Is medication a last resort, or is it a stone left unturned?

By Laura Smith|December 4, 2015|Apraxia, apraxia blog, Childhood Apraxia of Speech|

If you really know me, I come from a family who believes in natural health.  That’s not to say I didn’t see a pediatrician; but it IS to say, I would see a chiropractor before I saw a pediatrician.

I’m not here to debate this with you. I’m only mentioning it to describe my background.

When I was pregnant and dreaming of my future children, medication for ADD was definitely no where in the schema.  Written in the said future schema included: one would look like my husband and be mischievous ( in a cute, I’ve never been a parent yet way), and one would look like me and follow all the rules.

Sigh.  Smile.  Perfect.  Yes.

I quickly figured out, God had other plans and they can be summarized basically by, “bahahahahahahahaha.”

Okay, I might be exaggerating, but that is how it feels.

The blow that Ashlynn had apraxia was blunt and powerful.  Ugh. Even as I write that, I can’t think of a word to describe how forceful the blow was.  It took my breath away.  It knocked me out.


Why MY baby?  My beautiful, sweet, kind, loving, baby.  Why her???  How dare it. Life is sooo not fair.

I’ve reflected now, years later….and there is no ideal person to get apraxia.  How silly.  I was so indignant at the the time though.  MY baby didn’t deserve it.  Okay….but does that mean someone else’s did?  I see “someone else’s” babies in my work everyday, and I can tell you, they don’t “deserve” it either.

Oh, but I’m off topic.

When she first started her preschool center program at 3, I finally felt a small weight lifted off of my shoulders, thinking I finally had her started on a solid program to help her between school and private therapy.  That was until not even a week in and they told me they were ‘VERY CONCERNED” with her attention, and it was so bad, they wanted to put her on a behavior plan to help her.

“No, no, no” I just remember thinking in my head.  I can’t handle more.  Apraxia is enough. Please don’t give her more….please don’t give me more.  I wrote about that day in my post: New Worries

Since that time, attention has always come up in almost every parent teacher conference and IEP meeting.  I finally came to terms she did indeed have attention issues, but I was convinced it was part of her sensory processing disorder.  I actually still do believe that, but I’ve also discovered through the support groups, that almost every single kid with global apraxia and SPD also has attention issues.  Some have medicated and found great success, others were holding out like me, trying a variety of other things to help improve it.

Recently, I was really happy  to see that the sensory breaks before and during school seemed to be really helping her “pay attention.”

“Pay attention.”

I put that in quotes because Ashlynn definitely looks like she’s “paying attention.”  She is sitting quietly and looking at the teacher most of the time.  I started to notice though, just because she learned how to look like she was paying attention, it wasn’t helping her learn.  She seemed to be allocating so many cognitive resources to the very act of looking like she was paying attention, there didn’t seem to be much room for processing things being taught.  Even basic questions she wasn’t answering.

My husband had decided long ago she needed medication.  He was just waiting for me to come to terms with it.

Sigh.  What to do, what to do.  She is learning, but could she learn more if she could free up resources going to “paying attention?”

Pray.  Cry.  Pray. Worry.  Repeat.

Then it came.  A “coincidence.”

The ASHA conference came to Denver.  I got to see Sharon Gretz, the executive director of CASANA and talk to her for a bit 1:1.  We had just come out of a session that was summarizing longitudinal data showing that kids with apraxia were more at risk for psychosocial disorders (anxiety, ADD, etc) than typical and speech delayed peers.

The topic leant itself to me talking about my worry regarding Ashlynn’s attention.

“Laura,” she said, “why does it seem you are looking at medication as a last resort?”

“Because it is.”

“I disagree.  Why can’t you look at it as just something else to try?  If it doesn’t work so be it, try something else.”


“I…I…I feel like it’s so final.  I don’t know, like  I gave up on her and took the easy way out.”

Her advice?

“Try it for three months.  See what happens.  If it doesn’t work or there are ill affects, so be it.  Then you can try something else.”

That was a couple weeks ago at least now.  I’ve been chewing on that.  Tossing it around in my head.  Cody just smiles and says he’s already come to terms with it.  He’s just waiting on me.

Yes.  I know.

I picked up the phone the next day, and put it down.

I picked it up again and called, and then hung up.


I finally made the call.  She will start a very low dose this weekend.  I still can’t help feeling like I have given up.




It will always be an internal fight wondering if I’ve left no stone unturned.

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