I met Deb when I consulted with her about her daughter’s communication challenges. Even though Deb is an education specialist, she still wanted to talk with someone to gain another perspective and re-look at her situation with her daughter.
That’s frequently how it works. No matter how much experience we have or how many degrees we have, we can benefit from the power of putting two brains together to find new solutions for those challenges that don’t seem to have answers.
Deb and I spent some time together and she describes the end result below.
My daughter had no words at three years old. After beginning occupational therapy focusing on her vestibular system, she began to speak in words and then sentences. By twelve, she once again lost her ability to speak due to severe apraxia.
Needing to find a way to communicate, we thought sign language might be an option. When Shalea attended her first sign language class, I asked her how it went. In a rare moment of her brain putting together a beautiful synthesis of words, Shalea responded with a clear, coherent sentence, “Mom, it’s just easier to talk.”
Checking sign language off the list, we moved on to other computerized forms of communication using an ipad, but she didn’t want to be different. She wanted to talk like everyone else.
By 18, we were in a communication crisis. Shalea had so much to say but had no voice. This is when I contacted Linda Hodgdon, visual strategy expert and speech therapist. The visual strategies Linda helped us implement made it possible for Shalea to find her voice using visual strategies and for me to reconnect; reducing my feelings of isolation, failure, and frustration.