I always like to follow-up on things I report to you here on my blog. (Follow-up is a big thing for me. I hate when other people fail to do it.) A while back I shared that our daughter is primarily non-verbal. We were waiting for her 18 month check up to discuss the issue with her pediatrician.
At that time, after ruling out Autism as a potential cause, it was recommended that SB see a speech therapist. We agreed, but had some issues getting the whole thing set up. After calling several times and not getting any action, I went in to the pediatrician's office personally to get them to follow-up. (I told you it is important to me.) That did the trick.
SB has been seeing a speech language pathologist (SLP) for a couple of months now. And while no formal diagnosis has been made, her therapist feels the most likely cause of SB's speech issues is Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). It is a "oral-motor" disorder. It is not considered to be a developmental delay. In fact, SB's language comprehension is quite advanced for her age.
That is a common characteristic for those with CAS. For most kids, their language comprehension develops at the same pace as their ability to use speech. With CAS, the latter lags significantly. It's complicated, but the basic issue is that something is awry with the messages the brain sends to the mouth for speech.
SB has been able to say a number of words, but never repeats them. The speech therapist suspects her brain is unable to reproduce the connection that caused the initial use of the word. SB babbles a great deal, but the only recognizable words she says with any consistency are Mama, Dada, No and "Da" (for that). We are seeing a wider range of sounds since she began therapy.
IF this is in fact something SB has (and it cannot be diagnosed this early on), we've got two positive things going for us. First of all, we have SB in speech therapy two days a week, which is vital for children with CAS. She loves going there. Whenever I ask if she wants to go see Miss Natalie (her speech therapist), she just lights up. And she does very well in her sessions.
Second, we began sign language with SB at a very young age. Signing is a very helpful tool for kids with CAS. It is actually recommended. So we are well ahead of the game in that respect. And thanks goodness for signing! It is often the only way SB can communicate. I plan to ramp up my signing efforts. SB is showing an ability to pick up new signs more quickly and easily now, so I want to encourage that to give her the ability to communicate effectively.
I will continue to blog about this as our journey continues. I'll let you know how SB progresses, what diagnosis is made when that time comes, and the emotions I am experiencing over this whole thing. In the meantime, if you have had a similar experience, I'd love to hear about it.