sweet young woman. Until she gives me permission to use her name on my blog, I will call her Miss Lisa.
Miss Lisa showed up about 15 minutes early, but Ronan and I walking around outside. She got out of her car, and I figured that she was our therapist and introduced myself. Ronan immediately held his hands out to her so she would hold him, and he gave her a big hug. I can’t help but wonder if it warmed her heart as much as it warmed mine. I love that we have raised such a sweet boy.
After her very loving introduction, Miss Lisa came in the house, walked into the living room, sat on the floor and immediately started engaging Ronan in play. She brought a few toys with her that Ronan was very excited about. At his tender young age of two, there will be very little actual “therapy” happening, and much more “play therapy.” While playing, Miss Lisa models sounds and words that she wants him to mimic, and then encourages him to try. She has prompts and techniques that help him try to make the correct sound. For example, when he wants “more” she asks him to say “Mmmm-mmmm-MORE.” While making the mmm sound, she holds two fingers over her lips to show him how his lips should move for an M. She then holds her fingers over his lips and encourages him to try again.
We were really blown away by Ronan’s willingness to try what she asked, both physically and verbally. There were a lot of sounds that she asked for that he couldn’t say, but he attempted nearly everything. Today, for the first time, he said “Bye-bye,” instead of his typical “Aa-yo!” (which means bye-bye.) Immediately afterwards, I noticed that Ronan had started using the “B” sound very much more in his jabber. It is encouraging to see how quickly little ones take to proper instruction, and it helps to understand why early intervention is so key.
Miss Lisa explained to us that Ronan has many of the red flags of Apraxia – repeating the same syllables over and over, unable to mimic sounds the way he hears them, comprehension above the level of his speech, etc. – however, a diagnosis of Apraxia is not usually handed out until a child is three years old. She told us today that with his level of willingness, and how quickly he appears to be catching on, it’s entirely possible that he does “have” apraxia, but will progress so well over the next year that he may never be given the official diagnosis. I can’t help but tell you that hearing that made my day.
We set up our permanent speech therapy schedule, and will be seeing Miss Lisa twice a week. I plan to update my blog weekly with Ronan’s Apraxia progress, and have some neat ideas coming. Part of me hopes that other parents facing an apraxia diagnosis can come here and see what it’s all about, as well as finding out that it may not be as scary as it seems. So stay tuned.