Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Speech Apraxia

In February I started taking M to speech therapy twice a week for an hour at a time. She can't sit still so she has to sit in a little high-chair type contraption so that the speech therapist can keep her attention. The speech therapy is mixed with a lot of different activities including oral and motor stimulation, pretend play, turn-taking, motor and vocal imitation. The speech therapist also tries some sensory things like using weighted vests and one time M had to sit inside a blow-up peapod that looked like an inflatable canoe for babies. It was quite appropriate because it was the morning of the tsunami and therapy is down by the coast. I had to drive through road blocks to get to it... but I was determined. She needed that therapy!

As the months have passed it has become apparent to me that as M has made sounds for items, or just randomly, that she understands that vocalizing for objects is necessary however she is unable to put the right sounds together for whatever she is requesting or referring to. For several months everything was "buh". Her current sound-du-jour is "ohhh". She is capable of making the correct sounds on a random basis. She just can't put those sounds together when we ask her to or even when she knows she wants something.

The speech therapist said that this is speech apraxia, a neurological problem where words or even correct sounds can't be put together when needed for speech. M also has poor muscle control and tone in her mouth and is learning to form her lips and move her tongue to make the sounds she needs to make. I don't fully understand the treatment for speech apraxia so I expect I'll be spending some time on the internet researching it. Has anyone else had any experience with this?


Lauri said...

Olivia had a very mild form of poor muscles in her mouth, which they attribute to early bottle weaning in IA kids. Many Russian kids are drinking from cups at a young age.

Livi was sounding out the words but not finishing them and leaving off the end part.

as far as treatment, they used special tools- funny looking toothbrush in her mouth before snacks and before therapy and held her lips together as she formed words. They advised using straw cups to strengthen the mouth

are you or the language team signing with M? using sign language

way to go getting her to therapy, she is going to grow leaps and bounds

Lucien W. Dupont said...

Oddly, that sounds like an issue Maxine is having in talking too.. we've been looking for a speech person up here, sounds like we'll need to really push forward in finding one.

sandy said...

Lucien! One nice thing about speech therapy is that it can be covered by your insurance. Ask around quite a bit for different speech references because some are better than others. (E.g. our school district speech person was very hands-off and scared of how active M was. M would have run her into the ground. =) Make sure the speech therapist gets the right insurance diagnosis so it's covered... my first claim was just returned as denied... I have to talk to the therapist to get that fixed.