It's late at night here, but I couldn't go to sleep without sharing my happiness with our blog family. Today, Tehilla had her follow-up appointment with her physical therapist at the Child Development Center (Hitpatchut Hayeled). That appointment could not have gone any better.
Our appointment started with Tehilla running into the therapy room and immediately playing with all the toys that she could get her hands on. She was in a very good, playful mood and she was extremely cooperative. I updated our physical therapist on Tehilla's well-being, and on how I felt Tehilla was doing in terms of physical development. She observed Tehilla and was absolutely amazed by how far Tehilla has come. She ran and scooted all over the place, running up and down inclines and declines, stepping over items, crouched and steadied herself beautifully.
While I was talking with her, the previous speech therapist that we had chatted with last time, came to see us. I updated her on Tehilla's diagnosis of Childhood Apraxia of Speech. I explained to her that our concerns grew after we saw a serious regression in Tehilla's speech, joined with watching her grapple to move her mouth to immitate, and that when asked to say something she could not immitate or repeat, but without thinking or planning, she could make the sounds. I explained in length what we had observed at home and this speech therapist conclusively agreed with Tehilla's diagnosis. She wanted to hear about how Ilana was working with her and was beyond elated to hear that Tehilla is making progress every session. She reiterated how serious CAS can be and was astounded to hear the progress that Tehilla has been making.
She told me that usually, she would push for us to do speech therapy through the Child Development Center, but hearing how successfully things are going and that Tehilla has developed such a wonderful working relationship with Ilana, she absolutely wants her to continue with Ilana. She stressed that if we needed anything, we are welcome to call her.
Our physical therapist then told me that she had examined and observed Tehilla enough. She said that Tehilla has pushed forward so much, that she is now on track for her age and her development. She feels that she is doing so well, that there is no need for her to continue routine follow-ups. She did say, that Tehilla's file will remain open, and that if I have any concerns whatsoever, to call them and they'll see her immediately.
Then the two therapists discussed Tehilla's next step in evaluation. I began to discuss with them some thoughts Ron and I have been having in terms of Tehilla and schooling. Because of Tehilla's speech disorder, we have been thinking and planning ahead. We realize that it will not be possible for Tehilla to go to a regular gan (nursery) at age 3, with the speech difficulties that she has. While we hope, pray and expect that there will be a huge improvement by next year, it is very likely that she will still struggle to communicate. I explained to the therapists that our hopes are that she can go to a speech oriented special education gan. These gans are extremely sought after because they take very few children and are given the most amazing therapists and teachers to help them daily.
The therapists were amazed that we have been thinking about this and absolutely agreed. They felt strongly that she should be entitled to this kind of specialty gan and said that they were going to align their thinking and actions to help us and make sure that she gets the placement. Because of this, they are scheduling Tehilla for an all-inclusive evaluation, where she will be evaluated by a doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist and speech therapist at the same time. They will do this evaluation in 6 months, which is perfect scheduling for us then to apply for these special gans with their help and receive approval with their help.
Then the physical therapist gave us permission to buy Tehilla her first pair of shoes. I turned to Tehilla and told her we were going to get new shoes and she started giggling and clapping and saying, "Wow!"
It was a fantastic appointment and we are, once again, very blessed to be surrounded by wonderful professionals who are so willing and happy to help.