I have Ashlynn on a new game plan. We had to take a break from her private speech because of unforseen financial issues in our life, but now we are back and better than ever.
She’ll be seeing her awesome private SLP again on Tuesdays (who just happens to be my mentor, friend, and speech mom), and then Wednesdays we have insurance finally paying for 20 sessions, which is not to mention the two sessions she gets at school.
Last night my husband took her in to the new SLP and she was given language testing. Knowing I would never be satisfied with his summary, he prudently told the SLP to call me personally. I had already emailed, called and left messages (oops), but hey. I need to know this stuff.
Well, tonight she called. She was lovely actually. Experienced. Moms of kids with disabilities will totally feel me when I say, “I instantly had a good feeling in my gut about her.”
She told me she tested Ashlynn in language. I was anxious to hear the results.
Before I get to that. Let me set the stage really quick. Two years ago, Ashlynn was tested at school as part of a re-eval. The ONLY area, and I mean the ONLY area in the average range was her articulation skills, and even then, it was barely. Language testing was no exception. The one area kinda close to at least low average was a the receptive vocabulary test where she was to point to pictures depicting certain vocab words. It was STILL slightly below the average range.
I was devastated. Despite so much work at home, Ashlynn’s expressive and receptive language skills were tested to be significantly below the average range. Beating apraxia at that point seemed pointless. When Ashlynn actually spoke, most people could understand her now, but her language development was so delayed she still hadn’t really found her voice. She spoke in scripts she had been taught. Sentence formulation consisted of scripts she’d practiced in therapy. If you have any idea about apraxia, then you know how jacked up it is to wish your child *just* had apraxia, and you might have a greater appreciation of just how damn freaking hard that sweet little girl has to work.
Fast forward to today. The day I talked with this new SLP. Ashlynn scored a standard score of 90 and corresponding percentile rank of 25 on the picture vocabulary test!! DEAD average for receptive vocabulary skills. My heart was leaping out of my chest.
With a sympathetic and somber voice, she told me Ashlynn had just barely squeaked in the average range for a measure of relational vocabulary, which is telling how two things are alike. My heart started singing and I think I took her aback. I had to hear it again. Wait, she scored in the average range for what?? Tell me again. Well, it’s the low average range, borderline really, but yes……
I zoned out. I checked out and started cheering. OMG. I work in the schools with her school SLP and this is what they have been working on!! It’s working!! She’s doing it!! We are climbing!! We are RISING!! We are OVERCOMING!! I texted her school SLP.
“Private speech gave Ashlynn the TOLD and she scored in the 25th percentile for picture vocab and 16th for relational. That’s ALL you. Thank you for working with her. I can’t believe it!”
Her response was golden: “I believe it! Ashlynn needs the gift of time to develop and mature. Her brain is working hard right now but it will get easier and better! Proud mama time!!”
Um…people..cue the waterworks.
It took me some time, but I finally found Ashlynn’s village. I can’t help her overcome on my own, but I found a village who not only believes she can, but is helping her to do it. There are so many working parts. There is general ed, and special ed. There is school speech and private speech. There is private OT and school OT. There is physical therapy, extracurricular activities, and a legion of family members praying for her.
Most importantly though, there is Ashlynn. She is a fighter. She doesn’t look like one, but she is. That face is deceiving. She has this understated determination, this quiet ferocity, and this unceasing resilience.
It’s good to look back and see what we have conquered. At times though, it’s too overwhelming to look up and see what’s left ahead. So in this present moment, we will look a few steps in front of us and as my dad always says, “just keep your head down and working,” and one day, we will reach the top.