"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Therapy, Therapy, and Lots More Therapy

Katya has had speech and OT/PT therapy at school, starting within weeks of arriving home several years ago. But with Katya's increasing interest lately in trying to say words, we felt it would be good to get her private Speech too, and when I talked to the amazing Nurse Practitioner who is working with Katya a lot at our Dr's office, she agreed most firmly, and said she would put in a request for an OT eval as well.

The speech eval was able to be done several weeks before the OT eval, and of course that yielded private speech therapy sessions. We really like the SLP that Katya is going to. A. is patient, but persistent, and full of encouragement and praise for Katya. She said that this is a very unusual situation (of course) for her and so it's anyone's best guess how things will go. BUT A.  keeps pointing out that Katya IS making progress from one therapy to the next, that Katya is putting great effort into trying, and that she sees other "hopeful signs" so she thinks we should give it all we have and try to see where Katya can go. A. says the things she is seeing leads her to continue to feel that Apraxia is a large portion of Katya's issue currently.

We feel pretty confident that the diagnosis of Apraxia is correct, coming on the heels of probably some mutism the first 6.5 years of her life,  due to abuse and trauma. Possibly this was made "easier" due to the fact that Katya had Apraxia already working against her.

Clearly, something changed, because Katya did NOT vocalize or try to talk in the orphanage. And when she first came home, if we would try to coax her to say a word, she often could mimic the shape of your mouth, tongue etc. but not a single sound would come out. If you would ask her if she wanted to learn to talk like us, her eyes would get wide and horrified, her body would stiffen, and she would indicate "NO! NO!" with all she had!

In fact, we first realized she COULD make verbal sounds when she started whispering letter sounds in her sleep! Gradually, over time, she kept making more and more whispered sounds, and then one week, we started noticing Katya was making odd, gurgling, gagging noises again and again that seemed like she was trying to activate her voice box. Eventually, after about 2 weeks or so of her regularly doing it, she began to be able to use her voice box to make her sounds! ;-) OH HAPPY DAY! Now she still tries to talk in very quiet tones, but the SLP is working with Katya to "use a big loud voice". Katya is still pretty quiet, but can occasionally raise her volume a bit if she tries really hard.

Speech Therapy is hard work, but Katya is working hard! And we will take all on-going prayers and best wishes for Katya to be able to learn to talk. She wants to SOOO badly it breaks my heart to the point I just have to sit and cry for her sometimes.

Photo: Therapy is hard work!

This week Katya had her OT eval with K. Paul was able to go with me for that eval, and we both liked her a lot. Katya cooperated really well for her in all the things she was asked to do and K. said that while she agrees Katya is lagging behind her peers in many areas, she thinks that given how deprived and neglected Katya was, she has come an amazing way in just 2 years! She feels quite sure that more therapy will be to Katya's advantage. So we are adding that in as well. It will make my life even crazier than it already is, because the therapists can't make their schedules mesh at this point to consistently have Katya's therapies back to back, but we will just lump it to get Katya what she needs.


Milena said...

My heart is filled with joy when I read such happy news about Katya's progress!

hoonew said...

She will go far- love hearing her QUICK progress.