My beautiful girl! The youngest daughter (by a mere 49 weeks!)…she might be a princess and she might be a warrior. She is beautiful and smart. And she works very hard all day long.
Christy has childhood apraxia of speech. Basically, she has a very hard time getting her mouth to do what it needs to in order to form speech sounds. Physically, there is nothing wrong with her mouth or any of the muscles involved in speaking. Howerver, when her brain tries to tell her mouth what to do…the message gets mixed up.
You can see it clearly in this video. She was practicing saying “mama” and you can almost see the concentration on her face. Unfortunately, the more she concentrates the harder it is to get the results she wants.
(technical difficulties…will add video later…sorry!)))
So she is six years old and can comprehend everything that is said to her, yet her speech is almost entirely unintelligible to most people. I can understand a lot of what she says partially because I talk with her all day every day, but also because I can figure out what she is saying based on the context clues. Also, I can get pretty good at asking her yes/no questions to see if I’m right about what she is saying. Of course sometimes I get it totally wrong and don’t realize it until later. When I go back and confirm this with Christy, she nods enthusiastically…like, “Yes! Why didn’t you figure that out the first time?! Obviously!”…but usually with smile.
And although she doesn’t have a lot of verbal skills, she is an excellent communicator. She has fabulous facial expressions and great inflection in her voice. She can say all of the vowel sounds with ease and is getting more consistent with a few consonants. Christy also uses sign language. She has created a few of her own signs which are pretty fun.
She loves to sing and carries a tune better than her mother. : ) I’ve noticed her singing a song that she has only heard a time or two before. The other day she wanted to play with some stars, and I couldn’t figure out what she was talking about. So…she sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star…she’s brilliant, right?! My favorite time to hear her sing is during mass when we sing Alleluia. (There are lots of long notes made up of vowel sounds and she nails it!) And then my favorite time to watch her sign is when she is signing (and singing) praise & worship songs. I’m a sappy mama, but it might bring tears to your eyes, too!
Christy loves to read books. She impressed me the first time she visited our house because she held up an open book in one hand, and “read” it to me while she showed the pictures….just like a teacher would do. Perhaps that is in her future?! She also loves to draw and color and has recently perfected the stick figure as well as the rainbow. Watch out, world! Her favorite activity might be play dough (she made up her own sign for it and it looks a lot like the sign for cheese…so I gotta remember context clues or she’s going to be sculpting her sliced cheese someday!) Of course she also loves the ipad and I will unashamedly admit it was the ipad, in fact, that got us over the last stretch of potty training for her!
As much as Christy loves her big brother Daniel (and will fight to get a seat by him) and her twin brother Christian and of course her only sister Desirae…she has the most “fun” with her little brother Michael (to be discussed on Friday!) Those two can get into more trouble…together or apart! I gotta know where they both are at all times. Heaven forbid if the house is quiet for more than a second and those two are out of sight. Ahem…flooded bathroom…ahem…playing with matches….ahem…tossing items to make them land on ceiling fan blades. Yep. These two!
We continue to work with Christy on her speech development, praying and believing her skills will be unlocked and she can share every though she has! I also pray she has peace during the times that it is frustrating to try to communicate. I love hearing new sounds from her and I can’t wait to hear her little voice rattling off about a million things!
She is beautiful and brilliant and I love her!
(Click HERE for Christy’s snapshot slideshow!)