A Positive Ending
My story started in 1990. My youngest child, Michael, was two years old and could only say Mama and 'ba' which meant both bye' and ball. At one time he could say Dada, but he lost that word. Every time he wanted something, he would point and say, "ahhhh, ahhhh!"
I brought it up with the pediatrician whom seemed unconcerned and told me that it's not unusual for the youngest to talk later because the older siblings often spoke for the younger sibling. He said that if I was still worried when he was three that I could then have him tested through the 'ChildFind' program for free.
He turned three in July 1989 but the testing didn't take place until February 1990. Now, before I go any further with my story let me explain that I knew that Michael's intelligence was at least average for his age. It was apparent he understood what was being said to him. If his sister asked him to pass the yellow crayon to her, he would. If I asked him to bring me five of his Matchbox cars, he would. In a million little ways, I knew he was normal, he simply couldn't talk for some reason.
Another thing to tell you was that he was a very happy child, but he was shy. I figured it was because he knew he couldn't talk to people so he tried to not attract attention. He didn't want to be 'put on the spot' if you can understand what I mean.
I think things must have been a bit different back then, and some terms used then are no longer 'politically correct' so I apologize if what I write offends -- I didn't use the words, the testers did.
At the test he failed miserably. He could do all the physical stuff just fine, but 90% of it (the testing) required verbal responses from him. When he couldn't answer, they kept telling me to 'tell him to answer' (idiots -- I had already told them that I was there because he couldn't talk) and got angry with him for refusing to answer. They had an audiologist there and had him test Michael's hearing twice! Despite me telling them that I was sure it wasn't a hearing problem.
Finally, they told me that Michael was severely mentally retarded and he qualified for the Special Education preschool class through my local school district (free). I argued a little at their 'diagnosis' telling them that he wasn't retarded and had 'normal' intelligence and they patted my hand and told me that most parents were in denial for a while after first discovering that they had a 'problem' child. Then I realized it wasn't important to argue -- Michael was going to get help.
So, he was 3 1/2 when he started. Luckily, the two teachers that ran the Special Education preschool were kind, caring and intelligent people. Plus, one of them specialized in speech disorders! He was tested by them and that's when I first heard of apraxia. Plus, the two teachers and I laughed together about ChildFinds 'diagnosis' of Michael.
He went from February through June, then back in September. I couldn't really see much improvement at first but over time I started to notice changes. Back then, I wasn't asked to work with him at home or even really told what they did in class, but there was still improvement.
He attended the Special Education preschool from September 1990 through June 1991, then he was put into the Special Education kindergarten classroom in September 1991. After a few months, they had him 'checking in' to the class then going across the hall to the 'normal' kindergarten class. When class ended, he would go back to the Special Education Education class, then on to the bus to head home.
By first grade, he was in a regular class, with speech therapy one hour a week. In March of that year, they asked if I would give permission for the speech therapy to end cause there were kids on a waiting list and Michael didn't need the help anymore. Of course I said yes.
Jump to high school. Two years of French. Two years of German. Plus, private Japanese lessons (he paid for them with a paper route). Straight A's his senior year.
He now has a Master's Degree in Computer Science and is working in computer security. He is married and has two little boys of his own. I do think my youngest grandson has apraxia as well, but not quite as severely as his daddy. He turned two in January and can say maybe 10 or so words -- more than Michael could at that age.
I wrote this not to brag (I didn't do anything -- those wonderful teachers did) but to tell other parents that there is hope.