Monday, March 28, 2011

Apraxia

I've been wanting to blog about this for a long long time.  But haven't wanted to until our special meeting that Hayden and I had today...

First I should give a little background on how our "special meeting" with some new friends came to be...
I have been REALLY worried about Hayden's speech for a long, long time.  He has had chronic ear infections when he was about 1 year, he had tubes, got more ear infections last Thanksgiving until about the middle of January.. the poor kid has my terrible ears.  He is doomed to have ear infections.  I worried that he would be delayed because of all the infections.  If you can't hear, you cant learn to speak.  But he's always passed hearing tests and he still wasn't talking.  He would babble up a storm.  Telling me all sorts of things, it's just none of it was actual words.

At 20 months I had him evaluated by our ECI(Early Childhood Intervention)Program here.  He knew 5 words: mom, dad or "das", this, is, yes, and 2 or 3 random animal sounds, and about 35ish sign language signs.  Our case worker said he was very, very smart and verbally he wasn't delayed but at the low end of where he should be.  He needed to have a 6 month delay to qualify for speech therapy services.  So with the hopes in the next few months his language would pick up, we moved on and waited.  I tried swallowing the idea that he would talk when he was ready and his speech would come.

But...a few months went by and no change.  We prayed and fasted that he would start to talk and that Cory and I would know how to help him.  In February I really wanted to get him evaluated again.  I could not shake the feeling something was wrong.  Soo many people, including his old Pediatrician, said not to worry about it.  That many kids, especially boys(I HATED when people told me that) were slower to talk and he would catch up.  That I was worrying to much because he was so young I shouldn't push it.  But that same sick feeling in my stomach said no...it's something else.  I have an AMAZING ward, and fabulous friends here in Texas(we are so blessed!).  My friends here have heard me venting my concerns(sorry guys, I'm sure it got annoying) about Hayden's speech and told me about a cute lady in our ward was a speech therapist for a school district in Austin.  The very next Sunday we were introduced to this cute lady, Sister Wenger(who is now our bishops wife), and she talked to me about Hayden.  It felt so good to know my concerns were valid and she offered to come evaluate Hayden for me for free!  When I had called other speech therapy clinics JUST an evaluation is $300-$350. Yeah, ouch.

Sister Wenger came and was so cute and sweet with Hayden.  I don't know if she will ever really know how much I appreciated her coming and how much I love her for being so willing to help Hayden.  She busted out all her books and toys to test Hayden.  He thought it was grand!  He loved showing off how much he knew, and he adored the one on one attention.  He tested until he got bored of pointing at pictures and all of the other test questions...but Sis. Wenger said he tested up to a 3 1/2 year old's level.  I was even surprised at how much he knew and some of the questions he was getting right. He probably could have kept going if he wasn't so bored with it.  Hayden is smart.  Really smart.  Which I knew, but I didn't realize he was THAT smart.  Receptively(meaning he can point too it or hand me whatever it is) he knows all of his colors, shapes, body parts, some letters, under/on/off/etc, he/she, mine/yours, cause and effect stuff, problem solving...I was shocked.  But expressively, or verbally there is a huge gap.

This is when a new word entered into our vocabulary:
Apraxia

It was so gratifying to hear Sis Wenger say that she thought he was apraxic! That he did have a speech delay.  That my gut feeling was right.  Honestly it was a giant "I told you so!!" to the world kinda feeling.  She gave us a lot of info about apraxia and some numbers to call to get him into some speech therapy.  After she left the panic set in.  I started reading and learning about apraxia, and the more sick it made me.  Hayden does have a speech delay and will need help.  Probably for a long time.  I know that worse things could be wrong with him.  But I didn't want my baby to struggle.  

"Childhood Apraxia of Speech(CAS) is a motor speech disorder. For reasons not yet fully understood, children with apraxia of speech have great difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movements of the tongue, lips, jaw and palate that are necessary for intelligible speech. Apraxia of speech is sometimes called verbal apraxia, developmental apraxia of speech, or verbal dyspraxia. No matter what name is used, the most important concept is the root word "praxis." Praxis means planned movement. To some degree or another, a child with the diagnosis of apraxia of speech has difficulty programming and planning speech movements. Apraxia of speech is a specific speech disorder."http://www.apraxia-kids.org

So basically Apraxia is like any other "motor disorder." If a kid was having a hard time walking, skipping, etc they would need help with gross motor skills.  If a kid was struggling cutting with scissors and holding a pencil that would be fine motor.  With Hayden, it's his oral motor skills.  His brain is telling him to say words, but his mouth can't plan and form how the words will come out.  Which is why dad sounds like: "das." He cant form that last "d" sound on dad.  Which is why when he talks it sounds similar to words sometimes but a lot like baby babble too.

