Thursday, October 20, 2011

Speech Update

Oral Apraxia

Oral apraxia involves the muscles of the mouth. A person with oral apraxia can produce normal movements reflexively or during everyday activities, but cannot imitate or perform these same movements when asked. The difficulty may range from mild awkwardness and hesitation to complete absence of voluntary movement. For example, the person may be able to smile in response to something funny but unable to smile for the camera when asked or able to open the mouth during a yawn, and unable to do so for the doctor.

Alanna continues to make gains in speech production, but it is oh so very, very slow.  She may learn a sound, or a combination of sounds, but then can't switch between the sounds or put them together in a new way.  Sometimes words are generally reproducible but other words she can't always say when asked.

Welcome to apraxia, autism's happy cousin that makes speech very difficult and in some cases impossible.

The most frustrating thing is that once a child with autism is motivated enough to speak, they still can't because the words don't come easily.  When the words don't come, it frustrates the child even more, making them less motivated to speak.

I am resigning myself to the fact that at least for the forseeable future, Alanna will have to rely mostly on augmentative communication to be able to "talk".  She is fluent in PECS but it is time to move on to a voice output system, and that is likely to be the iPad with Proloque2Go.

I am sad because I feel like I am giving up, but also happy in that I know she will make some great gains in expressive communication with a system designed for it (trying to have a conversation with PECS is, at best, tedious).


  1. A wise Speech Therapist said to me that a communication device must be only used for communication!! I have put Proloque2Go on our iPad..... big mistake in our house. My son will not use it effectively, the games and books are of more interest! I wish I had listened to her!

  2. There are miles and miles yet to go my friend, you are not giving up, just going at the pace you can. Remember she is still only 4? She is 4 right? (sorry if I got that wrong). One day she will be 10!

    Everytime I see Khaled struggling with expression, and he gets sooo frustrated because his receptive understanding and the ideas he has are so sophisticated and the words are there too, they just dont come out the way he wants! They come out in wrong sentences and wierd scripts, that really make him give up. He is going through a tough time these days, because he wants to be challenged and make friends, but he is so far behind in his ability to express himself, it is very painful to watch him go through it.

    BUT I keep telling myself, I have to pace him and myself, because one day he will be 10, 18 and so on....and he won't always remain the same. No where to go but FORWARD yeah?

    Love and peace to your family!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Don't give up! You said some good things there:
    - Your child is motivated to speak
    - She has the words to say
    - She is fluent in PECS

    Work on her strengths and keep encouraging her! God bless you.