We are very blessed to know about Johann's hearing loss at an early stage. It meant that we were able to address it as soon as we can. Having been diagnosed at birth, we immediately put hearing aids on him by the time he was 7 months old. We also started him on speech therapy to help him catch up with age appropriate communication milestones. It came to a point that we were on monitoring mode already, just waiting for him to unlock his speaking skills.
And we were doing this until he was around 4-5 years old. We just thought boys were really late talkers but for Johann it was a different case. Our hearing levels were consistent. Our therapies were regular. But we still don't see enough progress with Johann's talking that we started to wonder maybe there was something else.
With the help of our speech therapists Johann went through several different assessments. We eventually found out that he has Apraxia of Speech.
What is Apraxia of Speech?
Apraxia of Speech is an oral motor speech disorder that affects speech production. As we understand it, it meant that Johann is having difficulty pronouncing sounds (hence words).
How do you address Apraxia of Speech?
We were immediately recommended to have PROMPT therapy. It is another form of therapy that focuses on helping the child plan his speech production (motor planning). It corrects how the child pronounces sounds and words and therapists need to be trained with the PROMPT method.
By the time Johann was seven, he was producing words better, thanks to PROMPT therapy. Not all children with hearing loss will experience Apraxia, and not all children with Apraxia has hearing loss. It's just that Johann has a secondary diagnosis that we need to address, and another cause to advocate for.
So if your child isn't talking yet to a level of your expectations after CI or HA, fret not. Just look at all angles and don't stop to help them. Sooner or later you will see progress, however big or small it is, it is truly unique to your child.