If you have been following along recently, you know that Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech will be released later this month. It’s been a long–but overall good–journey in which I have been reading, writing, and revising to get this book into the hands of parents of children with CAS. As a “count-down-to-release-day,” I am offering some excerpts of the book. This one is on chapter 3: Finding Help When You Suspect CAS.
“As first-time parents, we didn’t want to appear “delinquent,” so when Kate was 15 months old, exactly, we headed to the doctor (the same one who delivered her) for her scheduled well-child check-up. I say “we,” because both doting parents were off work for the occasion. We came armed with our wiggly daughter; along with thoughts, questions, and toddler antics to relate to our doctor.
Kate was meeting all of her developmental milestones right on target. Except one: talking. She had only one word, “Hi.” I was excited that she had such a friendly and outgoing first word and proud that it was the one I had predicted she’d say first.
It seemed I had a natural extrovert (how did that happen with two self-proclaimed introvert parents?!). She was smiling and saying “hi” to strangers in the grocery store, on the playground, at the library. After Dr. Baumgartner whirled into the exam room, plopped down and smiled at us, she asked a series of questions . . . was Kate doing this, doing that? Yes, yes, and yes, we nodded and smiled proudly. “Is she saying ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ and a few other words?” Nope. We held our breath, awaiting her response.
Sure, I was slightly concerned. After all, I had friends from childbirth class whose toddlers were jabbering up a storm. As a first-timer, however, I didn’t want to jump the gun. Kate was only 15 months old after all. She still wore diapers, took a pacifier when distressed, and was rocked to sleep. In many ways she was still a baby, and babies don’t talk, do they? Plus, I knew kids—through my years as baby-sitter and as a child psych nurse.
We told our doctor that all Kate was saying was “hi,” and that she started saying that around 13 months. Wasn’t that good enough? Our caring doctor probed a little further and eventually referred us to a local speech-language pathologist (SLP). “You can do it now, if you want to be aggressive, or wait until she is 18 months, if you want to take a conservative approach.”
I took the conservative approach. I finally made the call at 18 months. Kate still wasn’t saying “momma” and I wanted to hear my little girl call my name, instead of grunting when she needed me.
Enter the speech-language pathologist (SLP). He or she is the key player in your child’s progress with speech and a sounding board for you. He or she is also a professional with a master’s degree (some may have a PhD) with a background in communication disorders. SLPSs complete a practicum—usually a year in length—following their graduate program. SLPs are required to be licensed in the state in which they practice and must complete continuing education criteria to maintain their licensure. They are also accredited by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). They perform evaluations, deliver a diagnosis, carry out therapy, and recommend “homework” for you. They are also there to field questions and concerns and give you resources for additional information.
By the way, SLPs are the only professionals qualified to treat CAS. And while this is a subjective piece of information, you may also hear that an SLP’s diagnosis of CAS is more respected than that of another professional.”
Thanks for reading! Like what you saw? Want some more? Head over to www.woodbinehouse.com for a $5 introductory savings off the book. Speaking of Apraxia is also being offered by Amazon. Pre-order now, book will be delivered to you hot-off-the-press in late March.