Friday, August 5, 2016

SPEAK Week 2

It has been an awesome two weeks.  Check out the previous post to learn more about the things we learned if you're interested.  Today's post is mainly for celebrating the people that loved on Kiddo and helped both of us learn so very much, as well as final thoughts Nancy had about Kiddo and his future.

Nancy Kaufman:

First of all, a collage, comparing Kiddo working with Nancy in 2014, and just this past few weeks.  Seriously, this lady is amazing.  She knows her stuff, and she is happy to teach it to parents so they can reinforce what the kiddos have been learning at home.  She is passionate and dedicated to these kids and her methods, and they really do work.  

Nancy's Final Thoughts:

In our final meeting with Nancy, Nancy told me how smart Kiddo was, how much progress he's made, and how she's convinced he'll do great and be resolved soon.  I was surprised by this, and so I asked her where she thought Kiddo was on the apraxia spectrum.  He has been stuck in the severe to moderate severe range for so long I thought it would just be awesome to hear we were in the moderate range.  But what she told me, blew me away.  She said she thinks he has mild apraxia!  

During one of his sessions she had told me he sounded very nasal.  I asked her what that meant exactly and she said he sounds very nasal and congested and that we should get an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) appointment as soon as we get back.  (I already set up the appointment for August 17, haha).  She told me it could be something simple, like allergies or congestion that could be treated with medicine, or possibly some form of an obstruction that might require a medical procedure or surgery to fix. She explained that when you hear someone talking with a pinched nose it's much harder to understand what they're saying, that generally the vowels are the same, but the consonant sounds are distorted or left out all together, and so getting that fixed will do wonders for his clarity.

She thinks in another year or so, he shouldn't need speech anymore which would be awesome.  I really hope she is right about the nasal thing, because getting that corrected sounds a lot easier than several more years of intensive speech therapy.  Praying he doesn't require surgery, but if it will help him, then we'll do whatever he needs.

I asked her why she thought his language was so far below his peers.  She thinks it's because he has some red flags for autism (which we've had him tested for, he just doesn't have enough flags to be considered on the spectrum), and this is just one of those flags.  She thinks he needs a social skills therapist moreso than a speech therapist, and we should look for social skills groups in our area when we get home.  Also, the fact that he hasn't really had opportunities to practice using language could be a factor, and so she recommends we spend more time encouraging him to use longer sentences and correct grammar, then we do working on his articulation, and we should see his language really take off.  A language take off sounds great to me. :)

So overall, I feel reassured with this news, though if the ENT doesn't find anything then I don't know what we'll do except to continue with the intensive speech therapy until he doesn't need it anymore.  But, anyway, Kiddo with the amazing Nancy Kaufman.

Sandra, OT:
Sandra re-evaluated Kiddo, comparing where he is now from when we first came to the Kaufman Center two years ago when he received a full evaluation.  She was impressed with the progress, and gave me lots of ideas about how to work more with him.  Her main concerns are the low muscle tone and poor postural control (mainly affects his balance, so standing on one foot is really hard for him, which affects him on stairs, playground equipment, and getting dressed, etc).  She said that is the main reason for his gross motor delays in general, moreso than the low muscle tone.  So we'll be doing lots of things to work on building up his core strength and helping with his postural control and balance.  If you see in the pic, she had him practice sitting down and standing up on a swing which would wobble when he moved, so it activated every muscle when he was doing this activity.   Other suggestions include wheelbarrows, bear crawling, army crawling, doing the superman on a big exercise ball, creating obstacle courses where he has to step over and then crawl under things, and try to increase how long he can balance on each foot.  

Carly and Monica

Carly is Nancy's daughter, following in her mama's footsteps.  Both Carly and Monica worked with Kiddo and his friend during small group, and then assisted Nancy during the large group sessions.  They focused on helping the kiddos with social language, saying hi to each other, requesting things, inviting them to play, telling them your turn/my turn, etc.  All really important stuff.  We loved them.  When Carly told Kiddo today she was going to miss him, he told her "It's ok.  I see you in two years."  We both laughed, as did Nancy.  Nancy then told him "I don't think you'll need to see me in two years!" to which Kiddo told her "ok." ;)  

From left to right: Carly, Kiddo, Nancy, Kiddo's new friends, and Monica.

Ms. Jennifer

Some days we would see Nancy twice a day, others just one, and on those days we only saw Nancy once, we saw Ms. Jennifer.  Ms. Jennifer was so much fun, so sweet, and she reinforced the goals Nancy Kaufman set for each child.  She played Angry Birds game with Kiddo every single time, because that's what he asked for every time he went in there, and she made it just as exciting as the first time he played it.

Lisa, Music Therapist:

Ms. Lisa started off small group sessions with her guitar and beautiful voice for a few fun songs that worked on building language and had plenty of opportunities to practice speech.  She also made these awesome My House books for each child, in which parents brought pictures of family members and things around the house.  She would sing a song which gave each child an opportunity to say "This is the/a __ at my house," giving kids an opportunity to show off the things in their house to their friends, while working on their speech.  Awesome time and tons of fun, and we get to take these books home. :)

We celebrated the end of SPEAK by going to Greenfield Village

Wow, this was such a cool place, I'm so glad we went.  It has five themed areas inside, all from the time of Henry Ford.  Kiddo loved the farm section as well as learning about the railroads.  I enjoyed Main Street, which had horse drawn carriage rides going up and down the street, as well as quaint little shops, a replica of the Wright Brother's bicycle shop that was pretty cool, and a carousel in the middle of the square.  We rode the train around the entire village which Kiddo loved, and we saw several model-T cars that you could ride around, but the lines were soooo long we skipped it.  You could view the house that Henry Ford was born and raised in. A fun and educational place.

It was a good two weeks, but I'm ready to go home and see Hubster and Little Brother.  School starts next Tuesday, Kiddo will be in Kindergarten!  Stay tuned for an update on the first day of school, and for an update after we see the ENT on the 17th.

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