We were in the middle of our third Prompt Speech Therapy session when Johnny started tearing up and quickly rubbing his hand fast across his eyes to hide or stop the tears. “Why are you crying love?” Daddy. “But Daddy is okay and is only at work. What is really bothering you?” Johnny climbs into my lap and kisses my cheek hard and then places his hands on my cheeks holding me, looks into my eyes and says, “It’s hard.”
The SLP and I look at each other and then we quickly tell him that he has been working hard today and he’s doing really well. The therapist does an amazing job of constantly giving him positive reinforcement after every effort of speech production throughout the session which really helps him keep trying. Even with the sensory sensitives around the mouth Johnny was allowing the therapist to touch his face, mouth and lips. We are working on articulating the words “up”, “on”, “tap”, Mom” and “help”. Back in January while I was taking a parent training course we began working on Johnny’s articulation of all the vowel sounds.
I wonder if the repetition of words and gentle corrections were getting to him and his confidence. I decided to take the plunge and say, “you want to sound like all the other kids?” Yup that is why he’s upset. He in in senior kindergarten and is recognizing the differences and even though he has worked so very hard in the last 6 months I think he understands he still has more to work on.
We told Johnny he is doing very well again and again and the SLP congratulated him on producing some sounds that she wasn’t expecting him to do yet. He is now saying the “s” at the end very end of words very clearly and I am so proud of how hard he is working so I give him a big hug and encourage him to keep trying. The Apraxia has Johnny not closing his mouth to finish saying a word and he does not not round his lips or have strong lips when he talks. The PROMPT therapy helps Johnny begin to learn to activate his muscles in his face and jaw so they start to move. The SLP is happy even if Johnny doesn’t produce a sound because the main thing right now is for Johnny to be moving his mouth and lips. At times the SLP helps him say a word better by placing her hand on his lips and then placing his hand on her lips as she shows him how to say the word. Johnny likes how this feels and you can see how he is able to figure out how to say the word better by feeling the vibrations and then watching how her mouth moves.
The SLP takes out a game where you can drop different marbles down the top of a track and watch them go back and forth and Johnny is delighted. This helps making practicing speech fun and exciting but maybe too exciting. She brings out another fun game which he looks excited for but he ends up knocking it on the floor three times before we understand that its his way of saying the excitement and fun is too much now and he needs to stop. I can see by the way his hands are flapping fast now and he is shifting fast in his seat that he is very elevated. I guess the SLP and Mommy are learning too.
Previous Post on Speech Therapy: Apraxia of Speech Therapy – PROMPT
I am so glad that Johnny has bonded quickly with this very experienced and wonderful SLP. I am amazed by the progress he is making and I have to pinch myself because 2 years ago this was only a dream.
My first posts on Apraxia: Apraxia of Speech Is The Answer
When Autism and Apraxia are a volatile mix: Autism In Big Flashing Neon Letters