Thursday, October 15, 2009

hard work

I look at this face, and sometimes it's hard to know what to think. He's definitely cute...and the imp in him clearly shows on occasion.

He loves trying all things physical. No matter how hard they are for him.

He also loves hanging out and reading or watching TV, especially with his brother. long as they can AGREE on what to watch or read!

And he intently watches his sisters play volleyball. Not his favorite activity, he now packs a HUGE backpack with stuff to do while they play. Sometimes it keeps him entertained, but most often it means that Mom has something more to carry and keep track of.

So what is it about this child that makes me crazy some days? He's sweet and kind and loving, he is helpful and thoughtful and polite. Pretty much every parent's dream. But oh, boy does he struggle still with the whole "who's in charge" question. He HATES being told what to do. He HATES sitting still and focusing on the task at hand. (And no, letting him free to wiggle or move around does NOT help. He's so incredibly distractible that if he's not sitting still he simply cannot focus at all.) Most of all these days, he HATES speech. And this is where we struggle.

Logan's apraxia makes everything 1000 times the work. For him, learning to say a simple word like "tornado" means breaking it down into syllables, then practicing hundreds--literally--of times. So we start. "Logan, say 'do." And he does. We repeat 20 or 30 times, then change it slightly. "Logan, say NA-do" After 20 or 30 unsuccessful attempts, he finally almost gets his mouth in the right positions to clearly say NA-do. Then we repeat, 20 or 30 times. Add the third syllable...tor-NA-do. Stumble through 30 or 40 attempts that leave him totally tongue-tied and floundering. Take a break. Go back to the beginning and start the process again. On the third or fourth go-through, we generally have success once or twice. After several days of this cycle, he can say 'tornado' most of the time, but there's no flow at all. It's still 3 distinct syllables, with lots of oral groping to get from one syllable to the next. And so it goes. Every word, every sentence. Every day. No wonder the child hates speech therapy!

His successes leave him elated, but his struggles are excruciating. Each "failure" (in his eyes, not ours!) leaves him discouraged and weepy, whiny and clingy. They leave me frustrated and irritated. Not because he can't say the words, but because he just gives up. Quits. Refuses to try again. I know he won't make improvements without working hard. He knows that too. But how hard is too hard to push this child? How much is too much to expect? How far do we adjust our expectations? How do we encourage him when progress is so slow, when the gap between what he can do and what other kids his age can do continues to grow instead of shrink? There are no easy answers.

Some days are amazing and wonderful. Some days leave me wanting to tear my hair out. Most days just are--neither good nor bad. That's fine. It's just when there's a string of bad days that it's hard. REALLY hard. Last week was bad. This week's been better. But Thursday is usually the day that pushes him one direction or another, since today's the day he has OT and speech. 45 minutes of OT (VERY fun!!) followed by 35 minutes of speech. Exhausting hard work that can lead to a meltdown of epic proportions. We are trying some new things this week. Hopefully it will help. I don't think I have it in me for another bad day. As if I have a choice....


  1. Jennifer, I know how you feel. I could say so much more, but "I know how you feel" pretty much sums it up.

  2. Oh, but your girl is making such terrific progress!!! Hang in there...