The Time Trey Graduated From Speech Therapy
Monday was a great day for our family because Trey officially graduated from speech therapy. Yay! Hi-fives everyone!
We knew this day was coming because a few weeks ago Trey's therapist, Ms. Kristen, said he was almost at the level of a typical 3-year old but there were a few things she still wanted to work on with him.
Trey sometimes replaces words ending in G with a K and occasionally he'll start words with a W when he doesn't feel like attempting a blend sound...for example he'll say Wair instead of Chair, but a simple reminder makes him attempt the blend sound because it's more habit than anything at this point.
So yesterday Ms. Kristen ran him through some tests and after he passed all of them she told Randa...
'As much as I'd love to see Trey again next week, I really don't see the need for it anymore because he's working out his mistakes on his own now.'
And just like that, Trey graduated from private speech therapy!
Trey's end to therapy completely caught me off guard. I think I was expecting it to be different, maybe similar to high-school graduation when you know the specific date it's going to happen and you can look forward with eager anticipation at the day when it's finally all over.
But the end of his speech therapy just sort of happened with one final test from the therapist and a text from Randa...
'Ms. Kristen did some testing on Trey and determined that while he still has some errors none of them are common enough to be concerning. He seems to be working them out on his own. He officially graduated from speech therapy today!'
And then we both cried happy tears for our son.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech
What an emotional journey it's been for Trey and all of us since we learned he has Apraxia of speech.
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.
There have been so many ups and downs with Trey because the nature of CAS means he makes progress and we all get excited and then he regresses soon after and we all get discouraged again. It was a very difficult one step forward, two steps back process but Trey didn't give up and we're so very proud of him for that.
Sure he had bad days when he didn't want to participate in his therapy sessions but Ms. Kristen would adjust to his mood and teach him language skills without him even knowing he was being taught.
And there's maybe a chance he'll have to go back to speech therapy at some point down the road but we're not thinking about that right now. For now we're just celebrating.
Last night we made S'mores in the firepit and Trey was allowed to eat as much chocolate as he wanted!
He definitely earned it.
Thanks From Me To You
I'm not going to get too detailed with all the thank-you's I want to say because I'll start crying and probably not stop before I have to go to work so here are some quick notes of gratitude.
Randa - Thanks. (I'm crying already so I'll just stop now. You know what you've done over the past years to advocate for our son. I love you.)
Sydney - The best big sister Trey could ever have. I made a point to thank Sydney yesterday because she was instrumental in helping Trey learn to talk. She would tell me what Trey was saying when I couldn't understand him, she learned sign language with the rest of the family and she corrected his speech. It blows my mind that Sydney is only 5-years old!
Bubby & Pop - Bubby, it meant so much to me whenever I saw your Facebook feed show that you had made a purchase on Amazon Smile to support Childhood Apraxia of Speech. And Pop with his positive words of encouragement towards his grandson, he never stopped believing that Trey would talk one day. Thank-you.
Grandpa Jack - When my Dad visited a couple of years ago I was explaining to him why Trey can't talk and he reminded me that he can't talk YET! Thanks for that reminder, Dad.
Gammy - Thanks for getting Trey the baby signing time DVD's! Trey learning to use sign language wasn't something we felt weird about, we were proud to be able to communicate with Trey in different ways.
Laura & Scott - Thanks for looking after Sydney on those days when Trey went to speech therapy. We appreciate your support!
Ms. Kristen - Thank-you for all you've done to help Trey find his words! He genuinely loved you and even said so many times. You're making a difference in people's lives.
Leigh - Little did we know we have a new relative who specializes in Childhood Apraxia of Speech! Thank-you for being a sounding board for Randa and helping us understand what Trey is going through.
Small Steps In Speech - the first speech therapy grant we were approved for was created in the memory of SSG Marc Small, who died in Afghanistan in 2009. Marc was a Green Beret stationed at Fort Bragg, NC and he loved the Allman Brothers Band. Our family can't thank him enough.
United Healthcare Children's Foundation - when we received our SECOND grant we were absolutely blown away with the generosity. Thank-you for helping us and so many other children who need help finding their voices.
About a year ago I was giving Trey a bath and he had a hard time getting his words out, he was stuttering and so frustrated. He looked up at me, pointed at his mouth and managed to say...
'Daddy, my mouth is broken...'
Not anymore, son. Not anymore.