Tell us your child’s story.
Aidan had a difficult birth. He was born jaundice, swallowed amniotic fluid, and had blood type incompatibility. His nurses also mentioned that he had an underdeveloped nervous system (but nothing was officially diagnosed). Aidan had difficulty keeping bottles down and vomited several times daily as an infant. At five weeks old, I noticed a lump on the side of his neck directly under his ear. After several images it was diagnosed as a hemangioma. Aidan’s hemangioma was rapidly growing. It grew into his ear canal and blocked his hearing on that side. As time continued Aidan was not progressing as a typically developing infant in the area of speech. He was recommended for First Steps. The evaluator recommended taking him to the pediatric dentist to check for a tongue tie. Aidan was diagnosed and treated for a double tongue tie at two years old. When Aiden was three, he moved to APT for therapy. During his time at APT Aidan has had surgery on his hemangioma and was diagnosed with EoE (delayed food allergies). When Aidan began seeing Carly he was making minimal sound and had limited facial expressions. Over the past two years Carly has helped Aidan speak in sentences! Carly also began seeing some attention struggles when Aidan hit the point in therapy in which language became a focus. He was evaluated for OT and qualified to begin seeing Amber. Aidan had several sensory concerns and attention concerns before seeing Amber. Since working with Amber, Aidan has strategies to help him focus and is able to regulate his sensory systems more consistently. Within two weeks of working with Amber he was taking showers! This was huge because the water always scared him!
Why did you choose APT for therapy services?
We wanted Aidan to get the services he needed. He participated in gymnastics and we always saw kiddos leaving the office that was next door to gymnastics. The kiddos always looked so happy and excited to be going.
What improvements have you seen in your child since they started therapy at APT?
Aidan is a different child. He is talking in sentences and providing details about his topics. He is understood by strangers. One of the biggest concerns I had was sending him to school when he couldn’t communicate what was happening. He is in preschool currently and is able to give me a play-by-play of his school days. He is also able handle everyday tasks that used to overwhelm his sensory systems. For example, showers, haircuts, nail cutting, etc.
What has been your brightest moment along the journey?
Carly! She has given my boy the opportunity to communicate with everyone around him. Including telling me, “I love you, Mommy.” Which are words I worried I may never hear from my son.
What advice would you give other parents who face similar situations?
Advocate for your children. We may not have training or degrees in medicine or any other pediatric field. However, we know our children! I felt pushed around at the beginning of Aidan’s medical journey. However, I stood firm in what I knew in my heart about my son until I found the right team of doctors and therapists! We have to be their voice when they don’t have one. We have to show them (through our actions) to not give up and to work hard.
Speech Therapist, Carly Bryant and Occupational Therapist, Amber Applegate see Aidan for therapy at APT in Southern Indiana. We asked them to share a little about their relationship.
How long have you been working with Aiden and what improvements have you seen?
Carly, SLP: I have had the pleasure of working with Aidan since January 2019 for speech therapy. I have seen huge progress over the past 2+ years. Aidan was minimally verbal and difficult to understand when I met him. Aidan has now mastered most speech sounds and is engaging in conversations regularly. We have gone from learning how to use words to express ourselves and play appropriately to now working on fine tuning some grammar skills to make our sentences/conversations more complex. I am so proud of Aidan and his family. His family has been so great to work with and they have demonstrated such great carryover to give Aidan the opportunity to blossom across all settings.
Amber, OT: I have been working with Aidan in occupational therapy for about a year. Aidan has come leaps and bounds since then. When I first met Aidan, he had some significant sensory difficulties that affected his tolerance to his daily routine and his self-care skills. He struggled with tolerating bath time and haircuts. Aidan can now tolerate those activities using sensory calming strategies! He also had difficulties with fine motor skills and struggled with holding his pencil, forming prewriting shapes, and cutting. Aidan is now working on writing his name! It has been so fun to see all Aidan’s hard work pay off. He is always so proud when he learns a new skill. Recently, he has been very excited to share that he can now ride a bike without training wheels! Aidan makes me so proud!
Describe a little about your and Aidan’s relationship.
Carly, SLP: Aidan is amazing. We always have fun, but also know when it’s time to get work done. Aidan has challenged me clinically to find ways to help him with attention and focus while working on our goals. I know I can count on having a good day when I see him.When we first met, his affect was pretty flat so it’s been really exciting to watch his personality develop. Aidan is witty, caring, observant, intelligent and eager to please. He taught me that giraffes have long necks “because they have stinky feet.” I don’t think I’ll ever forget that joke or look at a giraffe without thinking of him.
Amber, OT: Aidan makes my day! Every time I see him, I can always count on him for a funny comment, a detailed story, or a silly look that will make me smile. His animated personality makes my heart melt, especially since he began therapy as a child that struggled with communication skills and had lots of sensory issues that made him quiet, shy, and avoidant. I also appreciate the relationship I have with Aidan’s family. They want the best for their little boy, and they not only see all the hard work that he has put into therapy, but they also strive to carryover his skills at home in order to help him reach his full potential!