A couple of weeks ago, Evie had her six month review at the speech therapist’s office. Six months, 55 appointments, 2,200 minutes of speech therapy.
She is my darling, my perfect girl, the absolute light of my life. She thinks that everyone she meets is her best friend, she tells me several times a day how much she loves me, and she is wonderfully empathetic. At a playdate today, a friend of hers (her best friend, obviously) became very upset because his cup was not red. Evie leaned towards me, declared “Mommy, I’ve had an idea!”, and then went to the cupboard in an unfamiliar kitchen to fetch a receptacle of the correct hue. She then beseeched her bereft pal, “Open your eyes, Thomas, open your eyes – look!!!”.
I’m so proud of her, my sweet Genevieve, she’s such a smart wee firecracker. And yet, at the age of 3 years and 7 months, she can’t yet clearly state her own name. Evie has become “Wee-wee”, and Genevieve sounds more like “Den-wee”.
Six months ago, I was told that “due to the presence of an articulation and phonological disorder, speech therapy is recommended on a twice weekly basis for the duration of three to six months”.
Fast forward three months, and it was a much more open-ended “It is recommended that Evie continue to participate in twice weekly therapy sessions until she achieves functional speech and language skills”.
And now? I’m sad to admit that I’m finding these twice-weekly sessions to be a real bind. If it was just me and Evie, then it would be an absolute no brainer – I would happily sit in that waiting room each Tuesday/Thursday, killing time on Facebook, or catching up on the
Kardashians news headlines, for as long as it takes. But. But. I have Henry, too. Poor Hank….his nap schedule is now totally out of the window, play dates have to take a back seat, and lunch on speech therapy days is nothing more satisfying than a cup of Goldfish crackers with an apple puree chaser.
So, at the 6 month review, I dared to ask “What exactly is the end goal, here?”. I’ll admit that I was expecting to hear glowing reports of how well my superstar Evie has done, how much she has improved, how close she is to catching up to her peers.
What I wasn’t anticipating was a total about turn. Apparently she no longer falls under the “Developmental Articulation Disorder” bracket, but instead has a shiny new diagnosis of Speech Apraxia.
I’ll save you the Google search (you’re welcome!). Basically, it’s a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to send the proper signals to move the muscles involved in speech, so that person has trouble saying what he or she wants to say correctly and consistently. Most importantly, children with developmental apraxia of speech will not outgrow the problem on their own.
Yet another one for the “gosh darn it, this parenting lark is hard” list. Or more colourful words to that effect.
Our end goal is now pretty fuzzy. The question of how many more sessions we’ll need to attend has that “how long is a piece of string” feel to it. And I must admit, being so casually informed that my daughter has some kind of motor impairment disorder came as quite the shock.
But, let’s look at the bigger picture, here. At the end of a heartbreaking week that’s marked International Baby Loss Awareness Day, I can categorically say that if our biggest concern is that Evie’s version of Puff the Magic Dragon sounds like this, then we don’t really have too much to complain about, do we?