It's today, apparently. I saw some posts about it and felt an urge to briefly recap our story, especially since its adoption twist is unique. It's good to look back and see how far we've come.
We adopted Shu from China in May 2011. He was 13 months old.
At 17 months old, he said something resembling "peekaboo"...and then never said it again. We had been trying, almost from the beginning, to teach him some sign language, starting with "more." It took six months. (Later we realized this was evidence of a motor plan problem, which affected other fine and gross motor skills, not just speech.) We never bothered with any other signs. Shu had been receiving physical therapy, and at this point it became clear he also needed help with speech. Our wonderful SLP suggested he might have apraxia. He was very young, but had all the classic earmarks of apraxia.
At 21 months old he made these sounds:
Uh for up
Duh for up (yes, I know that makes no sense)
Oh (distorted vowel) for open
Dow (distorted vowel) for down
Mmmm for more or milk. He could not add any vowel to this M consonant.
B, occasionally, but more often came out as V or Duh.
No mama, dada, hi, bye...or almost any other typical word you'd expect from a 21 month old.
He was in twice-weekly speech therapy by this point.
At 25 months we had these kinds of struggles, also very "classic apraxia":
Water (if I tried to get him to say both syllables, instead of Wah) came out Doh-Wah.
Trying to get him to put the N on "down" resulted in weeks of him saying Dah-Doh, and then Dope-Duh. He said Dope-Duh for the next two weeks.
Could not make OO, EE, or AY sounds at all.
By 27 months, he had made great progress. The SLP assessed his expressive language in the 15-18 month range.
Shu turned three recently, and still has speech therapy once a week. The school district assessed his speech at the bottom end of "normal," (wow!) so although he will be attending their preschool in the fall with an IEP, he will not be receiving speech services. Some of the apraxia descriptors listed on the ASHA.org website fit Shu perfectly, particularly the anxiety and trouble with word order and recall:
I'll be interested to see how he progresses in a daily school setting with his peers.
That's our apraxia journey, to date, in a nutshell. What would be difficult no matter what has been infinitely more challenging because of adoption and attachment. The catch-22 is that helping Shu to communicate has both hindered and bolstered our relationship. Having a conversation with him is now one of my favorite things, maybe because we've had to fight so hard to be able to do so.
I'm proud of the way he hasn't given up, even though I know he wanted to. I'm proud of myself for the same reason.