Monday, December 17, 2012

We're a-Talking

Attempting to move on from the horror that was Friday, not because the hurt is over, but in the spirit of remembering that all of life is not quite so tragic....

(Reindeer Dean :))

The good news of this season is that Dean is finally beginning to talk. He's 3.5. I knew from early on that it could take this long or even longer for everything to come together for him. But like how it took awhile for Dean to walk, the process was longer than I hoped deep down. As I was trying to help Dean with eating his dinner the other week at church, a friend said, "were you always this patient of a person?" I had to chuckle. "No way," I said. Really, I'd consider myself a very IMpatient person. But when faced with a child who just doesn't move at the same pace as the rest of his immediate world, what is my other choice? I have to be patient.

So I am relieved that, for instance, when Dean came out into the waiting room with his SLP after his speech therapy session, she could tell me, "Dean did SO well today." We've been getting more positive reports from speech lately, and this is so relieving. Relieving to know that my boy will talk. This is not a guarantee with PWS. Relieving to know that I will one day hear him tell me that he loves me, hear him tell me about his day at school, hear him tell me about some bigger thoughts about the universe. My mama heart has been longing for these. Soon... one day... at some point... but I know it's coming.

Since Dean has apraxia, a neurological (motor planning-based) speech condition, he needs extreme amounts of repetition to get the sounds and words that come with a near-alarming pace for someone like Emmett (who is talking up a STORM, by the way!). If Dean doesn't practice a certain sound or word for a while, he loses it. Think of it like a path in the snow that gets covered by fresh snowfall. You can't see it anymore. Dean's brain loses the pathway for the sound/word to get out of his brain and out his mouth. He used to say "open" frequently, but then a few weeks of us not practicing it with him (because we were practicing other words and sounds) and it was gone. Poof. It will come back, with lots more repetition.

But Dean has been randomly saying words, like "Kroger," "cracker," "backpack," "thanks," "go." Because of his low muscle tone (hooray), these words are hard to understand. But they are there, and Dean is using them. This is very exciting. :)

So what made it all happen? As with when Dean was learning to walk, it was a combination of factors. Lots of practice (PT), plus a certain amount of strength, plus his SureStep braces, plus his walker - and off he went. For speech - LOTS of practice (speech therapy and drills at home and school), exposure to lots of appropriate peer speech models, probably a certain maturity of his brain, some supplements that we think have helped (the Coromega brand of fish oil and vitamin B6) - and we're off. I don't expect the rate of word/acquisition to increase exponentially or anything (with apraxia, that's not really the case), but we have to start somewhere. Thank you, God, that I can hear my boy's voice.


Sarah said...

Go Dean! I'm living for that moment with Lillian. One day...

Janet Gulley said...

I honestly can not imagine how painful the wait has been. Thrilled to celebrate the victory with ya though!! Go Deano! He is just so stinkin' cute!