If you read my blog on a regular basis you know that Jackson has speech delays. We’ve been taking him to speech therapy since he was about 18-months-old. Currently we go four days a week – both private sessions and sessions at our local elementary school.
He turned three in December and although we’ve seen progress, it’s not as much as we’d hoped to see.
On Monday the speech therapist said she believes Jackson’s speech delays are Apraxia related.
She said the word but it didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t burst into tears. I wasn’t fearful of the future.
What I felt was a huge sense of relief.
That finally, after months and months of therapy appointments and little progress, we had some sort of an answer for his delays.
Apraxia has been in the back of my mind since Jackson was two. But it’s difficult to diagnose in young children, especially when they have a very limited vocabulary.
Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words. (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)
It makes sense.
When Jackson isn’t thinking about it or when he’s not being asked to say something, the words seem to come easier. He often surprises us by saying something out of the blue – like the end or flash light. But if you ask him to say something, you can tell how difficult it is for the words to come. He wants to talk – but he simply can’t.
Kids who have Apraxia have a very high receptive language – meaning they understand everything you say. Jackson definitely understands everything we say. So much that he knows exactly how to push our buttons.
The diagnosis would also explain his picky eating habits. Because he has a motor speech disorder, eating is sometimes a challenge. Certain textures are difficult for him to manipulate.
These days his diet mostly consists of a lot of PB&J, yogurt, GoGo Squeezies, mashed potatoes, milk, some fruits, Jello, and ice cream – he never turns that down.
Most of the foods he eats are smooth. He’s preferred it that way since he was a baby beginning to eat baby food.
After we left speech on Monday, we went to get Jackson’s hair cut.
I sat back and watched him play with the train table as we waited for our turn.
A little boy handed Jackson a train and he very clearly, without any prompting, said thank you.
And in that moment God reminded me that nothing about Jackson’s speech surprises Him.
I looked at my son and didn’t see Apraxia. I saw a joy-filled little boy who loves life.
I saw a brown-eyed-boy who is smart as a whip and has the best belly laugh.
The words will come. But therapy may be more of a marathon now than a sprint.
But God will equip us – He has a plan for Jackson. (Jeremiah 29:11)
He is fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
Before a word is formed on his tongue He knows it. (Psalm 139:4)
On Tuesday we had our first speech session at the elementary school. As I listened to Jackson giggle as he worked with the therapist I felt hope.
And in that moment God whispered – this is another part of your story. It’s another way for My glory to be proclaimed in your lives.
Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:3)
And as I sat in the waiting area and open up Jesus Calling He gave me another promise: God can do far more than I can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
From the pages He breathed hope into our situation. He covered me with His peace.
There’s no limit to what God can accomplish.
I can’t be discouraged when my prayers aren’t yet answered.
The more extreme my circumstances, the more likely I am to see God’s power and glory at work in the situation.
And just like that I’m equipped for the journey that lies ahead – a continuation of the past 18 months, but finally we have some direction.