Friday, January 11, 2013

Okay, Now the Kid's Just Messing With Us

If she only knew...
On Wednesday night, I went to my quilting group to work on one of the 17 quilts I currently owe people for life events that occurred sometime in the distant past. I hadn't been to our monthly Sit & Stitch for a couple of months, so I had not yet updated my quilty friends on how speech therapy has been progressing for LO.

One of my fellow quilters is also a speech therapist, and I took the time to pick her brain somewhat. You see, LO has some mystifying verbal behavior that no one has been able to adequately explain. Namely and to wit, the child will say a word or phrase clearly, correctly, and ONCE, and then never utter it again.

A short list of these words and phrases include:

Mommy (He calls me Mom, Mama, Ma, and Mamamamamamamama, but the word Mommy has disappeared)
kitty cat
I'm ready (His response to the question "Do you need a diaper change?")
I don't need one (His response to the statement, "Let's get your bath started.")
juice
I'm a MAN
I go to bed
You do it
applesauce
Obie
hungry
thirsty
seven (I didn't hear this, but one of his teachers at school asked the other what time it was, and LO shouted "seven!" in response.)

When I mentioned this to my friend the speech therapist, she said that losing words like that could be a symptom of Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Being a good little worrier, I went home and researched the syndrome.

What I found really freaked me out. Apraxia can be a serious issue.

J and I talked it over, and we decided to mention it to LO's speech therapist on Monday when we see her, since she knows LO and my quilting friend has never met him. That, of course, did not stop me from continuing to worry and obsessively do more internet research, because I'm a Jewish mother.

(In point of fact, LO's only symptom of Apraxia is the fact that he's used words that he then "lost." He never drooled excessively or had trouble eating, he is certainly expressive facially, he babbles all the time, and he's mastered the intonation of English, even though he's refraining from using recognizable English words.)


I mentioned all of this to LO's teachers when I dropped him off at school, and they told me that apparently he's been intelligibly talking up a storm there. He always sings "All through the town" when they sing The Wheels on the Bus and knows all the lyrics to their Good Morning song. He asked for a diaper change (using those words) earlier this week. And nearly every day they tell me a new word (like "spin") that he said that day.

So, with that in mind, I had a conversation with LO in the car on the way home from school. I told him we're a little concerned with him not talking. I told him that we just can't wait to have two-way conversations with him. I told him that it's perfectly okay if he's having trouble speaking, but if he's really not, it would ease our minds if he started sharing his words with us. I finished my little exhortation by asking him to please tell me about what he did in school that day.

We were at a stop light at the time, so I turned to look at the child as I made that final request.

The young man gave me what could only be described as a shit-eating grin, shook his head no, and then placed his hand over his mouth.

Clearly, J and I and all the other adults in LO's world are all just guinea pigs in some sort of mad scientist experiment that the young man is conducting.

Well, at least we know our place in the world.

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