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Magic of Progress

So often, even with appropriate therapy, progress with Apraxia is slow but steady.  The syllables in words have to be learned individually.  Then E has to be able to say all of the syllables in the word together.  Then in a phrase, then in a sentence, then we have to work on generalizing it into everyday speech.  It is exhausting and sometimes it seems like two steps forward and one step back.  The thing that saves me is comparing her progress over time; taking videos and then watching them months or even years apart.  The progress is absolutely amazing but difficult to see day to day.

I often get caught up in the day to day stresses and frustrations of organizing appointments and getting her to all of her speech and O.T. sessions, keeping her involved in sports and gymnastics, as well as her sister and brother.  But when you see the magic of progress it is all worth it.

Yesterday, I sat on our curb watching E ride her bike in the street.  Eighteen months ago she could not even pedal.  She was so proud of herself when she finally got it and she would ride up and down our sidewalk on her little bike with training wheels desperate to be able to ride like her older sister and neighbors on the street.  Five months ago, she begged me to take her training wheels off.  I didn’t think she was ready and didn’t want her to be disappointed but she begged and pleaded so I relented.  In one day, she taught herself how to balance and ride her bike.  She still could not steer but she kept at it and it was not too long before she got that down too.  Then they only thing we had left was how to start off.  She couldn’t balance the bike in order to begin so she needed me or her dad to get her started with a little push.  Pretty soon she figured out on her own that if she started at the top of a driveway, she would get enough momentum to start herself.  Then yesterday, she figured out how to start from a flat surface.  I watched my daughter in absolute amazement yesterday as she rode her bike up and down our street, starting and stopping by herself, beaming with pride that this summer she can ride with the big kids in the neighborhood.

Learning to talk isn’t like learning to ride a bike.  I won’t be able to blink and suddenly have E understood by strangers.  But the determination and can-do attitude that E demonstrated while teaching herself to ride a bike is the same thing she needs in order to learn to speak.  Watching her ride yesterday left me speechless.  This kid has grit like no other.  She can do anything she sets her mind to and I’m so glad she’s mine!

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