Later this morning, I will be going to meet with the nurse, the speech therapist and the early intervention director person to discuss their plan for Sophia. We had her hearing test (to rule out hearing issues being the cause of speech issues) on Monday afternoon and she passed with flying colors just as I knew she would.
Anyway, we shall see what they all decide. I'm glad to finally be at the end of this process, and I thought I'd share a little bit more about what led me to get her tested in the first place.
While I was worried for a while about her lack of words, she really exploded vocabulary wise a little while ago. So then I stopped worrying. I just chalked it all up to the fact that Sophie has totally been different developmentally than my older girls. They were very verbal, but she was very active and busy, which they were not. Etcetera. However, there was still a nagging in the back of my mind that something wasn't quite right where her speech was concerned.
I really dislike being the overreactive parent who rushes to the doctor for every little sniffle, and am often too laid back with things like this, so I really was surprised by my general unease about the whole thing. So, I started really listening and studying the way her speech was developing, and the way she articulated words and sounds.
I learned that she rarely put the ending consonants on words. If it was an "m" or "n" sound it might be there, and a few other consonants would randomly show up on words she had been saying for a very long time. I learned that she can't do consonant clusters at all (and wasn't really sure if a 2 year old should be able to, but I noticed it). I learned that she has no trouble at all with vowel sounds, and often drops all the consonants in a word. I learned that if you ask her to say a word she is not familiar with or has never said, she either refuses to try or says something totally and completely unlike the word you just asked her to say. I learned that if you break apart that same word to general sounds, and then syllables, that she will be much more successful at repeating it correctly. I learned that if we practice certain words together, eventually she is able to say them more clearly.
Armed with that knowledge, and the fact that she has a vast vocabulary, but that I can't understand over half of it, I began the evaluation process. It turns out that she most likely has a mild form of apraxia of speech. In the simplest of terms, it just means there is some difficulty figuring out how to put sounds together in order to form words. Some with this disorder cannot form any consonants at all, and others just have difficulty stringing words together to make sentences. At this point, Sophie falls somewhere in between.
Ever since the speech therapist came and observed/evaluated her, we have been working on Sophie's speech at home, using some of the strategies we were given by the therapist. I am amazed by how much she has improved in just two weeks, and I am obviously encouraged, as well. She went from calling Ashley, (my sister-in-law), A-A, to saying Ashy. She also went from not even attempting to say her own name, to calling her self Shishi. However, if we break it into So and Fi, she can say both sounds quite well, she just can't put them together yet. She is really trying...you can see the concentration in her eyes as she tries to repeat sounds and words that we say.
Anyway, I guess the moral of the story is to go with your gut, and risk being the mom who is overreacting about everything, even if you hate that as much as I do. Hopefully, we'll need very little therapy to resolve the issues, but I'll find out the plan in just a little while!
All I can say, is that I'm very excited to be able to understand everything this very talkative child is trying to tell me!
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