Thursday, January 8, 2009

Starting Speech Therapy

We knew that speech was our next big area to tackle so we got on the ball as soon as we got settled in our new home in Iowa. Since a cleft is a birth defect, Luke was eligible for free speech therapy through the AEA. He started seeing Mandy when he was 18 mos old. At first it was very frustrating as he was clearly not ready to say much. We found ourselves starting to worry he would never get it and comparing him to his big sister who was saying phrases at 15 mos. As time went on he started to get some sounds out and made them correctly. I remember the time he made the "p" sound at a beginning of a word as we were reading a book with the word "papa". He did it perfectly and I was so excited I gave him a piece of chocolate. We couldn't wait to tell Mandy of his progress. In the meantime, we began seeing a new doctor at the Cleft Clinic at the Iowa City Hospitals. The process worked a little differently there as you go every 6 months and see the surgeon, speech pathologist, audiologist and dentist if needed. Our first few visits were pretty uneventful. They couldn't tell us much due to his age so only time and therapy would help. At our 2 1/2 year visit they told us they weren't sure if he was progressing enough on speech so at our 3 year visit they would plan to do a scope up through his nose to look at his soft palate placement and see if surgery was needed to help his speech. This was a big setback as we were hoping that he wouldn't need another surgery until his gumline would be corrected around 7 or 8 years old. They also said that the scope would have to be done why he was awake and he would have to talk while they did it. You can imagine they are not very successful with 3 year olds in getting that done and of course the sooner we know the issue the better. All things for us to think about the next 6 months as we prepared.

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