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SLP Mommy of Apraxia: A tale of two roles: navigating my role on both sides of apraxia.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A tale of two roles: navigating my role on both sides of apraxia.

I first met a fellow mommy of apraxia at the Denver Apraxia Walk.  She was pleasant with kind eyes, and said she felt her 5 year old son needed a change up in speech therapy services.

The next week her son was scheduled for therapy at the private clinic in which I work.

In most cases, I have my parents come with their child into my office.  I NEED them to see what I see.  I NEED them to do what I do.  They are with their child the most, and they are completely capable of carrying over what I am doing, as long as they know WHAT I am doing.

Normally the child might be somewhat distracted by the parent; however, this day, I was the one distracted.  Not by my client, but by his mom.  There isn't one word to describe her face, but there were multiple adjectives rolled into one: worry, anxiety, fear, hope.

These are only a few, and honestly, they killed me.

I understood more when she said she had successfully home schooled 4 other children, some even in college.  I admired her.  She not only stayed home and raised her kids, but she taught them school as well.  Their entire childhood development rested on her shoulders and she had done a good job.

But her baby.  Her last child.  This one was different.

I felt her pain.  I absorbed her worry.  I took responsibility for her hope.

I knew I could help her son.  He wasn't receiving the right therapy.  That was evident from his first session.

I was so moved, I came home and told my husband.  I described her face and how it was hard for me to take because I kept absorbing all of her emotions.

It's hard to watch a mother visibly show almost every emotion I went through with Ashlynn's dx, but then be able to turn that off and be the professional SLP I need to be.

I recently watched an initial video I took when I saw him.  Again, though I was trying my hardest to focus on him, I couldn't help but look at his mom in the background.  The worry on her face is tangible.  I just want to yell out, "I will help him mom."  "Slow down."  "Stop worrying."  "He is going to be okay."

Unfortunately, I know saying all of those things is like telling the sun not to rise.  A mother's worry cannot be extinguished.

Last week though, something was different about her demeanor.  A softness was in her face. Upon further questioning, I discovered her oldest daughter came home from college and told her she saw a difference in her little brother's speech.

That's all it took.  Outside validation from an inside source.

I'm sure that doesn't mean she's still not worried, but I hope a small weight, even if ever so tiny, was taken off her shoulders.

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