Since I went with my gut he should catch up verbally before he starts school.  But there could always be certain sounds he struggles with.  Each kiddo progresses differently.  Since Hayden is so smart and learns quickly hopefully he will catch up sooner than later and not struggle once he is in school.  Early intervention is best and we caught his delay super early. Thank you mothers intuition!

Today we FINALLY had our meeting with his new case worker and his new speech therapist.  I had been telling Hayden that we would be meeting "new friends" today to try and prepare him so he wouldnt be so shy.  And he did great.  He warmed up quickly and was his usual busy, silly, self.  Im glad they could see him in true Hayden form :)  We have goals set for him and I am excited to see him progress.  It was relieving for his speech therapist to tell me Ive been doing everything I could have done to help him. Because me, being me, felt guilty, like it was my fault he wasn't talking.  Silly, yes.  But that's how I felt.  As of today he knows 40-50 different signs.  I was so relieved to hear that teaching sign language to your kids is one of the best things you can do. But especially if they have a speech delay.(so teach your kids sign!)  Which I knew teaching him sign wouldn't delay him, but when he still wasn't talking I started doubting myself.  Signing is how we communicate mostly.  We also have a picture book that Sister Wenger made for him.  So if he wants something that he doesn't know the sign for he will go and get his book and point to whatever it is that he wants.  He says: mom, das, is, this, there it is, yuck and animal noises: moo, rough, quack, monkey sounds and rawr!


Im so so excited to see him progress.  He and I have been having MAJOR communication breakdowns lately.  He knows exactly what he wants and how he wants it, it's frustrating when I don't get it.  Like when he wants milk in the dinosaur cup and I thought he wanted juice in the lion cup.  He cries and tantrums. I cry.  It's awful.  But we are getting better at understanding each other :) Some days are harder than others but we are getting there.  Some of his new goals are just practicing imitation. He has never been able to do that.  He has never copied me saying "uh oh" or "bye bye."  So first we are just practicing coping basic sounds.  Then we will go from there :)  I will blog about his progress probably a lot! For our own record and because it's exciting and I am already so proud of him!

It has been a long road to get to today.  I feel so so blessed and grateful.  I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers, and that He knows better ways to answer them than what we think we need.  I am so grateful that Hayden is a healthy, happy, smart boy and that we all get to learn together with this experience.  Im grateful for the blessing of "mother's intuition," and that I felt like I needed to look further into his speech delay. 

So moral of the story: Always be close to your Heavenly Father so you can get promptings from the spirit that are life changing.  There is power in prayer.  Mother's intuition is freaking sweet. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Plant Pals

Did anyone notice I wrote like 8 blog posts a few days ago?!  That has got to be a serious record.. just saying. At least for me anyway. It is so so nice to be caught up :) 

Spring is well on its lovely way, and I am welcoming it with open arms.  I’m ready to get out! Has anyone else had major cabin fever? Yuck! I’m ready for play dates outside, the park, lots of walks, sunshine and lovely pink and white tree blossoms(Even if they do make my nose run and my eyes water. Thanks allergy meds in advance. You’re the best. Love, Me).  Bring on spring baby! It's going to be in the high 70's low 80's this week.  We bought Hayden the CUTEST swim suit ever so maybe we will go swimming tomorrow :)

To get ready for Spring I found THIS wonderful craft to do with Hayden.  Thanks Family Fun… I {heart} you!  I’m your #1 fan… Can I just tell you how amazingly, awesome and fun this little project was! Plus it was a great teaching time!  I love when learning happens and he doesn’t even realize it because we are having so much fun.  Makes me feel like supermom… and I may or may not have my own theme music, just saying.
  
We worked on our plant pals on 2 different days.  First, we started making our new “pals” faces.  I helped him color and draw their faces.  We talked about our different facial features.  Like his gloriously big, blue eyes, long eyelashes and ridiculously cute dimple…yes I’m in love :)  We also talked about different faces we can make. He of course wanted an “angry/mean” face? ...crazy boy.  We made one with big lips, one pal has ears…it was a good time. 




Showing me where his eyes are :)
...here he is telling me to draw lips. :) lovely...
Our "pals" waiting to be filled :)

After, we colored our hearts out, I cut them out.  Then we reviewed where the pieces go on our face and where they go on the cup and glued those puppies on. 

A few days later we finished our “pals” for family home evening.

Poor Hayden, he had no idea what to do with him self when we said it was OK for him to dig around in the dirt with his hands.  He put one little finger in and then a fist because he was so worried about getting dirty.  What boy doesn’t want to get dirty?! …oh mine, *sigh* I think I’m passing my OCD fears of germs and dirt, darn it! So this was a great tactile craft as well and just let him be a boy!  Once he got the hang of grabbing handfuls of dirt and packing them into the cup he was in LOVE!


