Emily will be turning 3 in April. At that point, we will move from our current therapy, provided by the county, to our school district's care. We have begun the transition process which requires her to be re-assessed by her therapists.
In December, the same team that initially came out to see if Emmy qualified for care (back in July), came back to test her progress.
When Emily answered the door and said, "Hello!" the assessors mouths dropped open in total shock and then they quickly exclaimed, "She's talking!!!!!"
The first time they met Emmy, she couldn't say "Hi", let alone, "Hello". She couldn't say her own name. She was almost mute. If she did try to communicate, she would use grunting sounds accompanied by gestures to relate her ideas.
A short 6 months later, her speech progress has been remarkable!
Per their latest assessment Emily, at 32 months, tested at these levels:
- Self care: 31 months (she's not potty trained yet and this particular test expects a child to be fully trained by 24 months)
- Personal Responsibility: 42 months
- Adult interaction: 37 months
- Peer interaction: 40 months
- Self concept & social role: 32 months
- Receptive Communication: 41 months
- Expressive Communication: 34 months (speech. this was at 12 months in July!)
- Gross motor skills: 36 months
- Fine motor skills: 36 months
- Perceptual motor skills: 46 months
-Attention & Memory: 36 months
- Reasoning & Academic skills: 37 months
- Perception & Concepts: 38 months
As you can see, Emily is either right on for her age or quite a bit ahead.
Now, the speech assessment can be a little deceiving. Since we've been in therapy, Emily has made all of the developmental leaps one would expect. Her vocabulary has expanded a ton, her use of pronouns as emerged, she speaks in complete sentences, etc. etc. However, her words, while there, are not completely intelligible. She drops most of the final consonants. She backs some sounds that should be made at the front of her mouth. BUT, those things are very normal for her age in a lot of children.
When they saw her improvement, the team cautioned me that we might be dropped from services. There are two reasons we might be be eligible: 1.) She has the diagnosis of Apraxia. Whether it is correct or not, it still stands. 2.) She ages out in a few months and they might let us hang around until her birthday since it's not too far away.
Two of her therapists have even said they believe she might have been mis-diagnosed. They have never seen a child with Apraxia made such huge changes in such a short time. They are thinking she might have a phonological delay, rather than a brain function issue. As a mom, this is a huge relief. But, Emily is still young enough that it's hard to differentiate between the two types of delays. She really needs to get to be 4 or 5 before they can settle on a name for what ails her. I'm not pushing the issue because she really does need therapy, and the school district will almost always provide therapy to a child with a diagnosis. Otherwise, they make the determination based on the assessment that is provided by our current care team; in our case, it's completely misleading. While she is speaking, she isn't forming her words correctly. Emily does still need structured therapy to continue to make the type of progress she's been making.
The school district representative will come out Thursday to make her own determination. I will fight for her to receive at least some type of therapy. Even if it's one day a week, having someone other than me working with her would be helpful. I do a lot with her at home, but I try not to nag the poor child. I mimic what we do in therapy, but don't kill her with repetition or demand perfection. I try really hard to read her cues with regard to possible burn-out and not push her to the point of resistance. The therapists have all recognized our efforts at home which is nice since some of the things we do as parents often go un-noticed.
My goal is to have Emily in a place where she can attend our preschool next year (next year!!!) and have a weekly speech therapy session with the district. Our therapists think this is the perfect plan for Emmy. The district may have a different idea and encourage us to put Emmy in the "special needs" school here in town. Every therapist we've worked with has said that wouldn't be a good fit for Emmy because her need for support is strictly limited to speech. We will take it one meeting at at time.
I took a quick video of Emily using some words. Here's the link: http://youtu.be/awc-ZbBkGm4.