Grant’s Story

 

Grant is an 8-year-old boy with an amazing vocabulary and a sense of humor like nothing you’ve seen. But it wasn’t always that way. He was a late talker, but so was brother, so I wasn’t immediately concerned… Until we noticed words getting lost: one day he was looking at a book and pointing to the “Tur-tuh” (turtle), another day, he couldn’t say it. He was always very resourceful and could get his point across (with gestures, motions, sounds). Our first speech evaluation at 2.5yo, we were told “it’s probably childhood apraxia of speech. It’s kinda like when adults have strokes…” Say WHAT?! I found a private therapist who spent over an hour on the phone with me: explaining what apraxia is, how to find resources, and even offered to put me in touch with other parents (and no pressure to use her as our therapist), but that’s when I knew she was the one. We did 2x a week for 30min each for about 18 months.

After a horrible experience in preschool, where the teacher immediately pegged him as a problem child once she learned of his speech disorder. We left, and after an eval through the school district, at 3yo Grant was accepted into their inclusion preschool for speech and language. After two weeks he was offered all 4 days of school and private speech. Although he was offered an OT eval, he didn’t qualify for services, but they did provide ideas to work with him at home, and he did great. He’s always shown that with the right support, he can succeed.

Grant didn’t speak intelligibly until almost 4yo. After 1.5yrs at preschool, he graduated and started pre-k at the Catholic school his older brother attended, but that was not a good fit. He was constantly getting red cards/notes home, PE was especially bad. He had always acted silly when things were difficult for him, which was always seen as a behavior problem.

His speech therapist observed him at school and noticed he was having a hard time getting his body to do what his brain wanted/needed it to. His teacher would say “walking feet”, and it would take him a while. He could get there, but he needed more time. Instead, he’d just get in trouble. In PE, Grant would watch the other kids to see what he needed to do, but by the time he figured it out, they had moved on. He was just constantly behind. That’s when OT was recommended.

Grant did OT for about 18mo. I heard “praxis, praxis, praxis” and “crossing the midline”. I could see clearly, all his weaknesses, but he loved it. He was meeting all his OT “goals”, but still struggling in school.

So many failed attempts at getting him help: an educational psychologist who saw him for an hour and said he’s fine; a highly regarded developmental pediatrician who said ADHD, recommended therapy, maybe he’ll need meds; and a vision therapist who read all the reports and focused only on the ADHD.

After being denied by the school district for testing, we found a neuropsychologist. At age 6, after approximately 9hrs worth of testing, we finally had our diagnoses of Dyspraxia, Mild Combined ADHD, and Moderate Major Depressive Disorder. We started psychotherapy immediately. And eventually we found a good vision therapist who gave a thorough examination and report.

One of the best things I ever did was find a new school for him. Grant has 10 kids in his class and gets pulled every day for an hour to work on things he needs help with. Through their LEAP (special learning) program he has been able to do programs like LiPS, PACE, Barton, and Tomatis.

In 1st grade we were able to have Warren do a webinar to help explain things to everyone. I was so happy with the school administration attendance! Everyone learned so much and immediately accommodations were put in place.

By 2nd grade, we got our first good conference, Grant’s reading level is up, his math skills are so high, and his teacher has learned to work with him (using his intelligence to her advantage because he has an understanding at a higher and different level than his peers–love it!). He gets to use his iPad as needed for help with handwriting and worksheets and spelling.

Grant even started horse therapy and absolutely LOVES it. He’d never been on a horse before, is afraid of heights, but Elf, his horse, is amazing and to see my child doing a therapy with a huge smile on his face is SUCH a gift! I know we still have a long way to go, but I finally feel surrounded by educators, therapists, friends, and family who support and love him and will continue to help us on our journey.