August 24, 2012

Coming round the mountain

Shortly after SB was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech, I wrote this post. The other night at dinner, I suddenly realized SB IS a little girl who talks a mile a minute.

It's hard to believe, really. I anticipated it would take much longer to get to this point.

But hubby and I just stared at each other in amazement as she went on and on, and on, the other night. It's one of the things I love about family dinner time. The electronics are off. The pace is slowed. And we can all connect.

Dinner is the time for big conversations in our house, too. SB has asked us lots of big questions about major life topics around the kitchen table. Like God, death, puberty and where babies come from.

It is also when she blows us away with how much she knows. The other night we were talking about the new baby lion born at our zoo. She asked how it had been born, and we got in to a conversation about animals who lay eggs versus animals who give birth.

Hubby explained that animals with fur, like lions, are mammals. And mammals grow babies in their bellies just like humans. She retorted with, "What about the platypus? The platypus is a mammal and it lays eggs."

What?! (We owe the PBS Kids show Wild Kratts for that knowledge.)

Recently we were enjoying a post-dinner popsicle, and SB asked how they were made. I told her they were made using a machine. "What about people," she asked.

"People run the machines," I explained.

And then she said, "A long time ago, people made things by hand. Machines hadn't been invented yet."

She's THREE YEARS OLD, people! This impresses me as being rather advanced conversation for her age. I know every mom thinks her child is a genius. But at camp a few weeks ago, her counselor specifically commented on the sophistication level of her speech.

Her vocabulary is impressive. The mechanics of speech is still something she is still working on.

SB continues to attend speech therapy two days a week, and will be for the foreseeable future. She scored in the 11th percentile for her age on the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation (2) last week.

There are a number of sounds she cannot make. For example, they have been working with her for months and months on S combinations: sm, sn, sp, st... And she still can't make the sounds consistently.

She recently started substituting the "t" sound for the "k" sound at the end of words. Which baffles her speech therapists. She will say things like, "loot" instead of "look." Although she pronounces the vowels correctly. So they are working with her on that.

She places "b" at the front of words where it doesn't belong. And does not pronounce it when it does. Examples: "bomato" for tomato and "affore" for before.

But overall, SB's speech is fantastic. Better than I could have dreamed of. To me, it's a shining example of what a difference early intervention can make.

I refused to listen to the "she's just a late talker" comments. I knew something was wrong very early on. I pressed for an evaluation. Hubby and I have made many sacrifices to pay for her therapy (it's not covered by our insurance and the quality of the state-provided program is not high).

SB has worked so incredibly hard. She has never given up or allowed herself to be discouraged. She has given it her all and never let her speech disorder hold her back.

There have been many tears along the way. Happy and sad tears. It has not been easy. It has been 100% worthwhile.

My child has a beautiful voice.
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