My gosh, it must be time to just stop and breathe!
Deep breathes in and out... but first.
What an intense few weeks, my poor brain has dealt with information overload, leading to sleepless nights which I've combated with staying up and reading... yep that's right, more information! I've also consumed record amounts of chocolate but the good news is I have learnt ALOT! I feel as if have same real strategies I can use at home to try and help my son, Hman, with his battle with Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
Read more about how we came to learn our son had Apraxia here
Here are some awesome sites that have helped me so much these past few weeks.
CASANA APRAXIA KIDS
This Book and the author's blog has also been a great resource
So what have I learnt?? In order for all mountains of information to not just pour out like a bad case of verbal diarrhoea, I will keep it simple and to the point.
The first thing that stuck in my head when I was given the pamphlet on what is CAS (after I'd got my head around what it actually was) was how important nutrition plays in a child's ability respond positively to therapies. Obviously I know how important nutrition is for general health and well being but I wasn't aware of how many supplementation programs are available for kids with language disorders and exactly how that could help my child. Hman's diet as a baby was really very good. He was breastfed till 13months and loved his solids and would eat almost' anything I offered him. From the age of about 18months his fussiness and refusal of foods set in. Firstly it was anything that was saucy and could possibly be sticky on his face and fingers that he turned his nose up at. The range of foods that he will accept has steadily declined and it's something we work on daily. Through the sites I mentioned above, I have discovered a huge world of supplements to assist these kids. I've learnt fish oils are extremely beneficial for kids with CAS and I have started him on Eye Q. I'm still working on finding the best way to get it into him but will update you on that when we have success. I'm currently in a whirlwind of different information and advice on supplements including NV, iron, zinc, magnesium and B vitamins. Not knowing what will benefit him the most I am going to take him to see a bio med Dr to find out exactly what nutritional deficits he has and how best to supplement him but I also want to discuss this with his Paed Neuro who we see in a couple weeks. I have also started him on Iron to improve his concentration. Of course like everything these things cost money and most of the 'recommended' supplements are only available from the US so add on shipping costs and it's a small fortune. But what cost do you put on your child's chance at success??
Please note- I do not recommend starting any supplementation program till you have spoken with your child's medical practitioners.
The next thing that jumped out at me is how beneficial movement is for kids with CAS.
CAS is a neurological motor planning disorder that affects speech however many kids often also have motor planning issues in other areas such as fine and gross motor skills which is why Hman sees an OT and Physio. Movement activities help the mind and body work together so simply jumping on the trampoline for 15mins a day can have great benefits! Good thing we have a super big trampoline.
Hman also attends kindy gym where he gets to use all the wonderful equipment there including trampolines, foam pits, ramps and swings.
Spending 15mins a day in the swing can also help. It works the vestibular system which contributes to balance and coordination and influences motor planning. So you will find me pushing Hman in the swing practising target sounds over and over again for as long as he will put up with it.
Auditory Bombardment involves pretty much what it sounds like- bombarding Hman with the target sounds over and over again. Practising in the mirror as much as possible and saying words with target sounds loudly and clearly as often as possible. We could be eating lunch and you will hear me listing words, ball, boat, bear, baby, book! You may also hear me speak quite unusually to Hman. Keeping phrases as short, clear and simple as possible helps him hear the exact sounds he needs to produce to correctly articulate words. So you will hear me say 'door open' 'toy up' 'no hit' amongst a million other things. Please understand I am not speaking to him in two word sentences slowly and clearly because he doesn't understand, he sure does understand, but by saying DOOR OPEN very clearly and deliberately he is hearing the sounds in those words- whilst he would absolutely understand if I said 'Harrison could you please open the door for me as I have your brother in one hand and your bag in the other'' there's too many words for him to hear any as clear.
We have also introduced a communication system so Hman can communicate his needs and wants. We are using some signs with him which will make him more confident in attempting speech as he knows through the sign he will be understood. We are also using a picture communication tool. This has been extremely helpful in reducing his frustrations and he is loving using it. Of course he still has his charm and charisma which gets him a long way with getting what he wants lol the little charmer!! I will share more on exactly what we are doing in another post.
Thank you for reading. It means a lot to my little boy and my family to have your support and understanding.
Play and Learn