Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New speech therapist ~ Apraxia specialist

Noah started therapy yesterday with Lynn Carahaly at Foundations Developmental House. She is the apraxia specialist that hosted the seminar I went to a couple of weeks ago.

Right now she is really just letting Noah get to know her while she observes the way he will learn best.

My goal is to document via video his progress. Let it be known, my boy WILL TALK!!! Please dear Lord, hear our prayers..

This is where they are working on "the four corner vowels". These are the vowels that put your mouth in the most extreme positions to get his mouth and mind used to flowing from one to another.

Here they are working mostly on CV, consonant/vowel combinations. It is all prompted right now, with very limited approximations, but this is only the beginning ;-)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Talking with Apraxia...

It has been suggested in the past that Noah has verbal apraxia, also know as childhood apraxia of speech, or CAS.

Childhood apraxia of speech is a neurological speech sound disorder in which the precision and consistency of movements underlying speech are impaired in the absence of neuromuscular deficits. The core impairment in planning and/or programming parameters of movement sequences results in errors in speech and sound production and prosody.

Basically, Noah knows what he wants to say, however as the sound travels from his brain to his mouth, it doesn't come out as intended. Also, there could be issues with the way he "hears" the sounds so when he attempts to say something it isn't with the proper sound and syllable of the word (prosody).

Today I went to an all day seminar with Lynn Carahaly, founder of The Speech EZ Apraxia Program. Wow!!! What amazing information. Typically when I attend a seminar, by lunch time I am beginning to shut down and I am mentally spent by mid afternoon. Today, I literally couldn't get enough!
8:00 - 5:30 and I was still hanging around to talk to people!

Lynn Carahaly, M.A., CCC-SLP is the owner and director of Foundations Developmental House, LLC located in both Chandler/Gilbert, Arizona. Lynn received her Bachelor's and Master's degree from The Ohio State University and is pursuing her Ph.D. in the field of Speech Language Pathology. Lynn is a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association, the National Coalition on Auditory Processing Disorders, and the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

Her area of expertise is with the treatment of Apraxia of Speech, Auditory Processing Disorders, related disorders and learning disabilities. Lynn Carahaly is a published researcher and has authored several articles on the topic of Auditory Processing Disorders and Speech and Language Disorders. She is also the developer of The Speech-EZ® Apraxia Program.

How blessed are we that she is basically in our back yard. Noah has been going to intensive speech therapy, 4x a week, since June at a very reputable place in town. I love Noah's speech therapist's, and he has been making progress. However, based on what I learned today we have been doing some things that are really detrimental for apraxia.
Ex: segmenting words... You should never segment a word to teach a child with apraxia to speak. So what we have been doing for the word "book". We would have Noah say "buh" then "oooh". With visual "prompt" motions helping him to remember the "b" and the round lips for "oooh". What we should be doing is have Noah get his lips in the rounded motion, then "pop" his lips to say the "buh" and it is natural for him to move into the "oooh", creating the flow of "booh"

I know I'm not doing this example any justice, but it sure resonated with me! So, as much as I like Noah's current therapists, I am switching to Lynn (and I can actually see her, not one of her underlings). (At SPSL where he currently is, you are evaluated by Anita Warner, the founder and big wig, but then you work with SLP's under her).

Lynn does a lot of work with motor planning issues and processing skills. She is also a certified Listening Program provider. So, she is basically incorporating all that we are doing with the NACD as well!

So, we shall see. I am hoping to begin on Monday. The downside... Noah's current therapists are about 12-15 minutes away. The new place will be about 35-40 minutes. But travel doesn't matter if my little man finds his voice! Cost, well that's another issue, but by the Grace of God my mom helps to supplement Noah's speech therapy! Thank You Grandma J-9 (Aaamaa) ;-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Special Needs"

"I have a child with special needs". I hardly ever say that. I usually state that my little man was born with Down syndrome. I look at his extra chromosome with the same awe that I do his blonde hair and blue eyes, its just what makes up Noah.

I've researched so much information since he was born 4 years ago, but not necessarily about DS. I have focused on Noah and his needs specifically. Nutrition, neurodevelopment, physical goals and our current challenge with speech. All of these are things I would be doing regardless of his "label".

I've struggled and still do, but not with his diagnosis, with expectations. I will never lower my expectations for Noah, I just need to continue to remind myself that he will accomplish all that is needed, but more importantly, he will accomplish and master these tasks on his own timeline. That doesn't mean I don't encourage and push him to do more, to try harder and be the best he can be; that thought process is for me to accept him and his efforts... today.

Noah has and continues to teach me to live in the present moment. My daughter Devin, our days were filled with what lower school will she attend to be accepted into the best high school for her greatest success in college that will look good on her resume for grad school...It was never ending!!!

I found myself going in that same direction with Noah. To the point that last summer he was accepted into an elite little prep school for their summer program. MY goal for Noah was to attend their summer school program and PROVE to the board of directors that Noah can do all and be all that the other preschool children are. MY idea was to educate the educators - oh yeah, and all this was at Noah's expense. See I figured I would work with Noah every afternoon to teach him what the next days lesson would be so when he was at school it would be review for him and he could keep up the with class.
HELLO! What about his well being? His downtime? His life? There was such a huge amount of accomplishment that was recognized by all who heard of his acceptance that I felt that I was doing it, I was proving to the world that Noah is amazing - he must be if this incredible school would consider him for enrollment.
Ugh! It's incredulous how our ego tramples over us and we don't even realize we are roadkill!

But, by the Grace of Noah, I saw the light :-) He is attending his Montessori school, doing well and is a happy little man!

Tonight I was talking with a friend, a very knowledgeable friend about Autism. I was asking her questions and I described a child as being "autistic". It wasn't until after we hung up that I realized that probably wasn't appropriate. A child has Autism, just as Noah has Down syndrome; he isn't a Down syndrome child.

There is a movement in the special needs community called People First Language...

People First Language (PFL) represents more respectful, accurate ways of communicating. People with disabilities are not their diagnoses or disabilities; they are people, first.

One of the five apples is green. One in every five American has a disability, making people with disabilities the largest minority group and the only group that anyone can join at any time: at birth or through an accident, illness, or the aging process.

A green apple is more like red apples than different; a person with a disability is more like people without disabilities than different. The U.S. Developmental Disabilities Act states, "Disability is a natural part of the human experience..."

So, yes, I have been a member of the special needs community for over four years, yet I continue to learn something new and to apply that knowledge every day.

And for the record... Noah IS Amazing! Regardless of what school he attends, how many words he can say, or his potential IQ. He is my little man whom I love with all of my heart and who melts the hearts of all those around him. I often wonder, who has the special needs????