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May Patient Spotlight: Ethan!

Ethan is a smart, sweet little boy who has overcome Verbal Apraxia through early intervention. He has been with APT since the age of two as a patient of Renea Sageser (SLP and CEO of APT), and has progressed from unintelligible speech and frustrations with communication to being able to speak clearly and be understood by others. We are so proud of Ethan and are delighted to feature him as May’s Patient Spotlight!

Ethan’s mom, Amanda, shares his story below.

*Tune into Wave 3 on Friday, May 8th at 12pm to hear Ethan’s story and learn more about APT’s speech and hearing services live on Wave Listens!*

Tell us Ethan’s story.
“At 15 months Ethan was not using words, so his pediatrician referred him to First Steps. He understood us but we could not understand him. He would get very frustrated. I taught him a few signs to help with the frustration, but he wanted to speak. By 18 months, he was working with Renea for speech therapy through First Steps. She diagnosed him with Verbal Apraxia. As they worked together he began to get the sounds and words.
At 3 years old, he began preschool through the public school system. He started using three word phrases that we could understand. Now he is in kindergarten using full sentences. He still needs work with clarity and pronunciation, but for the most part he is understood. He also still drops a few small words or sounds from sentences but not to the level where he does not get his point across. At times he is super excited and has trouble saying everything that he wants to say, so Renea taught him to “hold” his words in his hands until he can speak each one. Ethan also got frustrated with stuttering; he would have the words in his head, but they got stuck between his brain and his mouth. Renea helped him learn to slow down and get the words out. It is amazing how far he has come.”

Why did you choose APT for therapy services?
“At 3 years old he graduated out of First Steps and we continued with Renea through APT to try to get him more help than just at school.”

What improvements have you seen in Ethan since he started seeing Renea?
“Most people can understand him now. It is only occasionally that we have to ask him to repeat. And when other people ask him to repeat, he does so without getting frustrated.”

What has been your brightest moment along the journey?
“When he began to speak words and also when I saw his frustration getting more infrequent.”

What advice would you give other parents who face similar situations?
“Get help as early as possible. I don’t think Ethan would have been ready for kindergarten without the help he received early on.”

Renea Sageser (APT CEO and SLP) shared a little about her relationship with Ethan:

“Ethan is a very smart little boy that has been diagnosed with Verbal Apraxia. I have been working with him since the young age of two. Ethan has made so much progress over the last few years. When we first started he had very few sounds and no words. Ethan’s parents were concerned about his expressive ability as he was not able to say endings on words or initial sounds. His progress has been AMAZING. Hard work, dedication, and support from his family are critical in his ability to make improvements. Today Ethan is a very bright child that can talk in complete sentences and paragraphs with just a few speech errors that we are still addressing. He is truly a poster child for what early intervention can do to enhance a child’s development.”

We know that Ethan will continue to polish his speech and head into life well equipped to make his voice heard! We look forward to seeing him shine. Congratulations Ethan on being Patient Spotlight for May! Rock on!