Recently diagnosed at age 6

by Kristi
(Panhandle, Texas)

My son was diagnosed this summer (2011) with verbal apraxia. He suffered from ear infections since the age of 4 months. Tubes were placed at 15 months. The tubes helped curb the infections, but didn't do much to improve his speech.

He didn't talk much, mostly grunted and pointed. His vocabulary didn't consist of many words at age 2 and he was referred by our pediatrician to early childhood intervention through our education service center.

When he turned 3, he recieved speech services through our school district and also attended pre-K for 2 years prior to kindergarten. Last summer (after his first kindergarten year) we attended speech classes (mostly individual and sometimes group) at a speech/language center. By this time, we had had 3 different speech pathologists all saying that his speech was delayed due to ear infections and mild hearing loss. They treated him for articulation errors.

Last summer, we also had a second set of tubes placed along with removing tonsils and adenoids. When the dr. went in to place the tubes, his ears were full of fluid. This confirmed what I had suspected--that fluid has been in his ears at least some of the time since the first set of tubes fell out around age 2.

After the surgery, we just knew his speech would soar.

It did not.

This summer, we returned to the same therapist at the speech/language center. She was surprised at his lack of progress since the surgery one year ago. I told her I have the same concerns, but our school speech therapist assured me his speech would come along. She asked if I minded her testing him for other speech disorders. She did and came back with the verbal apraxia diagnosis. I feel as though, after reading as much as I can get my hands on, that this diagnosis does fit him. She began doing a different type of therapy (more motor planning) and it has seemed to help.

I've also started him on Speech Nutrients, but after reading others feelings about the vitamins on here, I have decided to stop until I can discuss it with his pediatrician.

I've had people say that they can understand him better over the summer. I'm not sure it if is the new therapy, the vitamins, or a combination.

Upon his teacher's recommendations from last year, he is repeating kindergarten. I had misgivings about him doing K again, but they insisted he has some maturity issues. I work at the school as the counselor and had to frequently listen to how he seems "out to lunch" or "doesn't listen." We've been in school 10 days now and the teachers are already approaching me with the same thing--"he doesn't listen" or "he won't watch us." I gave them an information sheet before school started explaining his condition, strongly pointing out that apraxic kids sometimes do not make eye contact.

Whatever problems he is having doesn't affect him academically. He did well last year, and I really feel he may be somewhat bored this year. Not to say my child is brillant, I just think he's done it all last year and is not enjoying doing it again. The other day, his teacher sent home a page where he had made capital L's. He's done papers like this for two years!

His teacher wanted to have a conference the other day and basically told me what she wanted to discuss--same as last year--"not listening, not watching." I asked her if she has some suggestions and she said not really. I told her I really didn't know how conferencing would help if we already know the problem, but she has no suggestions. I also told her that, whether he appears to be listening or not, he apparently is since he learned all he needed to last year. He is reading and doing well with math.

Before the conversation was over, she eluded to the fact that medication for ADD may help. I'm just not willing to do that at this point if he's learning. She said he's not disruptive, just appears to be not be listening. In all I've read so far, I've not seen anything on ADD as it is related to apraxia. Does anyone know if it does?

He is a little "out to lunch", so to speak, but it's not affecting him academically at this point. I'm just so frustrated at this point! He's such a bright, loving little boy. He's been in speech since 2 and the apraxia diagnosis has come late.

Should I push him more to watch and pay closer attention or is he unable to due to the apraxia? I'm just learning and would love some advice from some more experienced people.

I'm sure working at the school (and this women being my co-workers) isn't helping. I think I may be too accessible to them! Anyway, any help would be appreciated.

I just want what is best for my child and I'm trying so hard to understand what all this apraxic stuff means.

Thanks and God bless~

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Aug 11, 2015
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Apr 17, 2013
Teacher observation
by: Anonymous

My son is 2. 5 and he is in speech therapy for apraxia and had a similar history with ear infections. I am a teacher, and was more aware of his lack of language development and looked into early treatment. For ten years I have taught in an advanced private school and often deal with the various learning needs of children. The auditory processing investigation is a great place to start. How is his eye contact with adults and other children? Can he read social cues and react appropriately?
Know too, that if a co- worker is talking with you about your child, my guess is they are concerned and are doing their best to share that with you. I would be very open to the observations his teachers give you, they should be his biggest advocate and are trying in a polite way to let know there is an issue that he needs help beyond their abilities.

Oct 19, 2011
I understand your frustration
by: Kate

Apraxia and ADD generally are not related, however they can both occur in the same child. Lack of focus in school and not listening are not considered symptoms of apraxia.

I agree with you that the teachers comment about putting him on medication for ADD just because he's not listening is not right. If he is just not listening, medication wouldn't help him anyways. I feel that ADD medication is over prescribed, before that I would take him to a doctor that specializes in ADD/behavior issues and have a complete evaluation. There are many other things that can mimic ADD - such as lack of sleep, food allergies, heavy metal toxicity or other neurological problems. Also if it is ADD there are many more natural approaches one can take before trying medication.

Are his personal needs being met in the classroom? If he feels like his voice is not being heard, it could cause him to act out.

I do have one other thought for you to consider. Due to his history of extensive ear infections has his auditory processing ever been evaluated? A hearing screening at school or in a doctor's office is different from a auditory processing evaluation. His ears could hear just fine but in the transition to his brain the processing could be affected. You would need to find a pediatric audiologist in your area and request an evaluation for auditory processing issues. Being "out to lunch", and having a hard time understand what is being said in a noisy room are both symptoms of auditory processing problems. It could also be affecting his speech. You could do a google search for central auditory processing disorder to learn more about it.

I know it is hard with his teacher being your co-worker, if it were possible to set some boundries with her, that could be helpful to you. Even something such as telling her you only want to hear about your son in private so everyone isn't hearing what's going on could be helpful.

Best of luck to you, Kate

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