Emmy Speech Update

At Emily's two year check up, our regular doctor was out on leave. We saw another doctor who was in that day. She asked me, "How many words does Emily have?"


"No, really. Can she say milk?"





"No. She has no words."

"Hmmm. Don't worry {dismissive hand wave}, she'll come around."

A couple of months later, we were in to see our regular doctor and I mentioned this to him. He raised an eyebrow and suggested we see a speech therapist. He wasn't particularly worried, but figured early intervention would be better than waiting for her to come along on her own.

Today we saw the speech therapist. Emily has what's called: Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). It's classified as a "motor speech disorder". According to the information we received, CAS is:

"Not a muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words."

Indeed, this is a completely accurate description of Emily's efforts to speak with words. We practice making sounds at home and she watches us intently. But, when she tries to get her mouth and tongue to work together, she has real trouble. You can see the understanding in her eyes and the effort she puts into making words and then her mouth and tongue just not behaving. 

Her version of "cheese". She has a hard time bringing her teeth together to make a smile so she usually does this instead. Sometimes she gets it, but more often than not, it's an open mouth like this and the sound "eeees".

She uses a lot of gestures and symbols as word replacements. She deletes certain sounds in order to get her meaning across because making the correct sound doesn't happen for her. All of her sounds come from the back of her throat. She tongue thrusts a lot instead of making words. 

They would like to see her two times a week, but the office is about a 35 minute drive so we're gonna start with once a week and see if that is enough. I suppose if we did nothing, she would develop speech on her own, but it is seen in older children, too, so maybe this isn't something time alone would fix. Perhaps she would have a significant speech impediment and be in therapy later. Early intervention is usually more successful for this type of issue, so I'm glad to put a name to her delay and will get her on the right track. 

1 comment:

Jacquelyn said...

So glad you were able to get her a diagnosis. I'm also glad you were able to find information relating CAS to literacy problems. It's sometimes still a missing link in our field. I worked with a three year old little boy with CAS last year. I will never forget his amazing smile. Out of curiosity where are you taking her? I'm looking for potential jobs in that area

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.