I had a meeting with Julie, Senior Speech Therapist, this morning while Mia was in with Hannah having her therapy. We are all working together to get a cohesive speech, language and education plan together. It is important to know the best way to approach educating Mia, so we are bringing her speech and language targets into the picture appropriately. Julie raised a new issue that I have not heard of before. We have long suspected Mia to have Auditory Processing Disorder (APD). There is a look upon her face as if she is trying to make sense of what she is hearing sometimes. Or, maybe she is trying to understand the spoken words. Either way, to move forward we need to have a clear picture where we are at.
There is a doctor in London who specialises in APD. We have discussed going down that route. It would involve a lot of time and expense, and Julie believes that at his point the results are likely to be inconclusive. We think Mia’s apraxia (dyspraxia) may be hindering her ability to physically react quickly enough to stimuli. Fast ForWord, for example, relies on Mia responding quickly to a change in sound and clicking the mouse on an icon when she perceives the difference. Is her very slight delay, which gives an ‘incorrect’ answer in the games, due to her auditory processing speed, or an inability to click quickly enough on the mouse? The tests for APD would raise the same question.
London may be an avenue we explore later, but for now we will save the expense. Julie wants to rule out a thing called Auditory Neuropathy. I have Googled this extensively since this morning. My understanding is that, in Mia’s case, it is possible the auditory nerve may be affected to some degree. This means that, although she can hear, the message is not getting from the ear to the brain to create a meaningful message. I have to say, I hope we are ruling this out and not in.
It is possible that Mia’s listening and focus issues are related to the Apraxia and nothing more. The whole developmental pathway that comes from speech, language and meaningful interaction and all the skills that come with that has been missed out. If you think about it, this is a big deal to a child’s development. I myself sometimes have to focus very hard to listen and follow when someones speaks to me. My mind can wander, even if I am interested in what someone is saying! It is usually fatigue that causes it for me. It could be that Mia finds this hard too, not being practiced at it or used to meaningful two-way oral communication.
The other issue is how Auditory Neuropathy is tested. It involves a general anesthetic. Some of you will know our issues with that, after a traumatic day at the dental hospital to have some teeth out. It is a worrying time for me – worrying about whether Mia does have this (not great!) and how is the whole hospital experience going to go this time? I hope it doesn’t involve adults pinning a terrified child down while a helpless mother defies her instinct to protect her from abuse. I will try and prepare her with stories, pictures and role play but I know Mia and suspect she will know she doesn’t want any of it and that will be that for her. There is no convincing Mia or conning her into things she doesn’t want to do. Especially if afraid. She has always been thus!
Mia is doing well with her speech, but I feel we need to see if this lies behind the Apraxia. We have to know, to know how to treat and move forward. So, to the GP with me in the morning.