While the diagnosis of verbal apraxia was a very disheartening blow, I at least felt that now there was finally a diagnosis and reason why my daughter was having difficulty with speech. The advice from the doctors making the diagnosis of apraxia was to stick with speech therapy and be patient. While staying the course of speech therapy, I also started conducting my own research to find everything available about apraxia. I was hoping that I could find out what I could do to help my daughter start speaking or at least communicate her wants and needs with us. She was becoming increasingly frustrated with not being able to communicate her basic wants, such as something so simple as wanting more juice.
My daughter entered a special needs preschool and began attending four days a week. At the end of the year, when she was almost four years old, she said about 30 partial words and some sign language. We were frustrated by her lack of progress. Her teachers expressed concern at her year-end conference and suggested we take her to an audiologist and a neurologist. Those reports came back normal other than her being nonverbal. We also had her tested for heavy metal poisoning, which is known to cause neurological damage, by hair analysis and blood work and that came back normal too.
There is hope!
It was at that time we began to seriously look to alternative therapies and discovered the key that unlocked her voice. She went from saying 30 partial words to speaking three and four word sentences in a period of about two months. This incredible transformation in my daughter’s speech was very apparent to her speech therapists. As it was over the summer and we were on a two month break, they were very delighted in how well her speech had progressed.
These alternative therapies are simple things you can do in your home that will enhance speech therapy. They do require some investment; however considering the cost of speech therapy in the long run they actually cost less. By the time my daughter was five she was talking almost normally, and only required an hour a week of speech therapy. People could understand most of what she was saying. The rapid changes came about because of everything we did in addition to speech therapy.