Sunday, May 1, 2016

Owen's Fight: Apraxia Will Not Define Him

Facing the hard truth that my son has a disability has been excruciatingly difficult. Just a few short years ago, I was celebrating the birth of my precious little boy. From the moment I first held him and looked into those sweet little eyes, I knew I was completely in love. That little boy had my heart and I couldn’t be happier. From his perfect little toes to his adorable red hair, he was so perfect! Little did I know what our future would hold.
Scott and I knew something wasn’t quite right when Owen was very young. He didn’t babble much as a baby and by the time his first birthday rolled around, we were still waiting on his first word. Like most parents, we couldn’t wait to hear his little voice and joked about whether it would be mama or dada. Deep down…I really didn’t care, I just needed to hear him speak.
We hoped it was just a delay and decided to get him started with speech therapy at 18 months. We were very encouraged by other parents and his therapist. They would say things like, “He’s so close-he will be talking before you know it.” and “My son just woke up one day and was talking in sentences.” I wanted so badly to believe what they were saying but deep down I knew we were facing something bigger.
Months went by and we weren’t seeing any improvement. I began to feel lost because I didn’t know how to help my son. Scott and I didn’t talk about it much. I think we both felt if we said it out loud, we would have to come face to face with the reality that there might be something wrong.
By the time we were celebrating Owen’s 2nd birthday, he only  had 2 words in his vocabulary-mama (I won!) and mine. For a 2 year old, I can’t think of 2 better words. Scott and I knew we weren’t getting anywhere with his current speech therapist and decided it was time to go a different direction. I began to pray diligently that God would direct us to someone that could give us answers and help our sweet boy. Thankfully, he outdid Himself and led us to a wonderful SLP. She began working with him in January and has recently told us that she plans to diagnose him with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). Although, we had done research and felt in our hearts this was most likely the diagnosis Owen would receive, it was still very hard to hear those words. As a parent, it hurts to know your child is going to struggle.

Owen is a fun, loving, and energetic little boy. He’s not letting this slow him down and I will do my best not to let this define him. He is so much more than a child with apraxia. I know God has a plan for Owen and His plan is much greater than anything I could ever hope or dream for his future.
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”
 – CS Lewis