A few weeks ago I shared this video of Angela from when she was about 10 years old.
This was just five years ago. Angela seems so little, and really she is. ( in the video she's just a little smaller than Axel is now) But there is something else I noticed. Angela's speech is exactly the same as it was then. Nothing has changed. We've done private speech therapy off and on over the past few years, and since I'm at the therapy center twice a week with Axel now I might was well see if I can get Angela in too. I also want to try, once again. to work on her fine motor skills and her inability to write.
So last week I took Angela for a speech assessment. I really like the speech therapist, and she asked me what my goals were. My number one goal is to see if we can improve Angela's intelligibility a little so those who are unfamiliar with her can understand her. Angela does have a mix of problems; a combination of having Down syndrome and a moderate bilateral hearing loss. Some of her speech errors are common among people who have DS, and some are related to hear hearing loss, and some are a combination of the two.
The speech therapist was impressed with Angela's vocabulary. Not only does she have a lot to say, but when someone has a difficult time understanding her she will often change her word choice to a word she knows she pronounces with more clarity. She did this during the assessment. She has also been known to employ mime techniques. LOL
With the assessment completely, the therapist told me what I had feared. That by this age Angela's speech patterns are quite ingrained, and we're not likely to see much difference. Also, insurance will only cover a certain number of sessions and if, after that time, there is no progress they will discontinue coverage for the service. We will most certainly give it a shot, but I'm also a realist. Yes, I believe in miracles, but I don't always plan for them. (not necessarily they right way to look at things, but that's how I'm approaching this one.)
This was really difficult for me to hear. That the speech Angela has now is the speech Angela will always have. She is difficult to understand. I can understand nearly everything she says but still there are times when I have to say, "I'm sorry honey, I don't understand." Sometimes she's telling me something that is clearly very important to her, so I fake it, and pretend that I understand.
A tough pill for me to swallow this week. The first time I've been told that Angela has hit a limit, and that I have evidence in this video to back it up.