Saturday, April 13, 2013

Apraxia / Dyspraxia - Part 2

Food sensitivity

When we were first finding out about J's delays, I found out that I had a food intolerance to sulphite preservatives in food.  I then started to realise that J was reacting to the same foods as me.  We changed the whole family diet around, removing sulphites (E220-228) and also reducing the amount of additives and colours in our diet too.  Mostly it means avoiding processed foods (junk food) and eating more wholesome meals of meat and vegetables.  I feel that this made a big difference to things with J - he had always looked somewhat confused/conflicted and the dietary changes seemed to help clear his head.  We made the food changes in December 2011 so we've been on it over a year now.  I do realise that his attention span improvements may have happened through maturity and age but I always felt I knew when he'd eaten badly, that he'd get his foggy head back and would pull back on his speech etc.  It wasn't until later on in my research that I read that it was thought that children with Apraxia were more likely to have a food intolerance/allergy.  If you Google "Apraxia food intolerance" you'll get plenty more comments on this.  I do think that you need to be wary of strident health claims - hey, we're all looking for a miracle cure and its too easy to be taken for a ride on this journey - so my advice would be to try some elimination diets and see if you feel a difference has been made or not.

Speech Therapy

We have been recommended to use Cued Articulation and/or Prompt for speech therapy (Apraxia).  We went with Prompt and have a very lovely therapist now but we did have to test our relationship with others beforehand.  For us, we needed a lot of behavioural help as well - my little guy just would not sit still and if you gave him an inch he'd be off and running around the room trying to find his own activities.  We used visual cues and had rewards for the end of the sessions (free play with favourite toy).  We also found a therapist who worked out how far she could push him and who got him sitting down in the one spot.  J really responded to the touch used in Prompt therapy - it was like a lightbulb moment for him, he understood this and his sounds were coming out right when this therapy was used.  I can only imagine how miraculous that moment must have been for him.  We made some great gains at the beginning of therapy.. we still do but its very slow, slower then I expected it would be.  Its really hard for him, so hard that he does not like to practice with me.. thank goodness for chocolate and bribery!

Challenging Activities

We've made particularly good progress in January of this year when J dropped his daytime naps.  I don't know why that mattered (he'd always been very big in needing those naps) but after dropping them he seemed to grow in maturity and purpose.  It was also school holidays and we had a lovely vacation by the beach, so he had both his parents around and full exposure to his big sister who had just finished her first year of school (so he's missed seeing her).  We also put him into kindergarten this year (with slightly older kids) and he relishes it!  J is VERY motivated by his peers.  This peer interaction seems to give him a much better motivation to practice his sounds and words - I can't rate our paediatrician highly enough who gave us this advice to put him in with older kids.

J has just turned 4 so I will put up some birthday pics next post and then I reckon I've got one more post on Apraxia stuff and then will put my mind towards some sewing!! :)

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