Saturday, January 19, 2013

Millie Update

Millie Update Pt. 1
We've been encouraged by some growth in our youngest daughter these last few weeks and thought others might like to hear how she's doing. As a reminder, she has severe childhood apraxia of speech.  This basically means the signals for speech have a hard time making it from her brain to her mouth, so her mouth doesn't know how to form the sounds.  There is no known physiological reason for this. Basically, the experts, in most cases, don't know why this happens.  Millie is 4 years, 4 months ago and speaks maybe at a 16-month level, judging her by where my oldest daughter was at that age.

 She has been attending speech therapy for about 2 years now. At first, it was only once a week through Early On. Once she turned 3, she became eligible for school-provided speech therapy which she receives 2x a week. We also pay for private therapy 2x a week. Or at least we used to. She just received a grant through United Healthcare!!!  Whoop! Whoop!  The recommended treatment for apraxia is one-on-one therapy 4-5x a week. Throughout all this time, she was making minimal progress. We were always assured that one day it would happen for her. She would hit a burst of speech like most kids with apraxia do.  We kept waiting, just didn't seem to be happening.

Now, for the good part.
One day, I received an e-mail through an adoptive parents' yahoo group. It contained this link:

 I read this post about a kid so similar to my Millie and I knew we had to do this. Because apart from her speech delay, Millie was that kid that I felt clueless about how to parent. Discipline didn't work with her. She was extremely impulsive. I was thinking future ADHD diagnosis.  I had to give the Feingold Diet a good try. So we did.

I cleaned out our cabinets. Gave a bunch of stuff containing the bad stuff to others. (Felt a little weird about that." Here's a bunch of food containing harmful preservatives, dyes, etc. I don't want my kids to eat it. You give it to your kids." )   Even got rid of our fragranced home/beauty products. Began a whole new way of life, really. Feel a bit counter-culture, actually. We can't just go out to eat anymore. Mommy has to cook - every night. Okay, we usually have one take-out meal a week at places we know we can tolerate.  Anyways, I digress. Back to Millie.

This was the beginning of a turn-around for Millie. Did her speech explode overnight? No way. but did it begin? Yes, just enough to give us hope. Little by little. Sometimes by spurts. Sometimes there seemed to be nothing. But now, 5 months later, Millie is becoming a new girl.

First, there is the overall personality/cognitive change. Her preschool teacher told me she was so much more "with it" this year and that she was really worried about Millie at the end of last year. Several other adults have said she seems to be following what's going on so much more now. Yes, there's a maturation factor at work, I'm sure. But this Momma knows it's more than that.

She will sometimes sit and snuggle with me now. She never did that before, unless she was sick. She will look at me. She will answer my questions with 'yeah' or 'no.' She is "all there" now. She wasn't before. She's still a handful, oh yeah. But she doesn't exhaust me now.  She plays for longer periods of time. She's not constantly asking for something or getting into something off-limits. She still has those moments, but it's less frequent.

And my girl is talking. She got off the schoolbus yesterday. I greeted her as usual, "Hi, baby, how are you?" She replied, "Good." Okay, there was no final "d", but that doesn't matter. She said "good." Never happened before.

To be continued...