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SLP Mommy of Apraxia: Still on a sippy cup

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Still on a sippy cup

Ashlynn is 4.5 years old.  Though as a baby she never really had a problem latching or drinking out of a bottle, she eventually showed signs very early of oral apraxia.  I remember looking at some teething biscuits and the box saying it was for 9 months and older and thinking, "are they for real??"  She'll choke on that!!"
I remember my sister-in-law talking about babysitting my niece when she was under a year and feeding her cheerios, and again, I thought, "Seriously??  Ashlynn would choke on that!!"

I remember after I took her bottle away at 12 months, my mother-in-law said she had all three of her kids on a regular cup.  I know she didn't mean any harm by it, but at the time I felt like a failure.  Ashlynn could barely handle a sippy, and a cup?? Forget about it!

When she was eighteen months, my husband I decided to take a weekend vacation for two nights and left her with her grandma, and I remember I was still pureeing fruits and vegetables and had sent 8 jars of food. Now that I have a typical 18 month old, I can't believe she was still on purees at that point.  She could eat the occasional cracker, but she refused any other solids.

I can't totally remember when she finally started eating at least pasta and breads.  I do remember though one night going to Mimi's cafe and ordering their kids pizza.  It was more like a thin crust and she swallowed her bite whole and silently cried.  Her face turned red and she had that look on her face like when you eat a chip that isn't totally chewed and it scratches you going down.  Another instance, my friend brought over amazing fresh bagels from Panera Bread.  I cut Ashlynn's up into pieces.  As I was talking to my friend she started choking.  I ran over and pulled up her left arm and started patting her on the back.  The entire piece of bagel came up whole.  My friend was horrified and honestly, so was I.  I lived in fear, worried about when she would choke and I couldn't get it up.  Another time I fed her shells and cheese pasta roni and I remember telling her she needed to chew!  She would put it in her mouth, and then immediately swallow.  Halloween when she was two was pretty disappointing.  Give her M&M's?  Are you kidding?  What if she didn't swallow!! Skittles?  Nope. Sprees?  No way! Anything with caramel?  Not a chance.

I'm paranoid now.  I still quarter her hot dogs, grapes, blueberries.  I figured all kids have messy mouths, but now that I have my 21 month old son, his mouth is always cleaner than my daughter's.  He licks his lips and wipes his chin.  Here is a recent "ketchup mouth" pic of her on our Spring Break.  Isn't she a doll? She's so perfect, apraxia and all.

Which leads me to the title of this post.  She still violently chokes on liquids.  I'm talking about it went down the "wrong pipe," face turns red, lips turn blue, and we have to pull up her arm and pat her back. This is with a sippy cup!  My husband and I enacted a two sip rule, which is working. We tell her, two sips and then breathe.  We'll see how this goes, but I wish I had got her feeding therapy earlier.  This is usually done in early intervention through the SLP. She had all the symptoms: over-stuffing, choking, difficulty with chewing, and difficulty sequencing the steps for the swallow.  Hindsight 20/20.  If you read this, and this sounds like your kiddo, get them into early intervention!!  You won't regret it.  Now I have to decide if I put her in to feeding therapy now, do a swallow study...etc etc.

I hate apraxia.  I really, really, hate apraxia.  With apraxia, they don't "grow out of" anything.  They have to work for EVERYTHING, but the earlier the intervention...the better.

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At April 10, 2014 at 10:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Laura,

So I always check back to your blog every week and I am always blown away by how much I can relate. And every picture of your daughter is cuter than the one before. I also love that our kiddos are relatively the same age. There are times when I look at Sawyer and am blown away by how easy things come for him. Cooper doesn't ever choke (knock on wood) so we don't have that problem but I love how you say, 'they have to work for everything.' So true. And so unbelievably sad. I think about it all the time. I feel like Sawyer learns 5 things a day where Cooper fights to learn one a week. It's not fair. I hope you are doing well! Happy Spring!

At April 10, 2014 at 11:40 AM , Blogger Laura Smith said...

Hi Kate! I have your blog in my reading list too :) It is so unfair...for your little Cooper too. I remember thinking with Jace, "I didn't teach him how to do that, so how is he doing that?" It's an amazing revelation to realize just how easy it's all supposed to be, and just how it's not for our little ones.


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