Apraxia Girl, learning to triumph

Kayleigh I knew it all along but I guess it’s just become more clear in the last few months. I have a special needs child.  My little girl is almost 4 and she can’t talk.  She doesn’t refuse to talk.  She isn’t being talked for (as much as we can help it in getting her brother to stop).  She can’t get her brain to make her mouth and voice box work properly, in a nutshell.  It’s called apraxia of speech and it’s become painfully clear to us that this may be her lot in life.

In the last couple of weeks we’ve been trying to make some changes here recently, in order to try and help her along.  While we are still concentrating on trying to get her to be able to make sounds, we’ve invested in an iPad for her to learn to use to communicate and she now has an additional therapist outside of the school system.  She’s to take the iPad wherever she goes and she can click these buttons in the app and words will go up on the sentence strip, she can then tap the strip and it will say the whole sentence, or whatever she put in.  This is becoming her voice, though we are still trying to get her to sign things and hopefully try to say them.  Of course, right now she is refusing to try to say anything when she’s with us, I think it’s just too frustrating for her.

The app should grow with her, she will eventually be able to type in her own words.  So far I have all of her family members in the family section, except one of my nephews I need to get in there.  But she’s never met him so I don’t think she’ll be talking about him too much anyway.  It took her very little time to find out where to find “I want to watch SpongeBob.”

Unfortunately, she’s also figured out that the iPad is really, really, really fun for other things.  She’s got a shapes and colors app on there that she absolutely loves.  Thank goodness for Guided Access.  I turn that on to keep her from leaving her Proloquo2Go app when she’s at school or church, or when it’s not time for apps.  She’s figured out, too, that she can input “I want to watch SpongeBob” (which is a button I created for her to get her attention) and follow it with “game” to ask to play her SB game in the iPad.  I need to get a button just for that, as well as her favorite foods – try to get some pics in there that aren’t random illustrations and create things that don’t exist.  It’s an amazing app, though, very flexible and adaptable.  Her new therapist was very impressed last week with how well K is already navigating the app, though she’d only had the iPad for about 4-5 days at that time.

Of course, we spent the extra $100 on a protection plan and invested in a toddler case.  So far so good.  My biggest problem is actually managing her battery usage.  I’m afraid to mess the battery up so I like it to drain fully before charging but I’m finding it at 30-50% at the end of the day and I was trying to drain the battery, but that was making me bored with messing with it after she went to sleep.  Heh.  So then I tried just leaving it and then, of course, it died halfway through the day at Grandma’s yesterday and while I had the charger with me, K was none too happy when I finally had to take it away from her because you can’t charge it while in the toddler case.  I have to decide what to do about it right now, at 47%.

But this is a good step toward her being able to communicate better.  Unfortunately, I think this means I now have to buy E some sort of cheap tablet, lol.  Actually, it would be good for him to have some learning apps for his age, too.  Make learning fun, as they say.