Tell us your child’s story
Ethan was born at 39 weeks weighing in at 7lbs 7 oz of pure perfection. However, we noticed early on that he had feeding difficulties with latching that we thought were only due to a lip tie. We realized after that was revised things seemed to go well until we started trying him on foods that need to be chewed and we also noticed that he didn’t use his tongue to lick food off his lips. We started with APT when he was just over a year old with both an Occupational and Speech Therapist. He was discharged after significant improvement with eating a variety of foods. Things still weren’t quite right though and that became apparent after he was 2 and still couldn’t say over 5 words. He became very frustrated and our sweet little boy’s behavior changed into head banging and screams because he couldn’t communicate his needs and wants. We started through First Steps since they could come to our home and we had an infant at the time and were linked with a wonderful Speech Therapist whom recognized after a few sessions with him that there was more to it than normal delayed childhood speech after weeks of testing to be sure it was confirmed that he had apraxia. A plan of care was formulated just for Ethan and we were able to also receive therapy through APT. He works hard during his sessions with his speech therapists but more importantly he works hard everyday practicing what we have learned from them. His sweet demeanor has returned as now he is able to communicate better and we are very grateful to all that have been a part of his care.
Why did you choose APT for therapy services?
It’s always felt kid centered and that was very appealing to me as a parent and a mom. I want the best for Ethan. Part of that is coming to him on his terms with where he is at whether it be helping him and teaching me how to help him with eating different textures or coming into step alongside another program to do what’s best for the child.
What improvements have you seen in your child since they started therapy at APT?
That’s an easy one! I can understand a lot of what he is trying to say now instead of being at a loss and frustrated like he was that I couldn’t understand to help him.
What has been your brightest moment along the journey?
When my son specifically requested a sausage biscuit this morning from McDonald’s. To be able to hear and understand what he wanted was a massive accomplishment! Ethan has always had a lot to say (that’s why he became so frustrated) we just needed to learn how to help him say it.
What advice would you give other parents who face similar situations?
Go with your gut. I knew something wasn’t right and I put it off initially. Then I followed my instincts as his mother and pursued it. Find a facility that will listen to you and work with you and your insurance to make sure that your child is evaluated and receives the care that they need.
Speech Language Pathologist, Kelly Gilles has built a great relationship with Ethan over the past several months and has seen great progress through his hard work. Read below as she shares about Ethan’s improvements and the relationship they share:
How long have you been working with Ethan and what improvements have you seen?
I have been working with Ethan since October and I have noticed significant improvements in his expressive language as well as his articulation of speech sounds. Ethan was not requesting much verbally or telling his family what was bothering him when he was upset just a few short months again. Ethan’s articulation of speech sounds and ability to be understood have also increased tremendously. He used to exhibit atypical substitutions of sounds (long /a/ for long /e/) and at this time he can say all vowel sounds accurately using our Maps 2 Learn program. His family has worked with him tirelessly. They are very involved and supportive in his plan of care.
Describe a little about your and Ethan’s relationship.
My relationship with Ethan is fun and exciting. He is truly like a sponge, soaking up language you provide for him. He learns quickly and begins to use words and phrases rapidly to request and describe. Ethan is motivated by popping bubbles and choosing a sucker from the treasure chest.
What is one of your favorite moments you have shared with Ethan?
One of my favorite moments with Ethan was when he said /s/ accurately for the first time to describe his sister. (in October he wasn’t calling her anything) He, myself, and his mom were all amazed and overjoyed. He can now say a developmentally appropriate approximation of “sis” independently to tell on his sister! He is able to say “sis” accurately when given Maps 2 Learn verbal and visual cues. Ethan and his family are a joy to work with and I am so proud of how hard he works to meet his goals!
Congratulations, Ethan on being January’s Patient Spotlight. We are so proud of you and can’t wait to be apart of your journey as you continue to advance to your next therapeutic level!