10 September 2010

Birthdays, Hospitalizations, and Apraxia of Speech, Oh My!

It's been a while since I posted an update primarily because, well, like the rest of you, life gets crazy. Our crazy the last few weeks looked a little something like this:

Sheridan celebrated his 2nd birthday and had an awesome party (that will get it's own post, thank you very much), but Gary was in the hospital and missed the party because... (drum roll please)

Gary's appendix burst and it wasn't removed until 24 hours after it burst. Cue rampant infection, sepsis, almost dying (surgeon said if he had come to the ER even 30 minutes later he would have died), Sheridan developing behavioral issues because he missed his daddy so much, me trying to keep Sheridan's life as normal as possible (even though he would wander through the house to our bedroom calling "Dada" and "Daddy" looking for Gary), me trying not to pull my hair out, craziness. (A quick shout out to my family, my sisters, and one - make that two and three - close blogging friends from around the country for helping me survive the near loss of my husband - much love to you.)

After two weeks in the hospital Gary came home on antibiotics (the infection wasn't gone but the doctors had no better plan).

One week later he went back in after spiking a fever because his infection grew (despite 3 weeks on antibiotics) and he had another procedure to try to clean out/drain the infection.

Now he's home again (with a nasty, foul, way-cool drainage tube) and we're hoping the infection goes away and stays away. But this time he's in more pain and Sheridan doesn't understand why Daddy won't pick him up. Poor little man.

And, as if this fabulous cake needed a big, heaping scoop of icing... Sheridan was diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech. Gary and I have suspected for some time, and we're not totally shocked by the diagnosis. I'm just sad. I feel for him. His receptive communication (what he understands/comprehends) is age appropriate, but his expressive communication (what he says, his actual speech) is really delayed. I will write a more detailed post about this, what criteria Sheridan exhibited - by the way, he exhibits 11 of the 11 criteria for an apraxia diagnosis - that boy scored 100%, just not on something we wished for :)

In the end, it'll all be just fine... Gary is on the mend and we are hopeful that this last surgical intervention took care of any remaining infection. And Sheridan is, as always, a very clever, silly, sweet, vocal little boy who just happens to call most things "buh buh" but can say "daddy" and "I did it" clear as day :)

I will leave you with this basic explanation of apraxia that was part of Sheridan's report:

Apraxia is a speech disorder that interferes with a child’s ability to correctly pronounce sounds, syllables, and words. It is the loss of ability to consistently position the articulators (face, lips, tongue, and jaw) for the production of speech sounds and for sequencing those sounds into syllables or words. It’s a planning/programming problem.

As a result, even though Sheridan knows what he wants to say, he cannot say it correctly at that particular time. Sometimes he cannot even begin. Either the wrong sound comes out, or many sounds are left out all together. At that time the motor plan is not accessible. These errors are not under Sheridan’s voluntary control so he often cannot correct them, even when trying his hardest. Frequently, a child will be able to produce a sound or word at one time and not be able to say it again when he wants to.


  1. Good grief, Lady! I hope your next post is delayed because of all the fun you were having on whatever tropical island you'll need to visit to recover from all this crazy!

    I may need to sweet talk you into sending some of your checklist criteria information on the apraxia. LC's SLP strongly suspects the same for her (based on the ONE syllable she verbally uses for oral communication in spite of a year and a half of twice/weekly speech sessions) among other things...Hate that we learned about the suspected diagnosis the same week we learned our insurance provider chooses not to cover speech intervention for kiddos with DS. Nuts.

    Keep us posted...as usual, I'll be going to visit your blog for educational content. :0)

    Hang in there!!!!!

  2. Hugs Lisa. Libby Kumin spent a lot of time talking about apraxia at the Convention last year and talks about it on the "What Did You Say?" DVD. Sweet Sheridan... You've had one heck of a crazy ride this year. I hope things start to smooth out a little. I hope Gary is better soon!!!

  3. O what a rough few weeks! Lifting you up now in prayer!

  4. I'm sorry to hear about your husband...how frightening! I hope he heals quickly!! As for Sheridan, I don't know much about apraxia, but from what I have learned in the past, I'm surprised it was dx'd at such a young age. I look forward to your more detailed post about it. Hugs to you!

  5. I am so sorry to hear about Gary, thankful he is doing much better. We will pray for all of you as you continue on this path.

  6. whew, you've been busy! Thanks for sharing the info @ apraxia. I've heard of it, but really don't know much about it. I have read though that if you catch it early and having a speech path trained in treating apraxia, you can expect great results.

  7. oh my gosh! i am so happy that gary is doing alright and that you made it to the er in time! i hope the last surgery and antibiotics will do the trick and he will be 100% very soon! so sorry to hear about sheridan's apraxia of speech diagnosis and looking forward to reading more about how you figured it out and what you can do to help him with his expressive language (always learning, aren't we?!?) hope you are able to find some time to take care of yourself, too!

  8. Sounds like you have been having a heck of a time. One thing I would say is that Luke could fit many of those boxes, and it seems to me they relate quite closely to the DS and I agree that he seems very young to be diagnosed. All children have more receptive than expressive language- that is how we acquire language. If I were you I'd be getting a second opinion, esp if this person does not have much experience with children with DS :)Good luck.

  9. How young does a child have to be to suspect/diagnosis this? I'm a little concerned about Lily, even though she's only two...