Monday, July 6, 2015

Theron Drake: Apraxia Update

I don't think I've talked much about Theron and his speech issues on the blog. Long story short: by 18 months we knew something wasn't "right" and had him tested where he showed a 30% verbal delay. By two years old he did not have a single word but was in speech therapy once a week that continued until he was three years old. 

Theron's speech therapist, Ms. DeDe, was a GODSEND and worked so very hard with our stubborn little guy. She never gave up on him and encouraged him to work hard, try his best, and make even the simplest of sounds. She was the one to diagnose him with Apraxia, something I had researched and assumed he had. By the end of their time together I was super emotional about her having to stop due to Illinois law. David and I are convinced that she is/was one of the most influential people in Theron Drake's life. 

At 2.5 years old, Theron started daycare since my Maw Maw became ill (she's better now after they found and removed the colon cancer--thankfully!) and couldn't care for him anymore. He has done wonderful adjusting and I think the social interaction with peers his own age has also done amazing things for his speech development. 

When Theron turned three he started Early Childhood and began his IEP for more speech therapy. During the school year he goes to "little school" in the morning and then the bus picks him up to take him to "big school" for a half day. We are fortunate that at three years old the school district is responsible for providing services if the need is present. Luckily, Theron liked his new speech teacher and classroom teacher and responded well to both of them. We have high hopes that he will like next year's teachers the same. 

Fast forward to the present and Theron Drake has so many words we can't keep up! His pronunciation and sequencing is probably not at age level but he gets closer and closer every single day. Take today for instance, Theron usually substitutes the hard "c" sound for a "ch" or a "t" but totally nailed saying "cookie", "Connie", and "Carol" (both grandma's names) clear as day tonight! Also, he jabbers all of the time and speaks in long sentences. 

David and I get so proud of him and then he smiles so big and it makes him proud of himself. I would be lying if I told you I didn't tear up every time this happens. I honestly did not know if he would ever talk. And that's not me being dramatic, some people with Apraxia don't ever talk. As a mom, I have normal fears of kids being mean to him for not speaking clearly or leaving him out if they can't understand him. I don't want anyone to be hurtful to my all can relate, I'm certain!

During one of our recent nighttime reading sessions David took this video and it amazes me to hear how far he's come. 

He used to refuse to say almost anything and only point to words he recognized & now he says words with gusto! Parenting is such a rollercoaster of emotions and experiencing this hurdle has taught me so much about persistence, patience, faith, love, and empathy. 

Anyone else know someone with Apraxia? I'd love to hear their story if so! 



Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

Oh, I'm so happy to hear how well he's doing and progressing! And I also admire you two for your tenacity - as parents, we have to be our kids' advocates. And sometimes that's hard work. You are such wonderful parents and Theron is so lucky to have you in his life.

Sabrina said...

You must be so proud of Theron! I have not heard of Apraxia, but after reading your story and a little bit about it, it sounds like what my little guy went through. At 18 months he was not saying any words, and we were pretty concerened. His doctor gave us a refereral to the Help Me Grow program. HMG is a state funded program that sends speech therapists/occupational therapist/physical therapists to your home for children birth to three that have developmental issues. So every week a really awesome woman came to our house and worked with my son. I honestly thought he would never talk. All he did was make noises and then would scream when no one understoon him. He is now 2.5 and he is chatting non-stop (sometimes it's a little hard to understand him) but overall, he is very verbal. We are so proud of him! :)

Emily @ imperfect said...

What an awesome post, Joi! So happy to hear that Theron is doing wonderfully - and love seeing all the fun you guys are having in all of the photos you post on IG :)

Unknown said...

Joi, I'm so thrilled to hear Theron's story!!! Its very similar to Avery's its incredible! Actually sending an email right now!

Gpaulauskis said...

So happy for you, Dave and Theron!!! I can't even imagine what a rollercoaster this has been for you guys, but your joy is palpable!! You're doing a great job with him, all while taking care of your new bundle-to-be!!


flowergarden129 said...

Hi. I'm really glad to hear that Theron is doing so well. I've followed your blog for a long time, although I don't think I've ever commented before, but I remember when he was a baby and how challenging he was. What relief you must feel to have him finally talking and catching up so rapidly.

I don't want to raise your anxiety, but I do want to alert you to one thing to keep an eye on. I am a pediatric neuropsychologist, and I test zillions of kids with histories like Theron's. Usually once their expressive language comes in, and they are talking fairly normally, the school (and the parents) think that the problem is resolved. However, it's really really common for these kids to continue to have subtle language delays that can affect their learning. Often they don't emerge again until around third grade or later, when the work gets harder. They may have trouble with written expression, or with understanding complex concepts that the teacher is talking about. Usually after a couple of years of confusion about why their obviously bright verbal kid is having trouble in school, parents get him/her retested and (if the evaluation is thorough enough--the school's free evaluation isn't always) the language delay is still there and needs further remediation. So, obviously I hope that isn't your experience with Theron, but I just want to encourage you (and other parents reading this) to keep an eye on it. As always, if further problems emerge, it's better to get help sooner rather than later.

But, meanwhile, he is so cute you could die! Good luck with him and with your new little one. I love your blog.


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