Friday, September 16, 2011

Ethan's Speech Update

Every time we move, Ethan goes through a new evaluation process to receive speech therapy at our new location. It was fairly quick in Amman, but here in VA, it's taking a while. We began our inquiries a month ago, and had two meetings near the end of August. Today, almost a month later, Ethan got through 2 of 3 testing sessions, and hopefully will do the final one next week. Then we still need to meet with the school district's therapist to hear their final evaluation and recommendation. Who knows when Ethan will finally be getting therapy again??

Today's first test was with the speech therapist, evaluating Ethan's speech production. For the first time, we heard that Ethan may possibly have oral apraxia. An early warning sign that he exhibited was his inability to reproduce "p-t-k" in quick repetition, even though he could say each of those sounds individually in repetition. He would need more testing done to discern whether apraxia is actually one of his problems.

It's interesting to me that the therapist here has a very different reaction to Ethan's speech than did his therapist in Amman (whom we love!) Many of the missing blend sounds (for example saying "boo" for "blue") or incorrect consonant sounds are considered normal preschool speech patterns here, and don't worry the therapist. In contrast, those were the very issues we were last working on in Amman. And as he was making great progress in Amman, it's hard for me to hear them say here that the issues are no big deal! But who am I? Not an expert, that's for sure.

Ethan's second test today was at the Virginia School for Deaf and Blind in Staunton, VA. It was free, with our referral from the local school district, so we decided to go ahead and have the thorough testing done, just to make sure we hadn't missed some small hearing problem in the past. The teacher at VSDB who tested Ethan was awesome -- very engaging, kind, and thorough -- as was her graduate student helping out. Despite Ethan's fears, he had a positive experience, and it turns out that he has nothing at all wrong with his ears. So -- that's one good thing!

We will keep you posted as we wrap up the evaluation process and find out about Ethan's eligibility for therapy. We thank God for how far he's come, and for his intelligence, outgoing personality, and natural curiousity. Now we just need to keep working on his intelligibility!

(Picture is Ethan in July with our dear friend Rachel Waterman)

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