I adore his face in this picture! I wish it wasnt so stinkin blurry!
He was so proud of his dirty hands :)

Watering them was one of the best parts!




Ta Da! All done :) (please note that that is a 2T shirt which is TOO small! He JUST turned 2.. seriously?!  He is so tall and skinny.. we just bought him new 3T clothes this weekend.  I cant believe he is so big!)
He is talking to the dogs in this picture... lovely :)
The finished product! ...well kinda.. til they start growing. :)

We have been checking them everyday and watering them.  Hayden LOVES watering them every morning. They are slowly growing and Hayden is pretty excited about them.  And why shouldn’t he be?! How cute are they? Name suggestions anyone? I’m thinking Shaquonda, Oscar, Bob, Carl, and Nermal(ya know, like from Garfield?)

Once our pals “hair” get long enough we will tie them up with ribbon like on family fun.   

PS. I am working on something pretty fantastic with some friends here.  That I am really, ridiculously excited about.  Im going to be famous... just saying :) So those of you who still read my blog(hi mom! :) ) now have the "in" of something up and coming. Youre welcome!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vaseline...

Vaseline and I..well, we have a special relationship.  I got to get up close and elbow deep in Vaseline in January.  Unfortunately so did Hayden...

Back Story....

I had been sick for months... MONTHS people, since before Thanksgiving.  Hayden and I would give it to each other back and forth or it just never would totally go away. But every time it came back it came back with a vengeance!  First just a cold, then the flu, then a sinus infection...and then finally in January...it got the better of me.

I had strep... bad.  But that wasn't enough, I also had walking pneumonia. It was the most sick I have ever been. At least since I had mono just after high school.. awful I tell you.  I was in bed, quarantined for days with the humidifier going 24/7, slightly high from pain killers, steroids, and antibiotics.. I had zero voice for over a week.  Then finally I had the luxury of breathing, and then breathing without my throat being on fire or feeling like it would close off at any second.

I could finally watch Hayden again without worrying about passing the nastiness onto him.  So, it was my first day back to "work." I wasn't 100% yet.  My voice was still a tish shakey and I was tired.  But sooo much better than I was.

I heard Hayden wake up that morning and was talking in his bed.  Then I heard him get really, really quiet.  I assumed angels had answered my prayers and sung him back to sleep, even just for 30 min so I could rest a little more. Then a few minutes later I heard, "Maaawwwm..." in a very excited sort of tone.. I knew he had been wide awake the whole time and went to get him.

I get to his hallway to his room and he holding onto the gate in his door way waving frantically and smiling at me.  I also notice he is.. shiny?  I walk closer and gives me a huge! smile, and points to the floor...

and there is was.... the EMPTY Vaseline container. That use to be FULL! of course he couldn't have gotten into the almost gone stuff... that wouldn't be fun..

I think my jaw hit the floor and said something like, "Oh. My. Gosh."  I did a quick scan of Hayden and the area... It was all mashed into the carpet.  It was all over him.  Face, hair, matted into his pjs, the gate, the door, random toys...

What was I to do at that point? The Vaseline wasn't going anywhere, it was already everywhere.  I was still recovering and to tired to really get after him.. and he had just turned two...  that's what two year olds do I guess...

We went over that it was a big huge giant "NO!" to climb up on your books to get the Vaseline jar down off his dresser and open it to play in. (oh ya, he's a smart little thing...I didnt just leave the Vaseline somewhere, it was up on his dresser...) I then stripped him and he went right into the tub.

In case your wondering Vaseline leaves a nice greasy residue.  Even after soaping Hayden up 3 times he was still a tish greasy, especially the one part of his hair that got most of the Vaseline action.  I did get the Vaseline out of the carpet and such.  Thank you dish soap and scrubbing... lots of scrubbing..

video

The EMPTY Vaseline container.. 

...and a nice THICK layer of it mashed into the carpet and smeared all over the door...

I stripped his pj's off asap so he wouldnt spread it anywhere else.  it was all over his sleeves and neck.. The pj's didn't survive the incident unfortunately.  They went into the trash. May they RIP...**moment of silence for the "bug jammies"**
but how could I stay mad at him.. look how cute he is!!
 "What?"... "Is something wrong"
 "Oh that?!"
"yeah, I did that. Awesome huh?! Mom you missed out.. it was so. fun."
"Oh gosh, you're a little mad. Hurry look cute! "

Oh that boy... love him. But he is soo mischievous sometimes.  Also in January, he found a pen and colored on my couch, and got into the pantry and dumped out a brand new container of baking soda on the floor.

I promise I watch him, he just waits for the one second I'm NOT watching.  Also, the kid has shot up like a weed. He is so so tall!  I under estimate his new sight level.. He can see a whole new world of things that he can get into and explore :)