It has been a year since my baby bee, KB, was “diagnosed” with Apraxia. I put “diagnosed” in quotes because it isn’t really a diagnosis to me. It is just life and something we will get through. Something we will outgrow. Outgrowing Apraxia takes time. It truly does. I remember when Marty first told me something wasn’t quite right with her. I brushed him off. Seriously? What does he know? She’s the third child and they all speak for her. Plus, she’s the baby. She doesn’t need to talk. She communicates just fine.
“She doesn’t need to talk. She communicates just fine.”
That was something I should have never thought or let come into my mind. Months passed and we finally had someone come to our house and evaluate her. On paper, KB was spectacular. She was off the charts in communication. Ha. Go figure. I knew it. But those numbers were only abnormally high because she had figured out ways to communicate. She didn’t need words. She had her ways of getting her point across. She also became very independent very quickly. The wonderful woman who was evaluating her was simply that – wonderful. She pulled out of her briefcase a pamphlet on Apraxia. She briefly explained what it was and said she’d love to send someone else by to do more evaluations. We coordinated times and she left. I immediately went to the trusty ‘ole Google. That’s like going to WebMD for a symptom you have – Everything is cancer and you are dying! It wasn’t smart to google Apraxia. It seems everyone had these worst case scenarios and weeks filled with therapies.
What is Apraxia? According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), “Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.”
Another therapist came to the house to see if she would need other therapies, like Occupational and Food. KB played and she took notes. She handed me some pamphlets and left. Next to arrive to our house that week was another therapist. She would end up coming to the house weekly with the best random toys. KB started to learn quickly. It wasn’t until those appointments, where I sat on the couch and videoed on my phone, that I realized she did have a problem. She had a serious problem that I let get out of control because I was secretly in denial.
“…Nothing happens in this life by chance. All moments, people, places, and events occur in our lives because they are suppose to. They embed themselves into our hearts and etch memories into our brain – good or bad…”
All things happen for a reason. I believe that completely. Nothing happens in this life by chance. All moments, people, places, and events occur in our lives because they are suppose to. They embed themselves into our hearts and etch memories into our brain – good or bad. When I started this blog – 3 Busy Bees – it was to capture all the crazy of this “surprise” pregnancy. I’ve since deleted most of my posts but that’s for another day. The “Bees” became a name for us online. Then they became a wooden toy that would teach KB to speak. Her therapist had these wooden bee hives with the bees inside. KB loved them. I mean she loved them, especially her “purple bee”. In order to play with the bees she had to follow commands and say certain words and 2-3 word sentences.
“Purple Bee. Where are you?”
Those two sentences were sometimes the hardest thing for her. Getting the words from her brain to her mouth and then out seemed like such a struggle. She would go through the 6 colors – red, blue, yellow, orange, purple, and green. Bees brought a new meaning into the house. My baby bee was loving her bees. Marty would see the videos and he bought her the same Bee Hive set with the Bees when her time with the program ended because she aged out. Ah. She aged out.
Fast forward to now. Last week, KB “tested” out of needing Speech Therapy. She clearly needs help still. Yes, she has made remarkable strides in talking. When we started she had about 5-6 words. She has about 100-150 words now. You may think that is a lot, but in reality, it isn’t. She is not close to her classmates in language. She will continue to play “catch up”. Her articulation is really bad. And she doesn’t even know her ABC’s. Well why doesn’t she know them? Well her latest therapist said it was an educational issue. No lady, it isn’t. I don’t need a degree in speech pathology to know that her lack of saying the ABC’s is from not being able to talk for a long time. It has zero to do with education. She is smart. She is in-tune to conversations happening around her. She just struggles. As I signed her out of the speech therapy program, I was told that I could always have her re-evaluated if she regressed. Seriously? I don’t have any plans for her regressing. Not under my watch. I screwed up one time. It won’t be happening again. We will be outgrowing Apraxia. If you are wondering, her scores weren’t that great. She was only a few above the line that says you need therapy. A few. Not 10 or 15. A few. It showed she was clearly not up to par with her 3.5/4 year-old counterparts, but hey! she’s just a few above that bottom line.
She just struggles. She has Apraxia.
When we woke up this morning, I didn’t take KB to preschool. I am still jaded from last week’s let down. Maybe I am depressed. Who knows. However, we sat together while her siblings did their work. She wrote out a few alphabet letters (A, B, D) in lower and upper case about 20 times each. She would get excited when she remembered to follow the correct path in tracing. She also knew the letter she was working on. KB has one day of preschool left. After that, she will be home full time with me like the other two are. I will work with her to correct her articulation issues. I will make sure her “lack of ABC education” is corrected, and watch her flourish with words. She will outgrow her Apraxia fully one day. And one day this will all be a distant memory embedded in our hearts and etched into our brain.