Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Vocalization Frustration Part II
Back in August, I blogged about my frustration with attempting to get Alanna to speak (and when I say my frustration, I imagine hers is even worse). We were pumped about seeing our new speech-language pathologist. The good news is, she is truly excellent, probably the best speech-language pathologist we have ever seen.
Did PROMPT work? Yes, it did work. She was able to get Alanna to learn new words, like "on", "open", "ball", "more". Alanna was paying attention, clearly motivated, clearly understanding speech was expected, but she just couldn't get her mouth to move in the right way to make the right sounds. After hours of therapy we did get her mouth to move in the right way, but she had difficulty switching (say from an open mouth for open to a closed mouth for more). Open and on were good, ball was coming, bubbles had a good approximation, but "more" was "open" and then "buh". Working on "more" turned everything into "mama". So it appears we are back to the beginning again.
Alanna's recurrent pattern is always to get to five or six words and then as new words are learned, she loses the ability to say the words she knew before because she seemingly no longer can make the sound properly.
What's the verdict? The speech-language pathologist has told me that the inability to make proper sounds and switch between sounds is typical of speech apraxia, but that "losing" words once learned is not. Regression is more typical of autism, but usually if there is a regression it is more global and not specific to one area, due to seizures or major life changes.
We will try for several more weeks to see if this pattern continues. If so, then we will discontinue speech therapy because it is expensive and is not breaking the cycle.
I used to have great hope Alanna would be able to use speech as a primary form of communication, but as time passes, I have to admit that I am less hopeful. It breaks my heart.